GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW

For those of you who enjoyed the brief highlight reel we released in September on Google Think Auto, here’s the full review. Enjoy!

Google Think Auto 2017

In September, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The scenery of the event was different and so was the direction of the event. Instead of focusing on the four phases of the car buying journey, there was a ton of data presented on the the buyer’s persona. If you don’t remember what the four phases are, check out our 2016 recap of Think Auto for a good refresher. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW”

Western Canadian Dealer Summit 2017

Another amazing event hosted at the Banff Springs Hotel is in the books. The Western Canadian Dealer Summit brought together dealerships from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to listen and learn from industry experts about what’s happening in the automotive industry. So what did we learn this year? Here’s our highlight reel.Western Canadian Dealer Summit was hosted at the Banff Springs hotel

Continue reading “Western Canadian Dealer Summit 2017”

Think Auto 2017

Google Think Auto 2017
Toronto Centre for the Arts, September 7, 2017

This past Thursday, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Google Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Although the venue changed from the usual scene at Massey Hall and the direction of the event was slightly different by not having individual dealers out (check out our blog on the upcoming Think Dealer events!), the content was useful and provided a different perspective on our ever changing Canadian car buyer market.

The focus of this year’s event was on buyers falling into three main buckets:

  1. First Time Buyer “The Newbie” – represents 20% of the Canadian car buying market
  2. Brand Loyalist “The Loyalist” – represents 37% of the Canadian car buying market
  3. Brand Switcher “The Switcher” (or the promiscuous as they like to call them) – represents 43% of the Canadian car buying market

Here are some highlights of this year’s study:

  • Video continues to be the hot topic going into next year, but the conversation has changed from OEMs being simply present, to being present in the right way and getting in front of the right audience.
  • The Newbies and the Switchers are the top two buyers heading to YouTube, but they are watching different content. The Newbies are focused on expert and peer reviews of vehicles while the Switchers are watching on the road and test drive videos.
  • On average, Canadian car buyers:
    • Will visit 2 dealerships (down from 3 last year)
    • Are in the market for 57 days
    • Will consider between 2 and 4 brands
  • 80% of car buyers said that digital will reduce the number of visits to a dealership, meaning they are using online resources to be more efficient
  • 54% of car buyers said that they will not contact the dealership before going there
    • This means that you have to WIN online to win the in-person visit!
  • Google will be hosting Think Dealer events across the country to present more dealership specific information

We will have a  complete summary to follow with more detailed info and stats, stay tuned!

Think Dealer 2017 Events

Think Dealer 2017 Events

If you haven’t already heard, Google changed up their Think Auto event this year. Instead of bringing everyone across the country to the centre of the universe…Toronto… they decided to bring their wealth of knowledge across the country and host Think Dealer specific events in 5 cities between October 12th and November 9th. Lucky for us, we were still able to check out Think Auto and you can read up on our quick summary of the event here!

The goal of Think Dealer is to bring the latest industry stats and innovations to a location near you. The team from Google will be presenting their latest findings on what you can do at the dealership level to reach, engage and drive car buyers to your dealership!

Our team will be jet setting off to 4 of the 5 Think Dealer events (sorry Montreal) and we’d love to see you there. Here are the dates and locations:

  • Montreal – October 12th
  • Toronto – October 17th
  • Halifax – October 19th
  • Vancouver – November 7th
  • Calgary – November 9th

If you’re interested in attending one of these events, we would be happy to sign you up! Please reach out to info@strathcom.com and we’ll take care of the rest. If you’re looking for some more information, head to https://events.withgoogle.com/think-dealer-2017/. Or if you would like to attend Think Dealer in either Toronto or Vancouver but don’t want to splurge on a plane ticket and hotel room, enter our contest and we will not only foot the bill, but also hook you up with Strathcom, Facebook, and Google swag!

We look forward to seeing you at Think Dealer!

Are you ready to Go Further?

Technology and innovation are the cogs that keep the automotive industry wheel moving forward, and Ford is no stranger to this. The evolution of Ford is taking them down new roads with the possibility of “no driver required” by 2021 as they plan to have a fully autonomous vehicle in the market1.

If Ford is bringing this type of ingenuity and forward thinking to the brand, shouldn’t you as Ford Dealers be looking to do the same for your dealerships? The answer is: absolutely and unequivocally YES! Now, you might be asking yourself how you should go about and do this, well search no further, we’re here to help! Your website is often one of the first places a potential customer will search to learn about what you have to offer. They might have started off with a Google search to get there, or perhaps they came across your business page on Facebook and read some great reviews before making their way to your website. At the end of the day, they are coming to your site and you need to be providing the right experience for them.

While you’re out searching for a new website provider, you need to think like a Ford VP would. Think about what’s going to get you ahead of the competition and keep you there. You need to look for a partner who isn’t okay with sticking with the status quo and who always searching for and developing the next greatest thing for your website. You need to look for a partner like Strathcom Media who is consistently bringing new products to the market and ensuring your website is future-proofed.

Some of the more recent technology launches with Strathcom Media include Personalization, Geo-Fencing, Notepad and Silent Salesman. These tools were designed to provide your potential customers with a unique experience tailored to what they’re interested in and what they’ve looked at on your site. According to a study by Janrain, 74% of people get frustrated when websites have content, offers, or ads that have nothing to do with their interests. Tools like Notepad and Silent Salesman use the concepts of scarcity and abundance to create a sense of urgency and to prey on our fear of missing out to help you generate more leads. #FOMO

Looking down the road, there are a lot of exciting products and improvements launching including:

  • Releasing modules for online retailing
  • Increasing lead conversion and generation through releasing a behavioral exit intent tool and a front facing appraisals tool
  • Adding more detailed information to our vehicle analytics tool;  Market Intel
  • Increasing the scope and features associated with website personalization
  • Launching our CRM product
  • Developing Market Radar a tool designed to identify proactive opportunities based on a user’s browsing history

White Ford Escape driving fast on a road in the city at sunsetAt Strathcom Media, we pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shop that is keeping the cogs of the website “wheel” turning and moving forward. We can help you drive more traffic to your website with Google and Facebook advertising. We can help keep visitors engaged on your site through easy to use designs that have been optimized for conversions and are jam-packed with useful information and the technologies we mentioned above. And we can help improve your online presence through our Review & Reputation and Social Media Management packages and much, much more.

If you are looking for an innovative and complete online solutions provider that is going to help you Go Further, drop us a line at info@strathcom.com.

 

1 https://corporate.ford.com/innovation/autonomous-2021.html

Facebook Auto Summit

Facebook Auto Summit

Mobile Moves Metal

We may be heading into the second quarter of 2017, but we are still talking about how this is the year of mobile. On March 22, 2017, we were fortunate enough to attend Facebook’s first ever Auto Summit in Toronto where mobile was definitely at the top of all conversations.

The year of mobile has been going on since 2014, but it is still relevant as consumers’ buying habits continue to evolve. I remember a time when I wouldn’t dare to shop online, out of the fear that whatever I ordered wouldn’t be as good in actuality as it seemed on the website. Now, looking at this past Christmas season, I did 95% of my shopping online from my phone, and had it delivered straight to my desk. Talk about convenience!

Looking at the Canadian automotive industry specifically, the most recent survey done found that 74% of shoppers used a mobile device during some point of their purchasing journey. This just goes to prove that ‘the year of mobile’ is still a reality, and one that you as a car dealer need to take seriously if you want to win the online-sales game. And I’m not just talking about having a mobile-friendly and responsive website design – that should be a no-brainer at this point – I’m talking about being present throughout the entire online-buying journey and providing optimized ads and content that relates to your potential customers.

Evolving the mobile-first game is something Facebook continues to excel at. They have developed a number of ad formats for greater impact throughout the purchase journey, with new releases coming soon, all of which have been completely optimized for mobile. As Instagram continues to grow, a lot of these ad formats are moving over to this platform as well, including the ability to have ads in Instagram stories and having carousel and lead ads right in the Instagram feed.

Facebook Auto Summit

If Facebook and Instagram are the new digital newspapers and our thumb is the new remote control, how are you going to stand out and capture someone’s interest when they are essentially seeing a new screen every three seconds? This is where Facebook’s Creative Team’s mantra comes into play: design for mobile, build for people, and play more. Optimizing your content for Facebook is essential. This can be as simple as resizing an image to the appropriate ratio, or as complex as creating a new video asset to highlight your why-buys at the beginning as opposed to the end of the clip. When creating assets for Facebook, you need to think of them as people, not users. People have individual interests and needs that can be capitalized on. This is where you can start to have fun with your ads. Something that appeals to Mary, who is 38 with two kids and likes yoga, may not necessarily gain the attention of Thomas, who is 25 and likes to spend his weekends driving to the mountains; so don’t try to blanket them with the exact same message.

The main takeaway is that you can’t just be semi-present by only putting one foot in to test the waters. You need to think outside the box, put your money where your mouth is, create thumb-stopping creative, and measure your success. With over 18 million daily active users across Canada on Facebook, and one in every four minutes on mobile being spent on Facebook and Instagram, there is so much potential to differentiate yourself from the competition on these still underutilized advertising platforms. At the end of the day, don’t get stuck in social jail thinking that Facebook and Instagram are just about generating likes and shares. These platforms are here to help you generate leads! If you’re not sure where to start, give the Strathcom Media team a call.

Dealer Talk X 2016 – Calgary

DealerTalk X Calgary 2016This past Thursday we were fortunate enough to attend the 2nd annual Dealer Talk X event in Calgary. It was amazing to see how the event grew and evolved in just one year. As always, there were some amazing speakers and here is a quick highlight reel of what they had to say.

The day started off with an inspirational keynote from the 2010 Canadian Olympian Gold Medalist, Jon Montgomery, titled Dreaming Big and Living Bigger. “Things are only out of your reach if you put them there” was the overlying message throughout Jon’s presentation. We all face so many challenges on a daily basis, but some of those challenges exist to push us further; we just need the drive to get there and to celebrate the small victories along the way!

For the first breakout session we listened to Rick Johnston talk about behavioural economics and how the consumer buying cycle has changed, but not in the way you think. Most buyers still go through these 6 phases: Meet & Greet > Fact Finding > Vehicle Selection > Present > Demo > Write-Up, but what has changed drastically are the Fact Finding and Vehicle Selection phases. It’s not uncommon to have a customer walk into the dealership and say “I want a 2016 Honda Civic EX-T in lunar silver metallic, what’s your best price?” So if that’s the case, have your salesmen adapted to this shift? If the customer is coming in to buy and ends up leaving without a vehicle, where is the disconnect? Just because customers are coming into the dealership already set on a vehicle, it doesn’t mean that you can’t provide them with different options for things like financing, leasing, warranty packages, etc. Don’t limit yourself just because the customer says they want to finance the vehicle for 72 months. Give them options.

Our second breakout session was with David MacDonald. David spoke to us about market strategy and financial research and how it pertained to 3 demographics: Albertans, women, and millennials. This was a data-heavy session, so it was perfect for us data nerds!  For Alberta buyers, here were the top three reasons why customers wanted to purchase a newer car:

  • 29% Previous vehicle had too many kilometers
  • 28% Newer or different features in their vehicle
  • 27% Treat myself to something newer

The decision process varied  from rational (too many km’s) to emotional (I work hard so I deserve this).

Here are a few more stats to get you thinking:

  • 85% of Albertans are searching on a desktop or laptop
    • 42% are also searching on mobile, but they tend to go back to desktop to dig deeper into research
  • 73% of Canadians said having no-pressure sales was the number one thing that mattered to them
    • 48% of Canadians also said they want an easy to navigate website
  • 42% of recent car buyers and future intenders in Canada are women
    • 87% of all car purchases are influenced by a woman
  • 60% of millennials will graduate with debt ($40 to $50k)
    • Millennials also lean more towards used vehicles: New – 46% and Used – 54%

Another important takeaway from this session was when David took us through the advertising mediums each demographic uses the most. For each demographic, newspapers were on the bottom and radio didn’t even make the list. Something to think about if you are using either of these to advertise.

After lunch, we got to listen to Rohn Jackson chat about changing our demographic targeting. He brought up a great example about how the data on him as a buyer says he’s a 32 year old male (so a millennial), but when he walked into a dealership with his wife and 6 month old son, he wasn’t seen as a millennial, he was seen as a parent in need of a family vehicle. So if that’s the case, why do we focus on demographics like age and gender? Why not focus on parents? His main message was: don’t focus on a product segment, focus on a people segment.

The day wrapped up with an invigorating keynote from Scott Stratten. If you haven’t heard him speak at an event yet, you should! The overarching theme of his presentation was customer service and how it affects your brand. From doing something as simple as responding to tweet, to going through the amazing sequence of events that the Ritz Carlton staff did to return a stuffed giraffe, (if you haven’t heard the story about Joshie, check it out here), the stories that your customers (or staff) write are usually the ones that stick. The most common issue is that customers simply don’t feel as though they are heard and it’s amazing what an immediate response can do to defuse a situation and how it can start to build a story for your brand.

If you would like to see any of the presentations, they will be posted on the DealerTalk website in a couple of weeks. A big thanks to DealerTalk for putting on another great event, we look forward to coming out again next year!

photo with Jon Montgomery and his gold medal!

10 YouTube Fundamentals

Google sign

We were lucky enough to attend Google’s Video Ignite event at the New York Chelsea office. It was a great event packed with a ton of useful content that we would like to share with you!

Video has been gaining popularity for quite some time now; video even had its own section at Think Auto this year, which was a first. Most of us would agree that we would rather ‘watch’ the internet as opposed to ‘reading’ it, but how do you become successful at utilizing video? Karolina Chodkiewicz, Senior Strategic Partner Manager, YouTube Content Partnerships North America with Google was so kind as to share the top 10 fundamentals of YouTube:

  1. Shareability
    Does your video appeal to users in a way that will encourage them to share you video? Having great content is key, and here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for your video: is it topical, is it valuable, and is it relatable?
  2. Conversation
    Is there an element of your video that speaks directly to your viewers? This could be content added in the main video or as supplementary content. Think of calls to action and video descriptions!
  3. Interactivity
    Are you able to incorporate your viewers into your content? Are you able to spark a conversation in the comments section and get them involved with what you’re doing?
  4. Consistency
    This is probably the hardest fundamental: updating your video content regularly. We all get busy and forget to make time. Having a schedule and specific video format in place will be key. You also want to make sure you’re portraying the right personality and voice in all of your content.
  5. Targeting
    Do you have a clearly defined audience? You can set your targeting at the video level, show level, and even channel level. Targeting your videos will give you more opportunity to speak to different audiences.
  6. Sustainability
    If the audience loves it, can you make more of it? Meaning, if you spend $40,000 on a video that everyone loves, do you have the resources to keep making videos to that level? Can you continue to hire the right crew for your video?
  7. Discoverability
    Will your content be found? Not every video can go viral, but are you choosing topics that are trending or evergreen (like how-to and DIY videos). Go check out google.com/trends to kick-start those creative juices!
  8. Accessibility
    Can every single video be appreciated by a brand new user or do they need to sit there and watch multiple videos to understand what you’re trying to get across? If you want your content to be shareable, you will want to make sure it’s accessible as well.
  9. Collaboration
    Is there a way to feature guest stars? More and more viewers are relating to YouTube Creators as being more like them compared to traditional celebrities. This means that they take their opinion seriously!
  10. Inspiration
    Is the idea for this video coming from a genuine place of passion and does it fit your overall brand? You want to create unique content that aligns with your brand identity and excites your viewers!

Karolina and her team researched the top performing YouTube channels and found that they all incorporated a combination of these 10 fundamentals which were key to building their success. We’re not suggesting that you need to incorporate all 10 of these items in every single video, but keeping 2 – 3 in mind is definitely a good place to start.

If you’re looking to get some videos created and would like some help coming up with a strategy, don’t hesitate to give our team a call!

Hyundai Dealers Working with Strathcom: New Website, Endless Possibilities

Hyundai

When searching for a new website provider, what are some of the main things you consider? Likely design abilities and price are two of the top factors, but what else? There is so much to look at to get a well-rounded picture of what you will get from your provider. Do they have an inventory management system that works with your DMS? Can they syndicate your data to portals like Kijiji and Trader? These are just two of the many additional services you should be inquiring about. So aside from being able to take care of your inventory from on-boarding to sold, here are five more reasons why a Hyundai Dealer should consider Strathcom Media:

We Have Forged a Relationship with Hyundai Canada

Having a relationship directly with the OEM gives us the opportunity to test some of our latest products with them to showcase how they will benefit individual dealership websites.

For instance, at the moment Hyundai Canada is utilizing our Bounce Recovery Tool, which is a behavioural exit intent based tool to help generate leads from users who are about to leave your website.

Bounce Recovery - Hyundai

Hyundai Compliant Websites

Like Hyundai Canada, Strathcom is a firm believer in having clearly defined brand guidelines that highlight what makes you one-of-a-kind in order to create value and familiarity with your brand.

Another benefit of having a relationship with Hyundai Canada is that we are able to provide unique and progressive website designs and still follow the brand guidelines set out by Hyundai Canada in order to set yourself apart as a dealership, and ensure your benefit from the Hyundai brand equity.

Online Advertising

In case you haven’t heard, we are Google Canada’s largest online advertising partner in the automotive vertical. What does this mean for you as a Hyundai dealer? It means that we have a team of Google Certified Analysts with experience writing Hyundai ad copy that converts. We can help you generate more brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and generate more leads.

Looking at the Hyundai accounts that we currently manage, we were able to capture 87% of impressions in auctions for New & Used Hyundai inventory. Of the impressions we gained, our ads sat at the top of the page up to 92% of the time, averaging no lower than 2.4 in ad position rank in the Google Search Network.

Looking at some hard numbers, our average click-through rate was 9.2% (industry average is 1%), average cost-per-click was $2.79 and average cost-per-acquisition was $38.42, proving that we can and will help you succeed online.

Blogs

As we all know, having an active blog on your website is crucial not only SEO, but for providing your readers and potential customers with valuable tidbits of information.

Our very own Megan Lepp does a great job of explaining why you should be blogging in this video.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are four reasons to start blogging now:

  1. Drive more traffic to your site
  2. Improve your search rankings
  3. Build trust and relationships with your customers
  4. Generate more leads

Not sure what to write a blog about? We can help with that too. We work with a number of Hyundai dealerships to bring their blogs to life.

Hyundai - BlogIncentives

According to Google’s 10th edition of the Canadian Car Buyer’s Journey, the top 3 motivators for people to consider purchasing a new vehicle are to get an upgrade, enhanced features and the available promotions/incentives.

The latter is something that you can help your potential buyer’s out with by presenting that information on your website. The original thought was that every month you should update the homepage slides with the current model incentives in hopes of relaying this information to consumers.  If that was the old way of displaying incentives, then what is the new way? Having them listed right on your Vehicle Description Pages!

Our Incentive Tool takes all of the current incentives available for that model and lists them on eligible inventory. You can now display cash, finance and lease incentives with different rates, terms and payments! All with absolutely no work on your end. Search interest for “lease deals” went up 20% in 2015, so if you want to make your Hyundai dealership competitive, having this information easily accessible is essential.

Hyundai 2016 Sante Fe Sport

Hyundai 2016 Sante Fe Sport               Hyundai - Incentives

 

 

 

 

 

So if you’re looking to differentiate yourself as a Hyundai dealer, getting in touch with Strathcom Media is the best place to start. We look forward to chatting with you!

Why Strathcom is a “Smart Buy” for Toyota Dealers

In a competitive market with so many vendors trying to pull you this way and that way on a daily basis, we figured we should make your website provider decision easy. We’ve compiled the top 5 reasons why you, as a Toyota Dealer, should be working with Strathcom Media!Toyota-2016-Lineup

1. We Work Closely with Toyota Canada

So far this year, we’ve been honoured to host one day learning sessions for both the Prairie Sales Manager and Fixed Ops sessions. In these sessions we went over the latest data on what you need to succeed online and the top items you can start working on tomorrow to change your game.

“We invited Strathcom Media to present at our regional meeting and were very pleased with the results. Duncan and Trish worked very hard with us to prepare a strong, audience specific program. Duncan is an energetic and captivating presenter and our attendees enjoyed the session. They all had great takeaways to help grow their business.”

Mike Turner, Area Parts & Service Manager at the Prairie Regional Office

2. We Know Toyota

We’re not just talking about knowing the entire model lineup – which we do – we’re talking about the fact that we have over 5,000 pieces of new Toyota inventory flowing through our system on a daily basis. We work hand-in-hand with Reynolds and can set up exports to over 70 different portals of your choice in order to get more eyes on your inventory.

We also work with some of the largest Toyota dealerships in Western Canada. What does this mean for you? We essentially have access to various resources for strategies and marketing plans which help us work with you in order to help your dealership succeed.

3. Toyota Co-op

As Google Canada’s largest PPC provider in the automotive vertical, we are well versed in all of the latest changes to the Toyota co-op program for both new inventory and fixed ops. This enables us to not only execute your strategy online but in a way where you can get your money back straight from Toyota. Who wouldn’t want to spend this FREE money?

All of our PPC analysts are Google Certified and have experience writing ad copy that converts. They are also huge nerds, and why would this be important to you? Well, it means that they love stats and spend all day looking at data and various trends regarding the way people search so we can implement those strategies into our campaigns.

One of the many perks of being a partner with Google is that we get to host a number of events alongside their experts every year throughout markets across Canada. We’ve even been able to bring some of our Toyota VIPs to these exclusive events. Maybe next time it can be YOU joining us.

4. Aeroplan

As Toyota’s newest promotion, you should have Earn Aeroplan Miles messaging not only incorporated within your advertising, but on your website as well. We can help you to execute this on your website by creating a landing page and highlighting what the program is all about. Each month we will update the Aeroplan Miles Earned chart, like the one listed below.

Aeroplan

In order to get the most back in co-op dollars, we will also include the Aeroplan logo on all display ads and can include specific Aeroplan details on various models.

Aeroplan

5. Videos

In case you haven’t heard, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in Canada, right behind Google. What does this tell you? People want to watch the internet, not read it, so where better for them to go than straight to YouTube?

One way to take advantage of all of this traffic coming to YouTube is through Pre-Roll Advertising. The best part is, if people click ‘skip ad’, you don’t even have to pay for the impression. If you haven’t considered YouTube Advertising before, Duncan does a great job of explaining it in this video.

How does this benefit you as a Toyota dealer? Simple – conquesting. We can put together comparison videos highlighting why the Toyota Tacoma is better than the Chevy Silverado.  Shoppers are becoming less brand loyal and are more open to changing OEMs with their next purchase. In fact:

  • 87% of people consider multiple brands while shopping
  • 71% of people switched brands with a new purchase

This gives you a great opportunity to highlight why shoppers should be switching over to Toyota.

If you’re interested in implementing some of these strategies but aren’t sure where to start, give us a call at 780-433-8844, we’re here to help!