Dealers Asked, Google Listened: Google’s 2017 Dealer Playbook

GOOGLE’S DEALER PLAYBOOK IS HERE!

2017 Dealer Playbook

If you attended any of the Google Think Dealer events this fall, you know that Canadian dealers have been asking for a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Google for years, and it is finally available. Based on Canadian automotive data, whether you are a beginner looking to do the bare minimum, or a seasoned pro looking for how to stand out online, The Dealer Playbook breaks down exactly where you should be spending your marketing dollars.

You can download the Playbook here, and if you have any questions just ask your friendly neighborhood Premier Google Partner, Strathcom Media.

To learn more about the Dealer Playbook, there is still time to register for Google Think Dealer in Vancouver and Calgary , and we will be publishing a blog summarizing everything we learned at these events. Stay tuned!

What’s the Story with Instagram?

We have had a few dealers ask us about Instagram lately, so we took the liberty of asking Facebook what’s up with its sister platform. Here are the new stats they sent us:

  • Instagram currently has about 250 million daily users
  • People under the age of 25 spend an average of 32 minutes a day on Instagram
  • People over the age of 25 are spending an average of 24 minutes a day on Instagram
  • In the last year alone there have been more than 20 new features added to Instagram Stories – including stickers and Boomerang
  • Last month, over 50% of businesses produced an Instagram story.

Instagrammers iPhone 5 displaying log in screen of Instagram application.

Case Study

There is also a case study on the Instagram business page called Accelerating to Success: The Auto Industry on Instagram that includes a ton of data about why dealers should be utilizing this powerful platform. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Nearly 80% of Instagrammers said they research products online before making a purchase
  • Two years ago, 38% of people said Instagram informs what they buy. That number increased to 59% for auto enthusiasts.

The case study goes on to show examples of ads OEMs like GMC and Lexus ran if you need some inspiration!

Top 10 Hashtags

If you are already an active Instagrammer, you probably want to know what the top hashtags are so you can more Likes! Well, here they are (as of July, 2017):

  1. #GOODMORNING
  2. #WORK
  3. #GOODNIGHT
  4. #MOOD
  5. #HAPPYBIRTHDAY
  6. #TBT
  7. #LOVE
  8. #HOME
  9. #BOMDIA (means hello or good day in portuguese)
  10. #RELAX

For more information about Instagram and/or Facebook Advertising, drop us a line today!

Strathcom Media: Das Volkswagen Website & Online Advertising Provider

Volkswagen driving down a highway

Over the past few months, Volkswagen Canada has been searching across the country for the best website and online provider for their dealers. Strathcom Media is thrilled to announce that we have been  selected as one of their 3 providers.

Volkswagen Dealers – if you would like to learn more about Strathcom Media and why you should consider us as a provider, you can:

  • check out our Volkswagen Webinar that we hosted yesterday here.
  • download our case study with Southgate Volkswagen and testimonial video here.
  • If you would like to compare us with the other two providers, you can do so right here.
  • If you would like to attend our second webinar on Thursday, August 10 to ask us questions in person, you can register here for English and here for French.

Volkswagen is sunsetting their partnership with DMT. If you are using a DMT website without a secondary site, you will need to choose a new provider. If you have any other questions, you can drop us a line at vw@strathcom.com or 1 (888) 914-1444!

Changes to Google’s testmysite Tool

No, you are not imagining things – Google’s testmysite tool has been given a bit of a face lift.

Google's testmysite tool

If you want a quick way to see how your site is performing on mobile, Google’s testmysite tool provides a quick overview. It can tell you in seconds if your website takes over 5 seconds to load (most people won’t even wait that long for a site to load), or if there are things you should fix to make your site more mobile friendly.

Some new features include:

  • the number of seconds it takes for your site load, before it just gave you a score out of 100.
  • more detail as to what Google looks at to determine your scores. For site speed, for example, it looks at your HTML/CSS, Javascript and compression.
  • it also stacks your results up against other sites in your industry

How Strathcom's site compares to others in the Vehicles Industry

Keep in mind that the tool isn’t perfect, but designed to tell you a general idea of how your site stacks up.

If you would like to learn more about how your site can perform better on mobile, drop us a line today. For more Google updates and best practices, subscribe to our newsletter!

New Medium, New Rules

In a recent Facebook blog, Mark Rabkin, the VP of Core Ads at Facebookdiscussed everyone’s favourite media platform: smartphones. He mentions in the article that just as televisions were not just a modern version of the radio, smartphones are not just tiny televisions. TV was revolutionary because it gave every household a screen, smartphones give every person a screen, on their person, at all times.

This constant access to content means that advertisers have to create attention-grabbing, thumb-stopping content in order to capture and hold the small amount of attention consumers have. In fact, Facebook studied the Facebook activity of 537 participants as they watched the season premiere of a popular TV show. They found that during every commercial break, their Facebook activity rose.

Participant's activity on Facebook rose during comercial break
Rabkin, M. (2017, June, 8). New Medium, New Rules: Video Advertising in the Mobile Age

When it comes to advertising, Facebook clearly knows what they’re doing. Here are the best practices of some of Facebook’s top advertisers: Nestle, AirBnb, and Ubisoft.

Build brand new, short-form, mobile creative 

Whether it’s a carousel ad or a video ad, it has to be unique, designed for mobile, and reward people’s attention. Mark also suggests using mobile to echo the organic content people already like to consume.

Re-organize to test and measure ads on a weekly cycle, not every 6 months

You need to test and build quality creative on short notice. As Mark mentioned in the article, “mobile is evolving too quickly for a traditional, fragmented approach to work well”.  Having your creative and measurement streamlined with one provider is a great way to do that. Someone at the dealership might not have the time to whip up new creative on-demand but we have an entire team of experts that can take care of everything for you.

Don’t try to equate disparate platforms

Every mobile format has a different demographic with different expectations and behaviours, so it’s important that you design your creative based on the platform it is going to be viewed on. Mark explained this well when he said:

“a guaranteed 10 second ad break requires different creative than a video in a feed that may be seen for 6 seconds by the average person, but for 30 seconds by 10% of the audience. Facebook isn’t YouTube, YouTube isn’t Search, Search isn’t Snapchat“.

Measure results, not seconds 

It’s easy to get caught up in the amount of views or clicks. But remember, everything should revolve around your business goals and your bottom line. It can be tough to remember these kinds of campaigns take time to begin to generate results, but that’s why it is important to measure, track, and optimize. Traditional media seemed easier to advertise on because there really was no way of knowing how it was performing. Maybe a thousand people converted on your newspaper ad, maybe no one did, there is no way to know for certain.

Mark summed this up nicely by saying:

“it’s crucial to measure business value and results on a per-creative, per-platform, per-audience basis. An advertiser’s ability to measure the right things properly will be the biggest predictor of their mobile advertising success”.

If you would like to learn more about running kick ass mobile campaigns, drop us a line today!

Check Out Our Case Study on Facebook’s Website!

We have been talking about Facebook a lot lately, but that’s only because we understand its potential and we know to succeed on it. If you still don’t believe us, check out this case study Facebook published on their own site about yours truly.

With Facebook advertising, we were able to get this dealership group 68% more vehicle sales than the next best advertising medium in just 60 days. If you want to give Facebook advertising a shot, you can try it with us for 3 months and get $500 in bonus ad spend. Schedule your complimentary consultation today!

Facebook is more than Likes and Shares.

 

Advertising in the Age of Ad-DHD

People are busy. With work, family, social media, and a plethora of other distractions it is getting more and more difficult for advertisers to get people to notice their ads; let alone retain people’s attention long enough for their ad to actually be recalled. Think of it as a kind of ADHD… Ad-DHD.

As people's attention spans decrease, their ability to recall ads does too.

 

According to Google, users who watch ads for more than three seconds are more likely to recall, recognize and consider your brand. This may not sound like a long time, but to keep someone’s attention for more than 3 seconds is a lot more difficult in this day and age.

In a recent Google Livestream, Google talked about the new currency: time. Google also discussed how the Old Mantra was ‘get the customer to the dealership‘ and the new mantra is ‘bring the dealership to the customer‘. So, how can do you bring the dealership to the customer?

By personalizing your message

Advertise to your potential customers based on their interests, inventory they viewed, their demographics, and where they are in their sales journey. It’s the next best thing to saying “hey, so-and-so, I have your dream car in stock, come buy it!”

The most effective and affordable way to create personalized ads is through Facebook. Over 18 million Canadians are on Facebook every single day, and Facebook has more information about everyone than you can imagine. Not only that, but it takes 38.5% longer to fill out a form on a mobile device – time that people do not have – but with Lead Ads on Facebook, users can click on your ad (for a test drive, for an oil change, etc.) and the form will pre-populate with information that Facebook already has about that user. And speaking of saving time, we have built out an integration that allows your Facebook leads to automatically be sent to your CRM.

We’ll generate the leads for you, all you have to do is sell them a car.

Facebook advertising is just one way you can bring the dealership to the customer. If you want to learn more about personalization and how it can be used to generate more leads, drop us a line today!

3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google

In a recent edition of Google Best Practices they laid out the difference between auction-time quality and the 1-10 quality score. Regarding your quality score, here are 3 things that matter:

  1. The User’s Device
  2. Relevance
  3. Performance on Related Keywords

Hands typing on laptop computer - there are several misconceptions about quality score on Google

I don’t think that there is anyone out there that can argue that these factors do not effect your quality score. But here are some factors that, contrary to some opinions, do not matter:

How You Structure Your Account

This article says it best by saying “If it doesn’t affect user experience, it shouldn’t affect quality or Quality Score”. Accounts should be set up in the way that you can best manage and optimize them.

Running Your Ads in Other Networks

If your goal is to drive more traffic, targeting the Google Display Network or Google’s Search partners in your AdWords account won’t affect your ad quality on Google.com.

Your Ad’s Placement on the Page

I want to highlight, underline and bold this sentence: Your ad’s placement on the page does not matter when it comes to ad quality. Having a high position on the page might have some benefits, but at the end of the day it does not necessarily effect the ROI of your ads. As mentioned in a different article by Search Engine Land:

“I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been contacted by both clients and prospects with the statement, ‘Company XYZ is above me. We’re better than them, and we need to outrank them.’

OK… let’s take a beat and wrap our heads around what’s really being said here. While the statement seems logical, what is actually being said is:

Company XYZ is above me for the phrase I looked up. We’re better than them, and we need to divert all energies away from pursuing ROI goals and focus on one single vanity phrase.

What we need to remember is that none of this is actually about ranking for a specific phrase. In fact, the goal of our efforts is not rankings at all, but rather revenue. I don’t know about you, but if there were higher revenue from ranking in position 21 than position 1, I’d be working hard to get all our clients to the top of page three”.

All any advertiser wants is for their advertisement to result in a sale. Whether that advertisement is number one or number three on the page does not matter as long as it doesn’t negatively effect user experience and it converts.

So there you have it; 3 things that matter and 3 things that don’t according to Google. If you need more information about how you can succeed on Google or anywhere else online, drop us a line today!

Reputation Management & How Dealers Can Use It To Make More Money

2016 was the beginning of the big push toward establishing your dealership’s brand and ‘brand management’, and it has only continued in 2017. What most dealerships seem to miss is the difference between their brand and their reputation (or that there is a difference in the first place).

Your brand creates an impression that makes a customer think or feel something when they think of your dealership. Your reputation is what gives your customers an expectation of your future behavior based on past experiences – either their own, or from other customers who have dealt with you.

Young Businessman using Tablet device in a car dealershipCustomers aren’t going to love your brand – they’re going to love you, and your reputation because that’s what’s tangible to them. The two pieces absolutely go hand-in-hand, but brand recognition alone is not going to spontaneously generate engagement; there has to be a reason why the consumer should pick you over your competitor.

You’ve probably heard before that the three major differences between businesses are product, price, and perceived value. Especially with new vehicles, you don’t have a better product than the next guy selling the exact same vehicle. Those identical vehicles cost the same amount from the factory, so if you want to differentiate yourself by price, you’re going to be giving up profit (and that’s clearly not a sustainable plan if you want to make money). That leaves only one option – perceived value.

Over and above an extra set of weather tech floor mats, or priority service appointment bookings, most customers just want to know that they’re going to be treated fairly.

86% of customers will pay more for a better experience

This is where your reputation comes in. When 84% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, reputation is the clear call-to-action for your dealership over the next one. If you’re spending any amount of money on a brand awareness campaign (print, radio, outdoor, television, branded PPC ads, and so on), why wouldn’t you care about what happens once the customer remembers who you are and decides to look you up?Businessman hand giving five star rating

And this is where we come in. Register for our Reputation Management webinar with Melina Beeston, our Manager of Dealer Development, to learn about how you can leverage your dealership’s reputation to make more money.

Tuesday, April 25 at 10:30AM MST

And remember, for every Strathcom Media webinar you attend, you will be entered into a draw for a signed McDavid jersey! 

4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices

In the latest article from  Google Best Practices, Google gave 4 Tips for a Frictionless Mobile Experience. Not all of their tips necessarily apply to the automotive industry, but these are 4 simple ways to make your mobile site better.

Woman using tablet at night, visiting a mobile site

Make it Responsive

Even in 2017, there is a chance your site may not be truly responsive. In order for your site to be responsive, it must automatically adapt to every screen size: desktop, tablet, mobile, and every variation in between. Here is a quick and easy tool you can use to see if your site is responsive or just mobile-friendly.

Make it Quick

We have all visited (and left) sites that took too long to load. Find out what your load time is on both mobile and desktop with Google’s Page Insights Tool.

Make it Pop-Up Free

Pop-ups are to a website as retail employees are to a clothing store. If you are like me, you want to get in the store, get what you are looking for, and get out. Having someone approach me to let me know what the deals are can be helpful, but the more I am approached with offers the harder it makes it for me to just get in and get out. The same is true for pop-ups. I know you want to let them know about everything you have to offer, but the more things you have popping up on their screen, the harder it is for them to get to the ‘Schedule A Test Drive” form.

Make it Easy

Google titles this section Reduce buying friction, and provides ways for advertisers to make the checkout process as easy as possible. Right now this doesn’t completely apply to the auto industry, but I’m sure if you look there is friction in your buying process.

For example, how often do you check that the urls on your ads direct users to the right landing page? Are any of the links on your site broken? When was the last time you secret-shopped your own site to make sure your users aren’t running into any errors? These types of things can create friction in the buying process and make it more difficult for shoppers to get what they are looking for.