Automotive Conferences You Should Check Out in 2018

Group of people sitting in a row and applauding at conference.

 

Canadian International Auto Show

Toronto – February 16-25, 2018

AutoShow 2018 is excited present attendees with fast and furious opportunities and experience throughout this 10 day event! Check out the AutoShow’s daily schedule for amazing event content including prizes, promotions, a list of engaging speakers, and special events each and every day! Dealers are invited to a Facebook-hosted VIP party night on February 15th, as well!

For more information, follow the link below:

https://www.autoshow.ca/

 

 

CBT Automotive Conference & Expo

Atlanta – March 7-9, 2018 

Considered the most comprehensive and information packed event in retail automotive, this event approaches all aspects of the industry such as Marketing, Social Media, Sales Strategy, Fixed-Ops, Leadership & Management, Technology and so much more.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://cbtconferenceandexpo.com/learn/

 

 

NADA

Las Vegas – March 23-25, 2018 

The need for dealers to understand digital technology and marketing, as well as the effects on their respective businesses is a top priority at NADA Show. To boot, there’s usually a Canadian party on the eve of the show’s opening! Things get rolling Friday, March 23 at 8:30-5, and things wrap up Sunday, open 8:30 to 4.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://show.nada.org

 

 

Auto Remarketing Canada Conference

Toronto – March 27-28, 2018

Learn from the best at this annual event that brings together the remarketing and used-vehicle industry for 2 days of learning, sharing and networking to optimize your business. Form powerful connections and attend workshops with top dealers and executive decision makes. If you are in the used-vehicle industry or the remarketing industry, this event should definitely be on your calendar! Early bird registration is now open.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://arcanada.autoremarketing.com/

 

 

Women & Automotive Canadian Leadership Forum

Toronto – March 29, 2018

This one day forum full of speaker presentations and panel discussions is an innovative, game changer for advancing women into leadership roles in the Canadian automotive industry. As more women join the automotive industry, it is key to provide them networking and career advancement opportunities that strengthen them into leadership and decision-making roles. A great opportunity to both network and achieve goals together. We were honoured to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference last year, and we look forward to seeing you there this year! Early bird registration is now open.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://www.womenandautomotive.com/

 

 

Automotive Conference & Expo

Niagra Falls – April 11-12, 2018

TADA’s Auto Dealers Innovation Series and Ontario Dealer Day have combined to bring dealers an exciting conference that features presentations from high profile industry leaders that are experts in new marketing strategies and technology. Fill your brain with empowering sales strategies, leadership, and a look into the future of the automotive industry that is ever-evolving.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://www.automotiveconferenceandexpo.ca/

 

 

DrivingSales Presidents Club

Ft. Lauderdale – May 6-7 2018 

This specialized event focuses on critical operation discussions with real-life experts, and solutions are provided for the most challenging issues. Take home actionable strategies for your dealership and engage at a deeper level with dealer executives pioneering new practices for their stores and groups.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://drivingsalespresidentsclub.com/

 

 

DrivingSales Canadian Dealer Forum

2018 date & location TBD

If you’re not into the traditional conference style and just want to learn best practices you can instantly take back to the dealership, this is a great opportunity for you.

“The Canadian Dealer Forum was designed to be a very practical conference – a true forum where dealership executive teams can create an actionable business plan. You will walk away with a list of tactics you can apply the next day to drive results inside your dealership.”

For more information, follow the link below:

http://canadiandealerforum.drivingsales.com/

 

 

Google Think Auto

2018 date and location TBD

 

 

Best Practices For Automotive

Detroit – September 11-14, 2018

This conference will unite all levels of industry professionals to create an innovative event built around learning, networking and peer collaboration. This is more of a hands on, interactive experience that will open your mind and leave you with fresh ideas and best-in-class strategies to optimize your overall business performance. To stay up-to-date on conference updates:  #BP4auto

For more information, follow the link below:

auto.bestpracticeconferences.com

 

 

DealerTalk

Montreal – (date TBD)

Calgary – (date TBD)

Toronto – (date TBD)

Vancouver – (date TBD)

Does your digital marketing strategy need a boost? If you want to learn about the latest creative and marketing trends, DealerTalk is the conference to go to. This year’s theme is Dealership of the Future, and is sure to be full of great keynotes (including Gary Vaynerchuk in Toronto) and networking. To make sure as many Canadians as possible can attend, they host the conference in Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://dealertalk.ca/

 

 

Western Canadian Dealer Summit

Las Vegas – November 1-3, 2018

WCDS is a must-attend industry event with the Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan Associations joining together for what is sure to be an information-packed conference!

For more information, follow the link below:

westerndealersummit.com

 

 

DrivingSales Executive Summit

Las Vegas – TBD

If you are looking for a progressive conference to give you help you with your strategic planning, DrivingSales Executive Summit is where you want to go. This event brings all of the most progressive dealers and vendors together to have industry-changing conversation. Last year, our very own Business Development Manager, Alecia Wilson, spoke at DSES about best practices for hiring and retaining staff.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://www.drivingsales.com/dses/ 

 

 

Google ThinkDealer

Montreal – (date TBD)

Toronto – (date TBD)

Halifax – (date TBD)

Vancouver – (date TBD)

Calgary – (date TBD)

Last year’s Google ThinkDealer events were extremely informative for dealers and us! Google discussed how dealers are currently spending their advertising budgets, and how they should be spending more of it online. Google also released their Dealer Playbook – a step-by-step guide for dealers on how to advertise on Google and generate more leads. If you would like a copy of the Google’s Dealer Playbook, just let us know and we will send it to you!

 

We will continue to update this list as more dates and locations are confirmed, and please let us know if there are any other events we might have missed! To keep up to date on events we will be attending and speaking at, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter!

 

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!

Clarity on Conversions: what is actually being reported to you? Leads?

Do you know exactly what your online providers call a conversion? What they call a lead? If you cannot definitively answer that question it might be time to have a chat with them.  Although there seems to be endless oversight in the automotive industry, there is no industry standard for what we call a lead or a conversion.

hand holding mobile smart phone at blurred car for sale in showroom background

Most people would agree that a form completion, email, text, chat or clicks-to-call all represent a lead as a consumer is engaging directly with your business. Sounds fair.

Unfortunately, some take it a step further. Over the past year we have seen more and more dealers boast about leads, conversions and cost per acquisition only to have no sales at the end of the customer journey (I don’t like funnels) to match the increased online performance.  So why is that? What we see are some providers calling anything a conversion or a lead.  Like what you ask? How about clicking through from a SRP to a VDP –  is that a lead?  What about VDP views or time spent on VDP? One dealer was even lead to believe by a provider that YouTube video impressions/views were a lead!  $0.11/conversion sounds great, but do you consider that a lead?

Close up of an lcd screen with statistics of a generic website on Google Analytics website. Google Analytics interface is a google tools that allows to analyze and monitoring website trafficNow I want to be clear, all of the above mentioned actions are definitely important to measure.  We track them and call them significant actions, other people will break it down into Micro and Macro conversions.  The point I want to make is you need to have a clear understanding of what your provider labels a lead, a conversion and a significant action and here is why: if you don’t understand or have complete transparency in your reporting you will focus on the wrong aspects of your business.

If your reporting tells you that online leads are raining in (like points from McDavid) but sales are not, you might focus on lead handling, sales process or something else when in fact the real issue is with leads and conversions.  So have the conversation with your partner and make sure the definitions are clear.

Couple warning signs to look out for:

  • If your partner will not give you access to Google Analytics, you should be concerned.
  • If your partner will not use Google Analytics, you should be concerned.
  • If your partner will not sit down with you monthly and review the reporting that they send you, should be concerned
  • If your partner will not show you the back end of Google AdWords or Facebook and show you how your money is being spent, you should absolutely be concerned.

For more information about leads vs significant actions, don’t hesitate to give our team a shout.