Facebook for Auto Dealers: Meh, Myth or Legend?

We’re all familiar with Facebook and that 18 million of us Canadians visit the site daily, but what’s in it for the dealership? As a dealership, can you utilize Facebook and all of its data for more than likes and shares?

Some dealers have remained skeptical and think successful advertising on Facebook is a myth. However, after reading the data in Facebook’s latest study, that myth is busted. Young woman using cell phone to send text message on social network at night.

Facebook has finally published their very own independent study based on Canadian Automotive shoppers. Surveying 1,500 Canadians between the ages of 18 – 64 who specifically planned on buying or leasing a vehicle in the next year, garnered some interesting results.

Key TakeAways for the Dealership:

  • “Nearly half (47%) of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed said they use Facebook to get information about vehicles and 29% said they use Instagram to do so.”
  • “74% of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed use a mobile device to do their research.”
  • “33% of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed said say it’s too difficult to find the information they need when researching a vehicle.”

A few great reminders:

"Canadian auto shoppers want control and easy access to information" according the the latest Facebook study

As shoppers get closer to the end of their buying journey, they start to whittle down the number of devices they do their shopping on to strictly mobile. Insights from this survey suggest this shift is due to the increased need for immediate, on-the-go answers.

Put it Into Action:

  • Shoppers prefer online shopping for the convenience but are insecure about their expertise and ability during the car buying process. Assuage their worries and streamline the process by engaging on Facebook and Instagram with how-to content across all stages of the purchase process and all departments of the dealership.
  • Assure shoppers that they are making the right choice by promoting your current reviews and happy customers, citing 3rd party reviews and promoting no commitment or low pressure programs
  • Use the vast amount of customer data available on Facebook to create custom content targeted to their specific needs. For example, create content around how to get financing, how the student purchase program works, and which vehicles are best as your ‘first vehicle’ targeted to students at your local University and Community College.
  • Be where your customers are and your competitors are not. It’s more cost effective to run a Facebook advertising campaign right now because you have less dealership competition, so take that early adapter advantage and run with it!

Now that Facebook has proven they’re a legend, ask us how we can make you into one and we’ll give you $500 to get started on generating more leads.

Read the full survey here.

SEO Ranking Factors for Your Car Dealership in 2014

I’ve finally found some time to make an update on my previous post SEO ranking factors for 2013. There have been many important changes this past year and I wanted to talk about what will be important for your dealership website in 2014.

Secure Search & Hummingbird Conversational Content

Perhaps the biggest, most radical change of the year was Google’s move to 100% secure search in late September. Most SEOs had been watching the rising amount of keywords moving into the (Not Provided) keyword batch, but we didn’t think it was going to come so soon.

Secure search and the Hummingbird algorithm change were released just a few months apart, and it totally makes sense why Google did this. Google wants websites to start creating content around topics rather than specific keywords. The Hummingbird algorithm asks website owners to start thinking more about the meaning of keywords on a page.

This is another push to ensure they only rank the highest quality websites for their searchers. The Panda update was all about punishing websites with thin and low-quality content, and it followed other updates that penalized keyword stuffing.

Since Google has been pushing out so many updates focusing on ranking sites with quality content, it’s safe to say we need to continue producing  great content for our sites.

For car dealerships, that includes things like content-rich landing pages where car buyers can research vehicles and get the information they need without having to visit manufacturer websites.  Blogs are also another great way to add new content to your site and you can schedule to write them weekly to keep your content fresh.

Not Provided Meme. Source: goelastic.com
Source: goelastic.com

Tips for Thriving in the Age of Google Hummingbird

  • Think about topics rather than keywords when writing content for your website.
  • Answer searchers’ questions: Ask yourself what questions the page answers. Are there different synonyms for the keyword topics that you can use on the page?
  • Seek out legitimate businesses similar to yours to link to. Ensure that the link has something to do with the partners’ content on their site.
  • Try to get irrelevant links to your site removed. If you are having difficulty doing this, use the Google links disavow tool.

Adwords PPC Has a New Relationship with SEO

Since Google decided to encrypt most keyword data in Google Analytics, our ability to see which keywords are bringing in web traffic is limited. However, there is a loophole: this data is still available in a PPC Adwords campaign. Increasing your pay per click (PPC) budget can now help SEOs analyze the keyword data available in an Adwords campaign.

SEO PPC Source: webdesign.org
Source: webdesign.org

Google Loves a Website that Loads Quickly

Google favours websites that load more quickly than others. This makes sense: who wants to sit and wait for a website to load for more than 5 seconds? In today’s technology-saturated world, people are impatient and if they don’t get the results they are looking for within seconds, they will go somewhere else. It’s just like if someone were to walk into your dealership and not receive any service within the first few minutes. It’s not minutes online—it’s seconds.

To ensure our sites load quickly we must:

  • Keep our sites free of too many large, uncompressed images.
  • Limit the number of sliders and carousels we use per page.
  • Limit the number of images we include in our sliders and carousels.


Mobile searches have now surpassed desktop searches in the USA. Do you have a mobile friendly website? You had better! Today’s car buyers search cars for sale on their mobile phones while on the go.

Mobile search growth over desktop

Check out Strathcom’s Mobile Website Services

Rich Snippets

More information is starting to show up right in search results to tempt searchers to click on your listings.

For some websites, you can now see product pricing, if a product is in stock, reviews and ratings, authorship images, contact information and more—right on your Google search results page.

This data has been marked up using something called a rich snippet. Although it’s not a ranking factor, it does increase your click-through rate, which in turn increases the traffic to your site (which is in turn a ranking factor).

Authorship markup
Authorship markup
Products in stock markup
Products in stock markup


Review markup
Review markup

Online Chatter & Social Media

You just gotta do it! You gotta get out of traditional marketing and get into the realm of Social Media. The world is changing every day, and if you don’t change with it, you will be left behind. You just gotta get out of there!

Social Media isn’t there just for your customers to complain to you and it’s not just a fad. Social Media can actually help you sell more cars online and improve the ranking of your website. More and more Social Media platforms are being created every day, and many are booming with instant popularity. Pinterest and Instagram are some of the “newer” accounts that your dealership should be engaging in.

Today, diversification is a major trend:  it’s no longer enough to be active on a single network like Facebook.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you writing content that people will want to share?
  • Is your content easily shareable? Do you have share buttons on your website?
  • Are you active on the social networks that matter in the automotive industry?
  • Are you active on the social networks that matter to your customers?

Social Media is important, as Google’s continued algorithm updates are relying more and more on social signals. Social media accounts also spread your content around the web, marketing your site to those who don’t know who you are yet.

Google+ is one Social Media account a is complete must for any dealership. Your Google+ profile marries with your website, helping you boost your authority and increase visibility in local search queries. Since your dealership is a local businesses, it’s essential to claim your Places page and pimp out your Google+ profile.

Content Marketing is Huge

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. – Content Marketing Institute

From an SEO standpoint, Google takes content marketing as a sign that a company or business is legitimate and something that they would want to support through a higher ranking in search engine results.

Content Marketing Complies with Many SEO Ranking Signals

  • Your searchers will have regular new content they can engage with to answer their questions.
  • Your social signals and engagement will increase.
  • “Fresh” content signals that your site is alive and growing.
  • You benefit from increased authority connected to your entire business.

There you have it. Content is still king, and it looks like it always will be. SEO is online marketing and it’s not just about keywords anymore; it’s about marketing your website online and not just offline. The more your website is talked about, shared, “liked,” “plussed” and visited, the better your chances of ranking at the top of Google’s search engine result pages.

If you have any questions about how to get started with the online marketing and SEO of your website, contact us.

~ Samantha Goettel

Google Adds Fuel Economy Ratings to Search Results

Google’s been busy lately: they’ve already been testing a new type of automotive ads in Europe and have added cars to their knowledge graph in the U.S.

I was doing a quick Google search for fuel economy this morning (this is through Google.ca—right here in Canada), and noticed another new feature on the search engine results page (SERP):

Google Adds Fuel Economy to Search Results

Fuel economy in MPG now shows up for a variety of new cars and trucks. I tested it on a few domestic and import brands including Ford, Dodge, Toyota and Honda, and ratings currently appear for many recent 2013 and 2014 models (there’s nothing for used vehicles).

You don’t even need to include the vehicle brand in the search. Just search for “Prius fuel economy” and Google automatically figures out you’re talking about the Toyota Prius. Very cool.

Prius Fuel Economy Search.

This is yet another indication that Google is increasing their focus on the Auto Industry. While these fuel economy ratings are for U.S. models and only appear in U.S. (as opposed to Imperial) Miles Per Gallon, it’s worth noting that this data is already available in Google Canada searches.

It’s only a matter of time before all of these new Google features come to the Canadian market, and more automotive data is already being added quickly, just as we anticipated.

Wondering how all of this affects your Canadian car dealership? Contact Strathcom Media for more information on what to do about Google’s latest updates.

13 Tips to Winterize Your Car Dealership

If you’re in the automotive industry, then you know all about winterizing vehicles. But have you ever considered what you should be doing to winterize your car dealership?

The winter months tend to bring with them a slow-down in sales, but they don’t have to. Your customers haven’t flown south for the winter (well, apart from the lucky ones). No, your customers are still right here—but the way they buy cars has changed with the drop in temperatures.

Learn how you can adapt to these changes with 13 tips that you can use to winterize your car dealership and overcome the winter slump with our latest Ebook:

Free Ebook Download

winterize ebook

If your customer has the choice between standing out in the cold or browsing your inventory from the comfort of their own home, where do you think they’ll be? They’ll be on your online dealership, shopping from home.

That’s why optimizing your website is key to giving customers the information and incitement that they need for it to be worth making the trek to your physical store.

Don’t sit down and accept that winter is a “slow” time for sales at your dealership. When you get aggressive with your online sales strategy, you can overcome the winter slump and improve sales all year long.

Key Points

Here are a few tips to get you started (you’ll find the rest, plus in-depth explanations and examples, in our ebook above):

  1. Have a well-presented, clean inside area allotted for photographing your vehicles.
  2. Write your descriptions with the weather in mind.
  3. Focus your online marketing strategy towards winter: emphasize things like All Wheel Drive Vehicles, winter tires and remote starter installation.
  4. Don’t resign to the idea that ‘the winter is quiet’ for sales! People still buy cars, and in the winter they need them quicker than ever. Cater to this need and overtake other dealerships that have gone into hibernation.
  5. When things are quieter, get a handle on your social media outlets. Use your team effectively to improve your social media presence.
  6. Get a winter advertising campaign up and running! Combine things like PPC, display advertising and other online advertising methods to bring in customers out of the cold.
  7. Get Blogging! Now is a better time than ever to put on your ‘writer’ hat and catch up on your blog. Check out 15 winter blog topics to get started.

Feel free to contact Strathcom Media if you have any questions, ideas for our next ebook — or want to talk about anything at all!

Google Tests Automotive Ads on Google Graph

Google tests everything. Every piece of software starts in testing mode where it is never 100% bug-free or ready for the user.

Take Google+ Places; it can be a nightmare when you claim your listing and then you can’t respond to reviews. Or Universal Analytics, a new service Google is pushing Analytics users to upgrade to that doesn’t even integrate with Google Adwords Display yet.

Google is still a young tech company that’s ahead of the game. Even though their new products can be annoying to use in the beginning, they often grow to become the best in the world—and they can become essential tools to help your dealership sell more cars online.

This October I covered how the Google Hummingbird update increased the speed of conversational search in the Google Knowledge Graph. This week we looked at how Google added cars to the Knowledge Graph in the USA.

Now it looks like Google is testing ads in the Knowledge Graph for car dealerships in Spain. Gianluca Fiorelli from Spain shared a screen shot of the advertisement on Twitter:

Automotive Advertisements in Knowledge Graph (Source Search Engine Land)
The advertisement comes from a search for a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. As you can see, the advertisement is recommending dealerships nearby that sell a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. It doesn’t look like these tests have reached North America, but are popping up in Spain.

In the future, such an advertisement could be very useful for your dealership. Once Google is done their tests, hopefully this feature will be readily available in Canada.

Strathcom Media Makes Auto Remarketing Canada’s Power 120 List

Automotive Remarketing Canada

Auto Remarketing Canada recently released a special fall 2013 edition of their digital news magazine, introducing the inaugural Power 120 list to highlight the most influential companies in the Canadian used car and remarketing industry – and Strathcom Media made the list!

We are privileged to be listed next to some of the industry’s biggest players including heavy-hitters like Kijiji Autos and CarProof. The Power 120 list includes a mix from across the industry including tech firms, auto lenders, inspection companies and dealer associations.

According to Auto Remarketing Canada, to make the list a company must make a “significant impact” on the industry. Some are just beginning to make waves in the business, while others are already well-known pillars of the industry.

“We at Auto Remarketing Canada are very excited about the chance to highlight some of the remarketing industry’s biggest players in our […] Power 100 issue,” said Bill Zadeits, publisher of Auto Remarketing Canada.

For over 15 years, Strathcom Media has been providing industry-leading online services including automotive remarketing to car dealerships in Canada.

Learn More about Our Remarketing Services

15 Winter Blog Topics for Your Car Dealership

Winter is already here in some parts of Canada, and if you live in Edmonton (or almost anywhere not on the coast) that means you can look forward to mother nature’s icy death-grip for the next six months or more.

When snow slows down sales at your car dealership, it helps to have an online strategy in place to give you a steady supply of warm leads. Your car dealership’s blog is a great place to start, and if things are already slowing down at your dealership then it’s also a great time to sit down, pull out your pen (or keyboard) and get writing.

Last September we gave you 15 topics to get your car dealership blog started. We already covered how important it is for your car dealership to blog regularly. Google loves fresh content, and a healthy blog shows Google that your site is always being updated and properly maintained. Blogging also increases your chances of receiving more inbound links, which act like online recommendations. When people like the content on your website, they are more likely to share it and online recommendations are a ranking factor.

Companies who blog on average have 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t blog.

Now that we agree that blogging is a great way to get more online leads, how do you get started? To get your creative juices flowing, we have 15 new blog topics that your car dealership can use in the cold winter months to come:

Blogging Works

15 Winter Blog Topics

1. How to Choose the Right Winter Tires for Your Vehicle

2. Do You Really Need Winter Tires if you Have All-Seasons?

3. Winterizing Your Vehicle: Why and How

4. How to Jump Start a Car

5. How to Shop for a Car without Getting Frostbite (find it online & then come in to our warm showroom)

6. New Car Features to Keep You Warm This Winter

7. Remote Car Starters – How do they work?

8. Block Heaters & Plugging Your Car in

Download a Free Ebook on The 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes & How to Fix Them

9. Is There a Difference Between Summer & Winter Wiper Blades?

10. Best Windshield Coatings for Winter

11. What Winter Fluids do I Need to Keep my Car Running Safely?

12. What Should be Included in a Vehicle’s Winter Emergency Kit?

13. What to do When You get in a Winter Accident

14. How to Drive Safely on Ice and Snow

15. The Benefits of All-Wheel drive in Winter Conditions

If you already have your blog set up on your website. Check  out our video on how to post a blog post so it’s SEO friendly.

Posting an SEO friendly blog post


Or if you are interested in signing up for our blog service for your car dealership website, contact us today.

For more  tips on Blogging the right way download our e- book on the 5 Biggest Blogging Mistakes and how to fix them.

5 biggest blogging mistakes & how to fix them. Download Free today

Now get blogging!

~ Samantha Goettel

Fixed Ops: The Future Is Here

Google has become pretty good at predicting the future, or rather telling us all how they are shaping the future. Google’s latest rabbit-out-of-a-hat? Openbay.

Openbay is a first-of-its-kind online service and mobile app that helps customers find, book and pay for local car repair and maintenance services. Through the app or the website, the consumer can decide which service provider they’d like to go with based on price, distance, ratings and amenities; then they book and pay for the repair. No muss, no fuss.

Mobile app that helps customers find, book and pay for local car repair and maintenance services.


This is a game changer for Fixed Ops. There is no bait and switch, there is no “bring in your loyalty card for 10% off,” no free “multi-point” inspection and no free alignment checks to get them in the door. The customer simply decides who’s offering and price suits them best.

openbay strathcom media


  • It’s free—well, for the customer. The dealer has to pay 10% of the quote to OpenBay if they get booked.
  • Over 400 service providers are currently signed up.
  • The pilot was done in Boston, and was rolled out US-wide as of Monday. There is no news on Canada yet.
  • Google Ventures funded this project, and they have a great track record. We’re predicting this app will be successful, especially since everyone wants to “know a good mechanic.”


  • Soon customers won’t even see the search engine result page, or your newspaper ad, or your billboard or your wacky waving inflatable man. In the end, it will come down to transparency, and positive word of mouth. Dealers who aren’t preparing for that eventuality NOW will be left behind.


  • Better late than never. Be clear about your service prices and create a culture of up-front disclosure with your customers. Start review initiatives in-store with your team, speak to your staff about what it means to be customer-focused and share with them what people say about your dealership online.  

 If you aren’t sure where to start or how this may affect your dealership, join us for our next Fixed Ops TOAST session.

Google Partners Pumpkin Halloween Contest & Costumes

Being a Google Partner has its perks. A week before Halloween, Strathcom received a mysterious brown box all the way from Wisconsin with a return label from Google Partners.

When we opened the box we were surprised with a real live pumpkin, complete with a handy dandy carving knife and an invite card.




We were invited to a Google Partners Pumpkin carving contest. Instructions were to carve our pumpkin and submit it to the Google Partners Pumpkin event on Google+

Google Partner Pumpkin Event


Our designers got to work. We wanted to do something Google-y and Halloween-y, so our final design by Dana was an Android (Google’s Operating system mascot robot) Zombie, complete with a moon, bats and a graveyard. Our artistic Administrative Assistant Sarah got to work with Dana’s creative design.


Here was the final carved pumpkin!

Zombie Android Pumpkin
Zombie Android


Android Zombie
Zombie Android with Moon and Bats


Moon & Bats Pumpkin Carving
Bats and Moon on One Side


Graveyard pumpkin carving
Graveyard Carving on the Other Side

Well done guys!

We submitted them and received Pluses in hopes of winning some sweet Google swag!

While we wait to see if we won any cool Google paraphernalia, check out some of the awesome Strathcomian Halloween Costumes:

Strathcom Media 2013 Halloween Costumes

Skeleton makeup
Trish as a Deathly Skeleton
Senior Developer Halloween Costume
Ryan as a “Senior” Developer
"cereal" killer costume
Sarah as a “Cereal” Killer
Harry Potter or Cho Chang
Carrie Potter.. Harry Potter? Cho Chang?
Senior Designer Halloween Costume
Ella as a “Senior” Designer
Grumpy Cat Halloween Costume
Erin as Grumpy Cat


Happy Halloween from everyone at Strathcom Media!

Stay Classy Dodge: Chrysler Delivers with New Anchorman Campaign

How do you get Millennials interested in a domestically-produced brand? How do you engage a younger consumer-base to buy something they perceive as “their Dad’s” SUV? You take one of the most-beloved pop-culture characters of their generation and you have him wax philosophical about glove boxes and gripe about ballroom dancers. It seems Chrysler is finding success with just that formula.

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell’s fictional character from the Anchorman franchise) is the new spokesman for the Dodge Durango. A series of hilarious ads has been released featuring the bumbling Burgundy showing off a “beast of a machine” and highlighting the features of Dodge’s newest SUV.

In a brilliant move, Chrysler had Ferrell write and produce the ads in exchange for promoting the upcoming Anchorman 2 movie. Ferrell has 70 ads set to launch between now and the film’s December release date.

Ron Burgundy wants you to Drive a Dodge Durango

Chrysler really nailed it with this campaign, having already hit 3.5 million views in a matter of days. Are the videos informative? Not terribly. Are they full of typical “car effects” (whirring motors, panoramic shots, and closed course stunt driving)? Nope. It’s just typical Burgundy banter, but it is hilarious for those that have fallen in love with this character.

How do you do something similar for your dealership? Chrysler obviously has a significant budget, but it is possible for dealers to emulate this type of success on a smaller scale:

  • Write blogs relevant to the market you want to attract: why smartphone users love the Cadillac ATS, 5 Things The Big Bang Theory taught me about buying a car—you get the picture. Find a relevant topic and make it about your product.

  • Think outside the marketing box: Not everything is starbursts, free BBQs and balloons. Differentiate yourself from the competition with new, unique ways of targeting your buyers. Offer free breakfast at the diner across the street for your service customers. Distribute USBs with student-only sales offers at the local University. BE DIFFERENT.
  • Entertain Them: Everybody wants to laugh; find a way to deliver your brand message in a funny way. Whether in videos, blogs or even in social media, if you can make them smile that’s half the battle.

Check out our favourite Burgundy videos: