Pokémon Go for Car Dealerships

Pokemon Pikachu Squirtle Strathcom
Gotta catch ’em all… will this bring you more leads?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Pokémon Go – the latest viral app. The idea is that users explore their surroundings to hunt and capture Pokémon. People chase the cartoon creatures at “pokéstops” and “gyms” plotted on a customized version of Google Maps, navigating to their real-world locations using their smartphones. As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users, (for comparison, at its peak Candy Crush reportedly had about 20 million daily active users). Nintendo’s new virtual reality smartphone game  has only been officially released in the United States, but Canadians are managing to play the new Pokémon game through a couple different workarounds.

It’s even one of the top searches according to Google:

2016-07-15 3-36-09 PM
Top Google predictive search results for “What is”

One thing to look at with the advent of any new technology or social platform, is what is the impact for advertisers? Pokémon Go is a free app, but users pay in data. The developer behind Pokémon Go is planning to allow retailers and other companies to sponsor places on its virtual map.

“There are several ways that we see the potential for significant monetisation of Pokémon Go by Nintendo, and one of them is certainly the potential for paid advertising or paid deals that encourage players to come to a particular building or store. It is a huge opportunity,” said Atul Goyal, analyst at Jefferies.

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic, which developed Pokémon Go, hinted that similar advertisements would soon be coming to Pokémon Go.

Alongside in-app payments, “there is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations”, Mr. Hanke said, where companies “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic”. Advertisers are charged on a “cost per visit” basis, similar to the “cost per click” used in Google’s search advertising, he said.

Pokemon Go has taken over
Pokemon Go has taken over

Some car dealerships & local businesses have already found that positioning a pokestop on their premises has driven a rush of traffic. According to the New York Post, one pizza restaurant in Queens saw business increase 75% after buying a $10 in-game power-up that lured Pokémon to its location.

Robert Drews of Mile High Motors implemented a program to reward players. He created a Facebook graphic to promote oil change discounts, with savings that correlate with your level on Pokemon Go (Level 5 = $5 off, Level 10=$10 off etc). Within the hour he had over 32 shares and 125 likes. Creative dealers could also open their service departments as hunting grounds, or see if their location is a “Pokestop” and use that to buy lures and entice customers to visit.

Pokemon Go could become a very powerful advertising tool in a short amount of time. Since this technology is so new, jury is out on the financial impact, but we cannot wait to see how progressive dealers use tools like this to bring in more business.

Strathcom Does #YEGPride

It was a beautiful sunny weekend in Edmonton, the perfect setting for the 36th Annual Pride Parade. The parade took place down historic Whyte Avenue, kicking off the 10-day festival celebrating the diversity and unity of Edmonton`s LGBTQ community.

Strathcom had a couple of colorful volunteers who marched in the parade as part of the #HeroesforZero of HIV Edmonton. HIV Edmonton had a superhero theme, and featured a couple sweet Mazda MX-5 vehicles that were graciously on loan from local dealership, (and Strathcom client) Weber Mazda.

Carrie Oliva Trish Rowsell Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

From Left: Carrie Oliva, Trish Rowsell & Ayla Gagnon

Trish Rowsell Strathcom Media #HeroesforZero

Trish Rowsell getting geared up for the parade

Trish Rowsell Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

All smiles at Pride!


#HeroesforZero in action !

Laura Keegan HIVEdmonton Heroesforzero

Mazda MX-5 donated by Weber Mazda!

Carrie Oliva Ayla Gagnon Strathcom Media

Carrie Oliva & Ayla Gagnon from the Strathcom team in their colorful outfits

Trish Rowsell heroesforzero HIV Edmonton Strathcom Media

When your whip matches your cape…

Trish Rowsell heroesforzero HIV Edmonton Strathcom Media


We had a great time and are already planning outfits for next year! If you’re in the Edmonton area this coming September join Team Strathcom at the AIDS Walk & Superhero Run! (We’re all about any excuse to wear a cape!)

The Top Searches of 2015 According to Google

Every year for the past 15 years Google releases the Year in Search, functioning as a digital scrapbook to put a bow on the last 12 months. Google uses trillions of queries to compile this data. It shows us the good and the bad of the last year, and what events have impacted us as a society.

The year-in-search data is a mix of queries from Google search, Google News, and YouTube. Although Google typically keeps its numbers a secret, Year In Search presents the total number of searches across all of those properties. “It’s not really something Google has released before,” says Simon Rogers from Google News Lab


While Google’s Year In Search website offers several options for parsing the data, the most interesting may be the interactive timeline. Mousing over each large circle on the timeline reveals the topic it represents, how many searches it amassed during the year, and when that topic peaked.

TheCharlie Hebdo and Paris terror attacks were by far the most frequently searched events over the past 12 months. Google saw nearly 900 million searches on the two attacks, more than twice the queries made for the second most frequently searched topic, the Oscars.

Paris Attacks Google Trends

“The event happened at 18 minutes past 9 pm Paris time, and within a couple of minutes, people started searching, In Paris, people started asking questions about a minute later. In Berlin, it was a few minutes after that. London after that… There wasn’t actually a story in the mainstream media for about an hour.” – Simon Rogers, Google News Lab

The top story in automotive was the Volkswagen emissions scandal, with over 13 million searches in 2015Volkswagen Scandal

Google also compiled a video overlaid with Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY’s acceptance speech highlighting some of the year’s top search trends. Check it out below!

Make sure your Dealership Doesn’t Hit the Holiday Slump


We all know that December and January aren’t stellar months for the automotive industry, but that’s no excuse to roll over and accept defeat. Yes, the market may be slower, but that means every deal is that much more precious and we as marketers should be doing our utmost to squeeze out every lead possible.

Do not fall prey to the dreaded holiday slump, use these strategies to end 2015 off on a high note and ride that momentum into the New Year.

Use Paid Search to Increase In store Traffic:

Don’t Play Follow the Leader: Many dealerships lower their advertising spend over the slower months, in an effort to cut back. Instead of following this tradition, break the mould and stay ahead of your competition. As others lower their campaign spend (or pause it altogether) the competition over keywords decreases. This allows you to get more clicks at a lower cost, and steal leads from others in your market. It also ensures your account maintains a healthy quality score with Google , so when everyone inevitably comes back to the party, they will be paying more than you and working harder for their clicks.

  • Bullseye your Prospects: Christmas is prime shopping season. What better time than the present to look for ways to increase foot traffic to your stores? This can be beneficial for both Sales & Fixed Ops. Because of this, it is recommended to set up tiered geo-modifiers around store locations in order to bid highest for people nearest the store, slightly lower for a broader radius, and even lower for an even broader radius. This will ensure the biggest bang for your buck during the holiday crunch.
  • Show ‘em what you got: A Google study asked participants what information was considered “extremely helpful” in planning a store visit. Seventy-five percent responded price, and 74 percent responded availability; those were the two highest-ranked answers. Ensure you have ads running of your actual inventory, with your real photos and pricing, and watch your click through rate skyrocket. If you aren’t running dynamic ads, talk to your provider to get started.


Use Social for Lead Generation:

  •  Be Santa’s Little Helper: Most dealers are using social media in some form, but the holidays is a great time to step up your game. Your consumers are stressed and frenzied over the festive season, so use promotions to make their lives easier. Create ads, posts and events that show them you’re here to help. Help them avoid the anarchy of the shopping mall and maybe have Santa come to the store for photos. Offer stocking stuffer gifts like 4 for 3 oil changes, winter ready gift sets in a variety of price points, emergency kits or detail gift cards. If you offer a shuttle service or loaner program, blast that messaging out on social channels- nobody likes being stranded in a Canadian winter.
  • Get Snap Happy: Instagram has opened up their advertising product to all advertisers, internationally. No brand, budget or idea is too small to take advantage of this next wave of social media advertising. Mercedes Benz USA was able to increase website visits as much as 54% through their efforts, according to a case study put together by Instagram. Couple your photo, or 30 second video, with the geo-targeting that best fits your goals. Take advantage of Instagram’s sponsored ads to run a giveaway or promotion that requires users to follow your page, share your photos and/or interact with your posts. (Think: “Enter to Win a Detail Package by Sharing & Following Our Page!” or “Take a Selfie in a 2016 Ford Fusion & Tag Us to Win a Free Gas Card”)

 Master the Content Game:

  • Get Organic: With less people coming in over the holidays, it’s a great time to get your sales team building out stellar content. It doesn’t take a wordsmith to get some quick and easy blog posts together. Maybe a section on everyone’s favorite car in the 2016 line-up and why? Explanatory seasonal posts on fixed ops (winter tires, snow safety, cold weather tips). Search Engines love regular page updates & blog content so getting into this habit for the new year will pay off with more traffic long term.
  • Light, Camera, Action: Get on YouTube. This segment is highly underutilized by Canadian car dealers. You do not need to be Spielberg to do this. A small investment in a couple good tools and dedicated sales rep is all you need to get started. Purchase a good quality phone, mic and some sort of tripod or stability system. Ask your sales people to film themselves doing walk arounds, introducing themselves and the languages they speak or showing the coolest features of a new vehicle. Most dealers know this is all it takes, but they do not consistently do it. Consistency in content is key!

We at Strathcom Media hope you enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season and wish you all the prosperity of the New Year. Get ready to kick ass in 2016!













Strathcom’s Look Inside Google Partners All-Stars Summit 2015

Google Partners Global All-Stars Summit in Mountain View, CA
Google Partners Global All-Stars in Mountain View, CA

Strathcom was honoured to be selected among hand-picked agencies around the world for the exclusive Google Partners All-Stars Summit held in Mountain View, CA. The agencies invited to attend were the top partners in each country and Strathcom represented Canada. Continue reading “Strathcom’s Look Inside Google Partners All-Stars Summit 2015”

The Best & Funniest Automotive Ads from Super Bowl XLIX

It turns out, we Canadians love us some commercials. According to Google Canada, we’ve beat out our American counterparts in searches for “Super Bowl Commercials” on YouTube for the past five years, likely because restrictions prevent Canadians from viewing U.S. commercials as they air (not yet anyway!).

If you didn’t watch yesterday’s big game, or if you just want to check out the sought-after ads, Strathcom has compiled the best automotive commercials from Super Bowl XLIX.




Throwback to 1994 with this hilarious BMW ad:



Props to Chevrolet for causing mass collective heart failure with their Blackout ad:



Leaving jaws agape internationally, Fiat is out to prove sex sells with their Blue Pill ad:



Hopefully you can attribute the tears welling in your eyes from Nissan’s ad to those Buffalo wings you’ve been scarfing:



What appears to be an ad for the latest Stomp! musical, actually turns out to be pitching the NX Turbo and Hybrid from Lexus:



Toyota tugs at the heartstrings with a double whammy of nostalgia and a shout out to the military with their Camry ad:



What starts out as pure Americana has a great global twist in this Jeep ad:



The new Sorento looks slicker than ever, and Pierce Brosnan adds a unexpected comedic touch to this fantastic ad by Kia:



A walk with wisdom, Dodge celebrates its 100th birthday with some old friends:



I’m not sure what audience Mercedes is after in this ad, but we can all agree that tortoise must have some pretty stellar credit:


And although it’s not a car commercial, our President’s Choice Award goes to the freemium mobile gaming brand, Clash of Clans, for their awesome ad featuring all-around badass, Liam Neeson:


Not-Too-Late New Year’s Resolutions for Your Website

Every year when January rolls around you vow to get in shape, save money, or spend more time with loved ones. But what goals do you set for your website? In the spirit of new beginnings, Strathcom has come up with some resolutions to tidy up your website and make your dealership the best it can be in 2015.

Here are our five picks for best site improvement resolutions for the year ahead and how to achieve them:

 1. Technical Clean Sweep

There are always some pesky technical pieces that need to be checked and updated, so keep this list handy for next year:

  • Copyright date in the footer
  • Your “About Us” page: Is the map correct? Are key staff names, bios, and phone numbers updated?
  • Meta Data: Are your page titles and descriptions the right length? (55 and 115 characters, respectively)
  • Dead or Broken Links? Try running a link checker on the site to identify any link issues that need to be addressed.
  • Browser Test: Try using the website on different web browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
  • Lead Testing: Ever heard of eating your own dog food? Test out all your lead forms as a customer would. This is a good way to root out any problems.

2. Content Audit

Your website is an investment and the content is its most valuable currency. Some things to look for:

  • Current Model Year Info: Ensure all your landing pages reflect the latest model year information, videos, and images.
  • Inventory Update: Have you updated the descriptions for last year’s inventory? What about clearout pricing and incentives?
  • Irrelevent Pages: Check Google Analytics and determine the most visited pages. Consider adding links to less visited pages, or perhaps deleting them altogether if they don’t serve your brand or marketing goals.
  • Blog: When was your last post? Is your blog being kept up to date and being used to its full potential?
  • Duplicate Content: Use a service like Siteliner to check your site for duplicate content that could be hurting your SEO efforts. Ensure only the most relevant keywords are being used.

 3. Domains

You probably already own a domain or two for your website, but did you know about these practices?

  • Renew your domains for as long as possible: Usually it’s cheaper that way, plus search engines favor long-term sites so it’s an additional SEO boost.
  • Ensure URL redirects are done: Make sure all variations of the same domain point to the same place (.ca, .com, .net should all point to your primary domain).
  • Your primary domain should be your oldest: Use a domain age checker to see which is your oldest domain and make the most of its rank authority.
  • Buy negative domains: Purchase any domains related to your brand, even the negative ones. Buying your own equivalent to mydealershipsucks.com can save a lot of headaches in the long run in case a competitor or irate customer decides to buy it instead.

 4. UX Performance

Whenever you talk about websites, you need to consider the user experience. Whether it’s through slick graphics or excellent content, the user is really the one you should please—not yourself. Some items to check to keep your users happy:

  • Homepage: This is huge. Your homepage should be interesting and inviting while relating the primary objective of the website—to sell cars. Before making any large changes, consult your data. It might not be necessary to do a complete overhaul; usually, a small tweak like changing colors or adding a new graphic can give it a boost.
  • Relevancy: Old content can become frustrating if it becomes out of date or inaccurate. It should be revised, archived, or removed.
  • Make data a priority: If you don’t have user tracking on your site, now is the perfect time to add it. Incorporate heat mapping, or click Scrolling Tools to really see how your customers engage with your site.

5. Sitespeed

Sluggish website performance is terrible for SEO. How quickly does your site load? Could it be speedier?

  • Use Google Page Speed Insights to find what slows your site down. Sometimes, simple changes can improve your load speed. If you have a score over 70 then you’re doing well, but aim for 80s.


There you have it! Some quick and easy things you can do right now to start 2015 off in the right direction for your dealership.

Strathcom Hosts Google Partners Digital Breakfast

Strathcom is pleased to have hosted our Google Partners Event, where we welcomed automotive dealers from across Ontario to the Google Canada Offices in Toronto. We started the day by pairing a delicious hot breakfast with a little networking, settling ourselves in for two presentations on Automotive Digital Marketing.

Kim Rellinger from Google Autos reminds attendees how their online demographic is evolving.


First up, Kim Rellinger from the Google Autos team. She began the talks with her presentation, “Finding Your Customers Online,” and discussed new data trends and insights from the Canadian digital automotive space. Kim provided some interesting new statistics and surprising updates to how Canadians are interacting with advertisers during the buying process. During the very engaging Q&A portion of Kim’s presentation, prizes were handed out including a stainless steel, Google-branded French press coffee maker. Most attendees returned to their offices sharing swag including Strathcom water bottles, USBs, & Google notebooks and pens.

It’s all in the game: Strathcom’s Duncan Cochrane shares the promising idea of scalable pre-roll YouTube videos for dealers.


Next up, Strathcom’s President, Duncan Cochrane, presented “Expanding on the Fundamentals.” For his talk, he discussed how to leverage online basics to make the most of your advertising spend, as well as key new trends car dealers can take advantage of in the digital landscape to rustle up more leads. Strathcom also unveiled our scalable YouTube pre-roll packages, allowing even the smallest of dealerships to compete in the video advertising game.


The lucky dealers were then extended with an exclusive offer for attending. To wrap up the day, Strathcom & Google team members were available for any further one-on-one questions.


We had a great time and want to thank everyone who came out to join us!


Please stay tuned as we will be hosting future events in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg, with more cities being announced this fall. Want a part of it? Contact us to learn more.

Strathcom Media’s Tony, Liza, & Trish taking in the Google Breakfast in matching SMI t-shirts.

Google and Strathcom Media Gab About AdWords

As you might be well aware, Strathcom Media is a Google Channel Sales Partner. We work directly with a team from the world’s most popular search engine to ensure our clients receive all of the latest beta roll-outs, benefit from extensive audits and testing, and have access to the highest-level support.

Being on the Google Partners list comes with plenty of responsibility, and keeping our staff up to date on the latest innovations is key. So this week we welcomed Google to our office to meet with our Adwords Certified Team to learn more about what is coming down the pipe and what that means for our clients.


What’s Coming Up?

Target Ads by Household Income

Imagine if you could target Lexus or BMW ads to those in your area who make over $100,000 a year? Well soon you can. One of the most exciting features to enhance your AdWords Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the ability to target a user based on their estimated household income level and show them relevant ads. The income data is currently available in the US and provided by the IRS but should be rolled out in Canada by the end of 2014.

This also can work in the other direction: for instance, targeting middle- to lower-income neighbourhoods to show ads for subprime financing, first-time car buying, and anything thing else that might apply.


Google My Business Key for Local Search

The recent upgrade for Google Places to Google My Business will be an important factor during the next 6 months both for SEO and Paid Search. Make sure you have properly migrated your profile over to the new platform in order to ensure you capture these new benefits, such as location extension linking and enhanced map functionality for mobile.


Exciting New Google Events

Strathcom will be rolling out a series of events this year to give our dealers the inside track on the latest and greatest Google developments. Our first event this fall will be held at the Google Offices in Toronto, and it will give dealers a chance to ask questions and better understand what Adwords is and how you can use it to help grow your business. Google’s training team will provide the presentations. If you’re interested in registering for this free event, click here.

Get the Jist on Google From Us!

There’s much more coming out of the Google funnel, and we here at Strathcom Media are constantly evolving and trying new things like A/B Testing and UX Testing, always ensuring that our clients are on the cutting edge of the latest developments.

If you are interested in attending a joint Google-Strathcom event, or if you just want more information on Google products, please feel free to reach out to me at trish@strathcom.com!

Google Announces New Features to Get You More Leads

Google Adwords

Google held their highly anticipated AdWords Livestream this morning, announcing the new innovations and features they will be rolling out with to help you use their products better as a marketer and become more efficient at the digital advertising game.

Strathcom was there for all the action, and here are 4 key takeaways of Google’s announcements:

1. It’s Not About Devices

We keep hearing about the importance of mobile—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers are constantly connected, and the average person today owns four digital devices and spends 60 hours each week consuming content across platforms.* In this multi-device world, the way people use desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones is being blurred. This means that people don’t think about which device they’re using—they just expect the right content to appear seamlessly wherever they are ready to engage.

People are Living their entire lives online.  ~Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords

2. App, App Baby!

Half of today’s roll-outs were related to applications (apps) and promoting engagement. AdWords advertisers will be able to reach prospective customers based on the type of apps they have on their mobile devices, how frequently they use these apps, their in-app purchases, and their app download history. (So, if you are big car guy, and you have some automotive-related apps, you might see an ad for an app that helps you find local gas prices.)

Google has also unveiled App Promotion Ads, so you can target users while they are browsing YouTube on their cellphones.

3. Welcome to the Big Show

Larger AdWords agencies have always had an edge because of their big budgets. This has allowed some agencies, like Marin and Acquisio, to have thousands of accounts and use third-party bid management platforms. Google announced that now all businesses running numerous campaigns (whether a few dozen or several thousand) will be able to take advantage of enterprise-class tools like bulk actions (location targeting, ad rotation, etc.), automated bidding, and advanced reporting.

4. Estimated Total Conversions

This was originally announced last year, but basically it is a way of gauging the efficiency of your digital advertising using phone calls, app downloads, web conversions, and eventually in-dealership visits. It has been reported that Google was experimenting with using smartphone location data to track offline store visits and tie them back to ad exposures on mobile devices, a huge opportunity for car dealers when this is finally rolled out of the testing phase. More updates are sure to come soon.

What Does it Mean for You?

Strathcom Media stays ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends and updates, so you can relax and watch the leads roll in. Today’s additions will be able to save time, money, and increase overall conversions for your account by allowing our PPC Specialists to spend more time pulling greater insights from the data and optimizing your campaigns.

Not currently using AdWords? Get $300 FREE from Strathcom by emailing sales@strathcom.com.


*Nielsen, February 2014.