HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Marketers are making the mistake of not integrating search and social strategies, or choosing to ignore social all together. Keynote speaker Jason Dailey of Facebook’s US Agency Development team stressed the importance of running a social campaign along with search ads, and how to properly run the content together.

To no surprise to anyone, mobile is the leader in performance marketing channels, and is the key platform to integrating search and social. Jason mentioned that people are on their phones from when they wake up to when they go to bed, and are less distracted by things around when consuming content on their smartphones (as opposed to TV).

The key to integration is recognizing that search and social advertising have the same outcomes, but with different signals. On social media, we can identify our audience based on their profiles and engagement, but cannot identify their intent online. Paid search allows us to discover our customer’s intent with keyword targeting, but cannot identify who they are as a person. Integrating social and search brings us to the middle ground of the two to execute a successful online advertising campaign.

Making Sure Your SEO & SEM Get Along

My favorite session of the week was keynote speaker Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive. Wil brought an exciting insight as an SEO expert on how paid listings should complement organic. As PPC analysts, it is so easy to forget why customers are using Google, and focusing too much on getting them in our sales funnel.  His key take way was optimizing for the real world, and making sure you answer the customer’s question. If your organic or paid listings don’t help the customer, another source will. A true example below shows that both ads on the top of the page have no mention of the price of a Toyota Rav4, and the answer is provided by a non-dealer website.  Making sure ad copy or ad extensions match the “why” of a consumer’s search will improve the quality of traffic SEO and SEM listings receive."how much is a rav4?" typed into Google Search

It would be difficult for me to include everything I have learned in a single blog post. HeroConf 2017 was a great experience and provided so much insight into how to succeed in PPC in 2017. Can’t wait to return next year in Austin!

Social Advertising in a Mobile First World

mobile devicesThe mobile consumer experience is rapidly changing. Consumers are checking their favorite social media platforms on their smartphones when they wake up, and before they go to bed. At this point, it is no secret that your business needs to be reaching customers on social media. How does your business stand out from the other content your customers are consuming daily? The optimal consumer experience consists of three things: using the power of videos, content consumption, and the quality of engagement.

Videos are becoming an important form of expression and communication over social media. Gone are the days of long statuses or posts to express yourself. Individuals are now sharing short videos to convey a message. However, most people don’t want to hear what you have to say, they want to view it. To get your customer’s attention, make sure the message of your video can be expressed without sound. Use text or subtitles in your video to get the customer to focus on your ad for a few seconds.

“Thumb stopping” content is one of those buzzwords everyone is using. But how do you create content that will stop people from scrolling?

Two women sitting in a bar and staring at mobile phones - Girls watching a video online on portable device

People recognize pictures more than they recognize a wall of text. You may provide the best description of your business possible, but if you are not utilizing photos, or using very dull photos, no one is going to recognize your brand in the future. You need to also consider the age of your target demographic. Younger people tend to scroll through their feeds quickly, whereas older individuals tend to take their time. You should use interesting graphics to capture a younger audience, and consider using quality photos to keep an older audience interested in your post.

The quality of engagement on social media is no match to other platforms. Individuals are more attentive and more positive to their experiences on mobile versus other platforms such as television. Even though smartphone screens are smaller than a flat screen TV, individuals are more focused to the content on their phones due to less distractions around them.

It’s time to revamp your social media strategy and Strathcom Media can help! Reach out to our sales team today to get started.

AR Canada 2017 Recap

April 4th wrapped up 2017’s Auto Remarketing Canada Conference at the Westin Harbor Castle in Toronto. This year brought hundreds of progressive dealers and vendors together to discuss new innovations and the future of the automotive industry.

AR Canada signThe conference started with our very own Melina Beeston who discussed how dealers can use their online reputation to make more money. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. If your Google, Facebook, Yelp and DealerRater accounts are plagued with negative reviews, your customers are going to view them as recommendations to not work with you. If you missed Melina’s presentation or would like to learn more about the value of Reputation Marketing, we have created an eBook that can be downloaded here.The Sign outside Melina's session at AR Canada

We also attended a great panel session on Selling to New Immigrants to Canada that was hosted by Todd Bourgon from TADA, Justin Poy with the JP Agency and Amin Tajani with Weins Canada. They brought up some excellent points on how highlighting student lease programs can be especially beneficial for new immigrant students coming to Canada for a short period of time. This information isn’t usually a primary focus on dealer websites, and could be a great way to help differentiate yourself. They also touched on how having a number of sales people who can speak different languages isn’t the most important piece to making a program like this work, it’s about understanding the culture of your customers walking through the door. If your dealership is in an ethnically diverse community, it would be beneficial to have your sales team take some time to read the local newspapers for those communities and learn what is important to them when doing business.

Duncan and Alecia at the Strathcom booth at AR Canada

Then we attended another great panel about the subprime auto finance market in Canada which had representatives from Autonum, Equifax, Carfinco and Scotiabank. They discussed how negative equity is a growing issue and how when it’s coupled with longer terms, you are continuing to delay the customer from coming back to purchase again. Repeat customers is what you want! Educating the client as you go through the process is crucial as well. There is still a belief that if you’re sending an application to multiple lenders at one time, that it will hurt their credit score, when in fact it will only count as one credit pull if it falls within a certain time frame. The average customer’s credit application gets sent out 3.3 times before a lender is selected, so it’s important to educate your customer as you go.

Maria Soklis with Cox Automotive CanadaThen Maria Soklis, President of Cox Automotive Canada, held a General Session about disruptions like digital retailing, mobility and shifting customer preferences are changing the automotive industry. She said that unless dealers want to be the next Blockbuster, they need to embrace these changes and be as proactive as possible. She mentioned companies like Carvana and Tesla that allow customers to buy their vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership.

Although the concept of eCommerce in auto was common throughout the entire conference, it is not something that dealers should be rushing into; at least not until it is perfected.

Near the end of the second day, Josh Bloom, Brian Sencich and Nimalan Bala from Facebook hung out at our booth to answer any questions that dealers had about their advertising platform.

Facebook pop-up banner

1-on-1 sessions with Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the 1-on-1 sessions at our booth, it was time for Josh’s Keynote Session where he showed dealers why they need to advertising on Facebook, best practices for advertising on Facebook, and how to get started.

Josh Bloom with FacebookJosh began the session by asking dealers to imagine a platform they could advertise on that everyone uses, and that everyone uses every day. That is exactly what Facebook is. There are 18 million Canadians on Facebook everyday; to put that in perspective, 4.47 million Canadians tuned in to watch the last Super Bowl on CTV, CTV Two and TSN combined.

Mobile phones have become the new TV, radio, billboard, newspaper and direct mail: all on one device. And which app do the most people spend their time? Facebook.

For those that are already advertising on Facebook, Josh emphasized that ads should be designed for mobile devices as that is where most people are looking.

Here are the 5 ‘Go Do’s’ Josh listed for dealers:

  1. Lead generation is easier than ever on Facebook. Try Lead Ads for new, used, and finance campaigns
  2. Plan the work and work the plan. Plan to reach 50-70% of your target audience 2-3 times per week to drive conversions on your website and drive leads
  3. Add the Facebook Pixel to your site. It allows you to: measure conversions and see how your customers are moving between devices before they convert, optimize delivery and show your ads to people that are likely to convert, and build audiences by retargeting website visitors.
  4. Build creative for mobile
  5. Measure everything

He ended his session by listing several providers – including Strathcom Media – that can help dealers succeed with Facebook advertising. And right now, Strathcom Media is offering $500 in bonus Facebook spend – ask us about it today!

We enjoyed attending this year, and we’ll see you on April 9 and 10 next year!

 

A Few Fun Facts About Car Brand Fans

Auto Brands & Demographics

Have you ever wondered where your favorite automotive brands fit within market niches? The Auto Insurance Centre has your answer; their study was conducted using over 114 million Facebook brand fans from across North America.

Using Facebook fans as the sole input, the study managed to find some pretty interesting things regarding demographics of car brands. Though ‘page likes’ and ‘fans’ do not necessarily translate directly into vehicle sales, it does determine what type of individuals are willing to be subject to a distinct brand’s marketing and social-media presence, and the study gives us further insight into brand image and consumer perception.

Imports dominate Facebook in the U.S.: with Mercedes Benz (19.4 million), BMW (18.9 million), Ferrari (16.2 million), Nissan (13.5 million) and Lamborghini (11.7 million) rounding out the top five. It isn’t until 10th place that we see our first domestic brand appear: Jeep.

The annual income of car fans on Facebookthe gender of car fans on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond simply tallying the number of fans each manufacturer has on Facebook, the study has managed to dig deeper thanks to information available through Facebook profiles (as shown in the images above and below). Each brand’s ranking has been segregated by varying factors like age, gender, annual income, ethnicity and politics, etc.


What is your favourite car-brand? Find out where your favorite automotive manufacturer fits from here:
http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/the-average-fan-of-car-brands.htm

Sources:

https://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/topic/83831-age-demographics-car-brands-with-the-oldest-buyers/

http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/the-average-fan-of-car-brands.htm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/industry-news/canadians-vs-americans-top-10-differences-in-auto-ownership/article18800449/

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.

Facebook Auto Summit

Facebook Auto Summit

Mobile Moves Metal

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

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

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

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

Facebook Auto Summit

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

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

Our Visit with our Friends from Facebook

met with Facebook to discuss the benefits of Facebook advertising

On Wednesday we were visited by our friends Brian and Nim from Facebook. We discussed the many reasons that dealers should be advertising on Facebook, and how we can improve our current Facebook campaigns. Here are some of the key takeaways from their visit:

  • Recent Facebook data shows that the number of Canadians that are on Facebook daily has increased from 17 million to 18 million.
  • Facebook is the most affordable advertising platform for dealers.
  • When we asked how they describe the value of Facebook in online marketing, they gave this example: if you think of your smartphone as today’s television, Facebook is today’s NBC or Fox.
  • If you are currently advertising on Google, studies show that advertising on Facebook can improve your performance on Google Search. How? When someone searches for a product on Google, they are likely in the final stages of the sales journey. By advertising on Facebook to those that are in the earlier stages, it increases the chance that they will eventually convert on your Search ad because they will already be familiarized with your brand. Essentially, if we think about the traditional sales funnel model, Facebook helps drive potential customers down the funnel to your Search ads, and then to your dealership.

If you are running your Facebook ads in-house, here are some things that you should consider:

  • Maintaining and optimizing Facebook campaigns is an important, and time consuming process. If it is someone at the dealership that is maintaining your Facebook ads while also taking care of other things at the dealership, they may not be spending as much time making the adjustments and optimizations that an online advertising expert would.
  • It is also important to consider that a management fee from an agency would be much less than someone’s salary.

If you would like to get started on Facebook, get in touch with us today and $500 towards your next lead-generating campaign!

Every Generation is the Facebook Generation

phone screen with social media applications of Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Periscope while a male finger is about to touch on Facebook app.

Facebook. What started out in a college dorm room has since grown into one of the largest advertising platforms available. Yet, there are many companies that still do not realize the potential Facebook has to offer their business.

One common objection we hear about Facebook advertising is “I’m not on Facebook, and my customers aren’t on Facebook”, or “people my age and older aren’t on Facebook”. Although this sounds like a reasonable objection, the data simply does not back it up.

There are 22 million Canadians on Facebook, and 17 million of them are on Facebook every day. The population of Canada is about 35 million people, meaning that about 63% of Canadians are on Facebook, and almost 50% are on Facebook every day. When one considers that 1 in 2 Canadians are on Facebook, suddenly the “people my age aren’t on Facebook” argument seems unlikely.

Also, a recent study by Sprout Social looked at which social platforms each generation – Millennials (ages 18-34), Gen Xers (ages 34-54) and Baby Boomers (ages 55+) – engage with the most. They surveyed 1,000 people from each demographic and the results showed that, actually, every generation is the Facebook generation.

43.6% of those surveyed chose Facebook as their social network of choice. 64.7% of Gen Xers chose it and 65.2% of Baby Boomers chose it. That’s right, out of all three generations, the highest percentage came from those aged 55+. 65.2% of Baby Boomers chose Facebook as their social media platform of choice

Another interesting discovery in this study is which generations are most likely to follow a brand on social media. They found that 48.6% of Millennials currently follow brands, and 48.8% of Gen Xers currently follow brands.  That means almost half of people aged 35-54 have opted-in to following brands on social media. Is your brand available to them?

But what about Generation Z? Even though Sprout did not survey anyone from this generation, there are a plethora of articles out there trying to figure this generation out. Many suggest that SnapChat is going to be that generation’s Facebook, but according to an article by Contently:

“67 percent of older Gen Zers regularly use Facebook, while 50 percent name the Facebook-owned Instagram—only one percentage point behind Snapchat. Facebook was also named by 26 percent of respondents as the social network they use ‘constantly,’ compared with 23 percent for Snapchat. Nearly half of respondents said they log onto Facebook multiple times a day”.

One of the most basic lessons in advertising is to be where your customers are and where your competition isn’t. It’s been proven that your customers are, in fact, on Facebook; but right now, a lot of your competition is not advertising there. Give us a call today to get started and get $500 in bonus spend to put towards your next lead-generating campaign.

A Look Back at a Successful Year

2016 was a very successful year for Strathcom Media.

We strengthened partnerships, made new partnerships, and even developed and launched a brand new WordPress website platform.

New Website Platform

Last year we had a dream. A dream that resulted in us investing over a million dollars into developing a brand new website platform that was jam packed with new tools for dealers.

Less than a year later, we began moving our dealers onto our all new WordPress platform with technologies like Personalization, Geo-Fencing, Notepad, Silent Salesman and more. This new platform is faster, more secure, and more user friendly so dealers can spend less time making changes to their site and more time selling cars.

New Opportunities with Google

We spent a lot more time with Google in 2016, and even achieved Premier Google Partner status!

In addition to Google breakfasts and hangouts in Vancouver and Toronto, we also held our very first Google event in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta in June. We also held a contest in September to bring 6 lucky winners to Google’s newest & coolest office in Waterloo, Ontario!

New Partnerships

In 2016 we became a Provider for the Mercedes-Benz Canada Dealer Website Program, and a Preferred Website Vendor for the Kia Dealer Website Certification Program.

We also became a Facebook Marketing Partner and recently hosted our very first Facebook webinar for FCA dealers!

New Conferences

In addition to speaking at conferences like AR Canada and DSES, we also had the opportunity to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto. We also attended several events including Western Canadian Dealer Summit and ThinkAuto.

We were also included in AR Canada’s Power 200 List for 2016!

New Office

And finally, last month we packed up and moved just up the road into our new office. A new location means a new atmosphere, and a new atmosphere means fresh ideas for the new year.

Thank you to all of our customers for their support, and we look forward to what 2017 has to bring!

Recommended for You

If you have ever shopped on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Expedia, you are likely familiar with the concept of recommendation marketing. However, you may not know just how effective this type of marketing is. In fact, Amazon’s recommendation engine generates 35% of their revenue and according to an article on Fortune.com:

“Judging by Amazon’s success, the recommendation system works. The company reported a 29% sales increase to $12.83 billion during its second fiscal quarter, up from $9.9 billion during the same time last year. A lot of that growth arguably has to do with the way Amazon has integrated recommendations into nearly every part of the purchasing process…”

Cropped photo of man using credit card to make payments Recommendation marketing is essentially upselling 2.0. Companies like Amazon, Expedia and Netflix track what you view and use an algorithm to determine which additional items you are likely to purchase/watch. A humorous example of this is the drug dealer example; when someone looks at a scale on Amazon, Amazon recommends a vaccuum-sealed storage container, rolling papers, and a spice grinder because these are items that are frequently purchased together.

How can auto dealers incorporate recommendation marketing?

One way is Dynamic Remarketing. This type of remarketing shows potential buyers ads based on the inventory they viewed on your site. For example, if someone viewed a Ford Explorer, you could show them ads for some other Ford Explorers in your inventory or other models that people tend to also look at; like the Edge, for example.

Another way is Website Personalization and Geo-Fencing. With these tools you can set rules that change the images, messaging and CTA’s on your site based on where the user is located and/or which pieces of inventory they viewed. If the user is a student at the local university, you can recommend vehicles under $10,000, for example.

young people view car ad

A third way is with lookalike audiences on Facebook. Lookalike audiences are when your CRM list is uploaded to Facebook and Facebook advertises to those that share similar characteristics to your current customers. Similar to how Netflix recommends shows to you based on what your Facebook friends watch.

If you want to get started on recommendation marketing or would like to learn more about any of these tools, drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter!