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!

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW

For those of you who enjoyed the brief highlight reel we released in September on Google Think Auto, here’s the full review. Enjoy!

Google Think Auto 2017

In September, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The scenery of the event was different and so was the direction of the event. Instead of focusing on the four phases of the car buying journey, there was a ton of data presented on the the buyer’s persona. If you don’t remember what the four phases are, check out our 2016 recap of Think Auto for a good refresher. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW”

Think Auto 2017

Google Think Auto 2017
Toronto Centre for the Arts, September 7, 2017

This past Thursday, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Google Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Although the venue changed from the usual scene at Massey Hall and the direction of the event was slightly different by not having individual dealers out (check out our blog on the upcoming Think Dealer events!), the content was useful and provided a different perspective on our ever changing Canadian car buyer market.

The focus of this year’s event was on buyers falling into three main buckets:

  1. First Time Buyer “The Newbie” – represents 20% of the Canadian car buying market
  2. Brand Loyalist “The Loyalist” – represents 37% of the Canadian car buying market
  3. Brand Switcher “The Switcher” (or the promiscuous as they like to call them) – represents 43% of the Canadian car buying market

Here are some highlights of this year’s study:

  • Video continues to be the hot topic going into next year, but the conversation has changed from OEMs being simply present, to being present in the right way and getting in front of the right audience.
  • The Newbies and the Switchers are the top two buyers heading to YouTube, but they are watching different content. The Newbies are focused on expert and peer reviews of vehicles while the Switchers are watching on the road and test drive videos.
  • On average, Canadian car buyers:
    • Will visit 2 dealerships (down from 3 last year)
    • Are in the market for 57 days
    • Will consider between 2 and 4 brands
  • 80% of car buyers said that digital will reduce the number of visits to a dealership, meaning they are using online resources to be more efficient
  • 54% of car buyers said that they will not contact the dealership before going there
    • This means that you have to WIN online to win the in-person visit!
  • Google will be hosting Think Dealer events across the country to present more dealership specific information

We will have a  complete summary to follow with more detailed info and stats, stay tuned!

Think Dealer 2017 Events

Think Dealer 2017 Events

If you haven’t already heard, Google changed up their Think Auto event this year. Instead of bringing everyone across the country to the centre of the universe…Toronto… they decided to bring their wealth of knowledge across the country and host Think Dealer specific events in 5 cities between October 12th and November 9th. Lucky for us, we were still able to check out Think Auto and you can read up on our quick summary of the event here!

The goal of Think Dealer is to bring the latest industry stats and innovations to a location near you. The team from Google will be presenting their latest findings on what you can do at the dealership level to reach, engage and drive car buyers to your dealership!

Our team will be jet setting off to 4 of the 5 Think Dealer events (sorry Montreal) and we’d love to see you there. Here are the dates and locations:

  • Montreal – October 12th
  • Toronto – October 17th
  • Halifax – October 19th
  • Vancouver – November 7th
  • Calgary – November 9th

If you’re interested in attending one of these events, we would be happy to sign you up! Please reach out to info@strathcom.com and we’ll take care of the rest. If you’re looking for some more information, head to https://events.withgoogle.com/think-dealer-2017/. Or if you would like to attend Think Dealer in either Toronto or Vancouver but don’t want to splurge on a plane ticket and hotel room, enter our contest and we will not only foot the bill, but also hook you up with Strathcom, Facebook, and Google swag!

We look forward to seeing you at Think Dealer!

Analytics Intelligence

Google Analytics is releasing an update that will make it much easier and quicker to find the data you need.  The new tool Google Analytics will be rolling out is called: Analytics Intelligence.  Analytics Intelligence will allow you to type in what it is you are looking for and give you those results. Instead of navigating through multiple sections within Analytics, you will now be able to type in questions like “How much traffic did CPC bring in this month compared to last?”, and it will quickly show you the answer.

Man working on a project in an office using a tablet; images of analytics intelligence graphs

Beyond answering your questions, Analytics Intelligence also shows new opportunities for you through automated insights, now available in the web interface as well as in the mobile app. These insights can show spikes or drops in metrics like Revenue or Session Duration, tipping you off to issues that you may need to investigate further. Insights may also present opportunities to improve key metrics by following specific recommendations.

To find out more about Analytics Intelligence, check out the complete article here!

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!

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.

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!