Marketing Decisions Based on Data; Seems Simple, Right?

Every manager and business owner out there knows that marketing decisions often need to be made quickly, and so we often rely on our intuition to guide us.

The problem is that our intuition can easily deceive us. By not asking the right questions and by allowing emotion to permeate the decision-making process, it can become easy to make a decision that will negatively affect your company’s fortunes. Therefore, it’s important to have a system of predetermined guidelines in place to support our decisions. We should challenge our intuition and ask ourselves if there is data and evidence to back our marketing decisions.

Google, for example,  has proven to be very effective in this type of decision making. Google tested 41 shades of blue to confirm which would bring the highest click rate on their paid ads. As crazy as the study might seem, this campaign enabled the company to generate millions of additional dollars in profits.

Here at Strathcom Media, we often get the request to publish a “GET APPROVED FOR CREDIT” call-to-action (CTA) button on the homepage, despite extensive research showing this particular CTA is seldom clicked. This valuable homepage real estate is unnecessarily occupied. Take the time to monitor your analytics and discover what meaningful CTAs could be placed on the homepage.

marketing decisions

The same applies when choosing advertising mediums to leverage. There is no lack of advertising channels to choose from (Google PPC, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, print, radio, billboards, email, direct mail, flyers-the list goes on), but how do you choose the appropriate channels for your dealership?

Some marketing agencies are notorious for promising significant conversion and lead increases in an attempt to lure in gullible buyers with too-good-to-be-true promises. This stains an industry that can potentially yield a very high return on investment.

That being said, a wealth of information gives us a great advantage, enabling easier decision-making. A good agency will use informational reporting to create marketing accountability and evaluate their value. In a digital world, there are so many metrics that you can measure anything and everything! A competent account manager will be able to break the metrics down for you in a way that is both understandable and useful.

Keep in mind that not all data is defined consistently. For example, if a marketing agency is promising to increase your conversions or your leads, ask them to define what a qualified sales lead or conversion is. Having a common definition of a qualified lead is imperative to avoiding disappointment. A confident marketing agency will have a strict framework for what does and what does not qualify as a sales lead.

A good place to start is by asking the right questions to define your advertising strategy. Here are some sample questions to help you figure this out:

  • Who is your target market? It is wise to conduct some research and take a look at your analytics to find out what your age and gender demographics look like. This will influence your answers to the other question below. (If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) connected to your website, do so immediately, as this information is easily accessible and invaluable.)
  • How do your competitors execute their promotion strategies? This may also influence your choice of promotional activity. For example, many of our dealers are executing geo-fencing strategies to steal customers from other dealers. How will this affect the way you react, if you choose to react at all?

In summary: Strathcom integrates these methods so we can better know our clients, understand our market segment, and identify weaknesses and strengths of our digital strategy, and then ultimately take the guessing and intuition out of our decision-making process. You can too! At Strathcom Media, we apply these methods in our decision making to ensure our clients’ marketing decisions and advertising strategies are backed and driven by statistics, keeping their minds at ease.

Google Analytics 360

Looking for a way to deep-dive into your customer data and take Google Analytics one step further?

Introducing the new Google Analytics 360.GA360Suite_Vertical_Logo

This new premium paid, enterprise-level solution is designed to help businesses just like yours integrate all of your customer data into one platform so you can easily make sense of it all and create better marketing campaigns. It’s taking advantage of all those micro-moments car buyers experience and giving them the right messages at the right time.

The full suite comes with:

  1. Google Analytics 360 – Formerly known as Google Analytics Premium, this software is coming out with new capabilities over the next couple of months
  2. Google Attribution 360 – Formerly known as Adometry, it has been rebuilt to better help you determine the value behind your marketing efforts and allocate budgets for the best returns
  3. Google Tag Manager 360 – Allows you to add code into your website in a simplified and efficient way, saving Marketers a ton of time
  4. Google Data Studio 360 – Takes data from all products in the Google Analytics 360 suite and converts it all into visual and interactive dashboards and reports
  5. Google Optimize 360 – A brand new website-testing and -personalization tool that will let you A/B-test different versions of your website for better performance
  6. Google Audience Center 360 – This new tool will help you understand your customers better and find more customers just like them

So if you think your team has mastered Google Analytics and just wants more, then Google Analytics 360 and its new product suite may just be the perfect new tool for you!

Finding the Difference Between Mobile and Desktop Visitors

Since Google has announced the types of online moments most relevant to a customer, we need to understand what our market is doing on our websites. The sooner we can deliver the information they want, the more useful we become to our users. One of the ways to identify these online moments is to dive into Google Analytics.

mobile users

Here’s a case for leveraging Google Analytics:

In an initial look at one of our clients, we found that one of the differences between mobile users and desktop users was  page views on certain pages.

What else did we find?

A lack of page views and a higher bounce rate on mobile for the Build and Price page and the Our Dealership/About Us page.

What does it mean?

If clicks could vote, they wouldn’t vote for those pages. It’s not that users don’t care about those pages, it’s just that they’re browsing with a different intent than if they were on desktop. So where did these users go? Most mobile users ended up exiting the website on inventory pages. They found the information they wanted, then left.

This means we should cater to what mobile users want and don’t want. Knowing this information, we’re not going to create sitelinks or set landing pages for content which isn’t useful or relevant to mobile users. Doing that doesn’t help the client.

Mobile optimization requires a different perspective and approach, and Google provides the tools needed to make decisions for mobile optimizations. The analysts at Strathcom can identify those optimizations which benefit Paid-Search performance and your company’s objectives and goals.

Homepage Elements with the Highest Conversion Rates

Conversion Optimization: probably the most important topic imaginable for building car dealership websites, and a topic we’d like to shed some light on. Here’s what we at Strathcom discovered during our tests for conversion rates!Print

A Call to Action is Like Asking for the Sale

You train your Salespeople to close the deal, and the same kind of logic behind that also applies online. There’s no denying the insane importance of a Call to Action (CTA), and knowing just when and where to ask for the sale is just as important. In our tests, we excluded clicks from top-level menus. Here are the stats:

The Most Clicked-on Webpages

  • New/Used Inventory – people like to browse, so let’s suggest taking a test drive, for example
  • Specials – let’s load this page up with incentives; that’s the idea here anyways, right?
  • Service Appointment

Highest-Performing Design

Button-style CTAs outperformed “image + text” CTAs. Main CTA buttons account on average for almost half of the clicks on a webpage, making them by far the most important CTAs to include.

Best Placement

The higher above the fold, the higher the conversions.


A Convenient Quick-Search Bar

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Users want to find what they’re looking for right away and if they don’t, they’ll go somewhere else. The stats:


One of the top-performing homepage elements to encourage conversions – we found in our tests that quick-search bars average around 20% of all site clicks.


  • Placement on the homepage doesn’t matter, as it’s consistently used wherever we put it – it’s just a matter of making it accessible
  • When placed lower on a page, users will actively scroll down to use it

A Ton of Links

One paragraph on the homepage could contain links to just about every other section of the site, giving readers an easy way of searching for and finding what they need. Stats:

Most Clicked-on Links

  • Contact Info/Location/Directions/Hours – some users are customers already, and they just want to find out where and when they can drop by, so let’s be sure they can find out easily
  • Book Service Appointment
  • View New/Used Inventory

Highest-Performing Design

Links with button styles, but ONLY when used sparingly – let’s be smart about how we use buttons.

For our testing purposes, “conversions” was defined as clicks which took a user to an internal webpage. We tested using heat maps, click maps, and Google Analytics data, and our tests were done over multiple sites with differing designs.

YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC

It was YellowPages in the Library with the Candlestick!

A couple months back, Alexandre Brabant posted his experience helping a client decipher what was going on with their Ad Words campaign being run by the Yellow Pages Group, what he found was they were employing some shady techniques to increase the amount of money they were receiving for running the campaign – all behind the customers back. This gave us the idea to give you, the reader, some questions to ask your Yellow Pages rep or any rep who is running Ad Words on behalf of your business.

Continue reading “YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC”

Dynamic Remarketing 101

 Is it fair to expect to convert visitors on their first visit to a website? According to Hub Spot, approximately 96% of visitors that come to a website are not ready to buy….yet[i]. For the casual browser who is looking for more information, offering the visitor relevant information to keep them on your webpage for longer could mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Today, this is how most people search for new vehicles.

That being said, we all know that a certain percentage of bounce  is inevitable for any website out there, particularly when we are dealing with an extremely competitive landscape such as automotive marketing.

Continue reading “Dynamic Remarketing 101”

Event Announcement: Google Breakfast Vancouver, June 18th

bun styled as car on plate

VANCOUVER, BC – The Google Breakfast circuit will soon be stopping for a bite in Canada’s west coast. It’s a chance for dealers in B.C. and Western Canada to learn about the latest trends and innovations from the digital automotive world, straight from the insiders at Google Canada.

The 3-hour event will take place the morning of Thursday, June 18th, at Vancouver’s gorgeous Chambar Restaurant.

So bring your questions! The speakers will be available for private consultation following the event.

Click Here for More Information and to RSVP — Space is Limited!


NEW EBOOK: 10 SEO Slip-Ups That Will Sink Your New Website

Just in time to start the new year, Strathcom is giving you the chance to strike off one of your digital resolutions: get a better understanding of search engine optimization.

Even if you already trust your dealer website’s SEO duties to our development, content, and web design teams, it doesn’t hurt to know some of the finer points for yourself.

Ready to pop open the hood and learn how to tell a redirect apart from a responsive design?

We’ve extracted today’s best online practices from across the web and placed them into one learning resource for the uninitiated: 10 SEO Slip-Ups That Will Sink Your New Website: A Guide to SEO for Your Website!


Click to download


This new ebook — the first in a trilogy set to publish this month — will take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the sometimes comfusing world of search engine optimization, helping you to identify and avoid the most damaging SEO pitfalls and pratfalls.

It’s a quick read, written for the layman, and totally free to download!

You’re welcome.

But save your gushing letters for another time; a more intuitive, speedier web experience is thanks enough for us — and your customers!

Follow the link below to download your ebook!

Get your copy here!

What You Missed at Wednesday's Google Partners Connect Live Stream – Edmonton, AB

Yesterday, Strathcom was pleased to organize the first of our Google Partners Connect live stream events, hosted here in our homeland of Edmonton, Alberta.

Continue reading “What You Missed at Wednesday's Google Partners Connect Live Stream – Edmonton, AB”

Location Extensions: Keep Your Ads Visible by Updating Your Google Account

In case you haven’t realized the significance of it yet, location extensions are an important element of any Google ad—a feature not all advertisers are taking advantage of.

Need a refresher? While in use, the physical address of a company will be attached alongside its Google ad, provided the ad is in a top position. When used optimally, the ad will stand out among its competitors and take up valuable real estate on the search page.

In the world of pay-per-click, more eyes is the prize.

Enter August 18th…

On August 18th, Google will change up its method on how location extensions are managed. It will no longer be possible to manually enter the business address of each campaign. Instead, Google will be using the information from the account’s associated Google My Business listing (formerly known as Google Places).

Since a car dealership ad relies on a clear and visible location, it’s absolutely essential that this editing transition happens as smoothly as possible.

Let me repeat that: It is absolutely essential that you set up your business adress info into your Google My Business profile listing, immediately!


So what specifically needs to be done?

First ensure your Google My Business account is linked to the correct Google AdWords account. The steps are simple:

1. Go to the Ad Extensions tab

2. Expand Addresses from Google My Business

3. Select the correct My Business account and click the Save button.


Location Extensions



Take note: If your AdWords login is different from the one used to create your My Business account, you will need to request and receive admin rights for the My Business account that created the Google+ page.


Now what, Adrian?

Once you’ve set up “Adresses from Google My Business,” the choice is yours to wait for Google to migrate the location extensions or to do it yourself using tools such as Wordstream’s PPC Advisor.


There are three clear advantages to this change:

Un: Customers can easily find your business whether they’re using Google Search, Google+, or Google Maps (regardless of their device).

Deux: Customers can easily contact you from a click-to-call mobile extension, Google Maps, or searching your hours of operation.

Trois: If you edit your location later on, both the Google+ page and the location extensions will update at the same time.


Hey, I need more info!

Whenever you need a refresher on the latest AdWords best practices, don’t hesitate to contact our pay-per-click team here at Strathcom Media. Or, if you want to find out more about location extensions, take a peek at Google’s Inside AdWords blog.

SMX Advanced SEO Overview & Highlights

Have you ever heard of SMX, the Search Marketing Expo that’s held each year on the West Coast? Well once again this year, Strathcom has sent me to visit, learn, and mingle with some of the superstars in the industry at this year’s event.

So welcome to my tech travelogue, where you’ll be able to live vicariously through my latest travels and learn all about what happens in the the wild world of SEO, and how that will come to affect your dealership’s ranking in the ever-so-important Google search results.

Part I: Overview & Highlights from SMX Advanced

Having attended SMX West last year in San Jose, California, I was more than ecstatic to be attending SMX Advanced in Seattle, Washington at the Bell Harbour Conference Centre this June. And since I learned so much and took plenty of inspiration from last year’s event, I could hardly wait to hit up the advanced sessions.

What I brought back is lots to share about many different SEO topics. Way too much, in fact, to stuff into one blog post. So instead, get ready to read the introduction to what will be the first of a handful of posts on SEO for dealerships over the next few months.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

Local SEO Advanced U Workshop

Typically you aren’t supposed to get your dessert first, but the first day of the conference was actually an extra special add on: the Local Advanced U workshop. This session was geared to help SEOs to boost their brick and mortar small businesses and help them to rank and market themselves locally online. For the car dealerships we specialize in seriving at Strathcom Media, this is what we are trying to achieve—to be the best in our local geographic area.

In the workshop we heard from SEO stars such as Rand Fishkin from Moz, Jade Wang from Google, and many other experts in local SEO.


In the evening I attended a rooftop meet and greet conference kick-off and ran into many different automotive SEOs across Canada and the United States. We all decided to go for dinner and had a great time talking about the automotive industry and technology over fresh fish at a restaurant called Local 360. All of their food and drink comes from within 360 miles of the restaurant.


Search Marketing Expo Advanced Day 1

On Day 2, the beginning of the actual conference, I attended sessions on

  • 2014’s Periodic Table of Ranking Factors. Search ranking factors that influence results were discussed.
  • Keyword research and using tools that can help us find the quickly vanishing keyword data due to Google’s “Not Provided” change.
  • Local, social, and mobile solutions were also discussed. Mobile was a huge topic at this years session. If you haven’t started a mobile strategy for your websites, then you are quickly falling behind.
  • Always one of the best sessions of the conference is the Q&A’s with Matt Cutts, the head of Google Web Spam. During the session, Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land threw out stuffed penguins, pandas, and hummingbirds, mascots of their most popular anti-spam algorithim updates. Check out the video below. Matt Cutts also did a demonstration on how their Google Now is becoming more conversational. Check out the 2nd video below.  At this Q&A, he announced that an update of the Pay Day Loans would launch the next day.

After all the sessions ended there were two awesome networking events: Janes of Digital, a celebration of women in search and digital, and then SMX After Dark, the ever-so-famous SMX night party hosted by Microsoft Bing. Both were hosted at the Seattle Aquarium while 800 fish watched us party it up. (During the Question and Answer period with Matt Cutts from Google, he mentioned he thought Bing was an adequately fine search engine. This was a running inside joke during the rest of the conference whenever anyone mentioned Bing). But for being a fine search engine, they sure know how to host a party. There were games of Go Fish, an Instagram picture printer (if you used the hashtag #SMXBING, a little printer would automatically print your picture), a very talented magician, glow sticks lighting up fruity cocktails, champagne, and a whole lot of prizes. What a fun night!

Search Marketing Expo Advanced 2

The next morning, tired SEOs and SEMs arose to attend even more fabulous and informative sessions.

  • Microsoft was part of a keynote address on their new predictive search called Cortana. Cortana is similar to Siri on an Apple iPhone, or Google Now on Android, but is for Windows phones.
  • Advanced Technical SEO issues were discussed: how to deal with complex databases, product inventory pages, canonicals, and more.  A lot that was discussed has already been implemented on Strathcom clients websites. Huzzah for us!
  • Not Provided no-keyword data was discussed again and how to better track SEO efforts. SEO isn’t just about keywords on a website. It’s about properly marketing your website online in creative ways. A huge part of SEO is analyzing the data that comes in through Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, as well as through other tools. How can we better analyze our data to understand what needs to be done next on a site, and how to better track conversions and ROI.
  • I quite enjoy all Keynote or Q&A sessions as they are interactive and you never know what will be discussed. There was an Ask the SEOs session where anyone could ask SEO questions to a team of SEOs who have been at it since the 90s! Yes, SEO, has been around that long, but back then it was being done only by a small percentage of people.

The conference then ended off with bowling, billiards, drinks and food at a local pub called The Garage.

Stay Tuned…

SMX has done it again; they have entertained me, educated me, and kept me on my toes in this quickly changing industry.

And now that our Seattle tech tavelogue is complete, stay tuned over the next few weeks for a series of posts on specific key takeways in local SEO, technical SEO, and tracking your SEO.

What is Bounce Rate? (And What It Isn't)

Have you ever gone to a party, and thought, “Nah, this is boring. Let’s bounce!”? Maybe the music was too loud, maybe they were out of beer—maybe you showed up to the wrong house! Anyway, the record will show that you arrived at the doorway, made a quick impression, and then promptly left before exploring any of the other rooms. The same principle is behind Bounce Rate, one of Google Analytics’ most misunderstood statistics. But as we’ll discover, there are plenty of factors that come into play when dissecting this statistic. We’ll explore a few of these in this post.

Bounce Rate Like a Bouncey Castle

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of viewers who arrive at your website, and leave without clicking through to any other pages. If ten people visit your webpage and nine of them click on at least one link, your Bounce Rate will be 10%, highlighting that mysterious stranger who didn’t click to explore another page for whatever reason.

**Think about this as you read: This blog post has its own Bounce Rate, and our Analytics team will be examining it later. Your actions will help determine this number. Do you feel like you will click through to other pages when you finish this post? Whether the answer is yes, or no, think about why that is. And is that necessarily a good or a bad thing for us? What do you think we hope to expect? Most importantly: How does this line of thinking apply to your website?**

What is a good Bounce Rate? Or a bad one?

To properly understand Bounce Rate, it is important to give up the idea of “good” or “bad.” Bounce Rate is a statistic. And, like any statistic, it should never be taken in isolation to make general conclusions. Perspective is key. For instance, if you’ve hired a firm to design and run your business’s website, and your site attracts only seven visitors, it doesn’t matter whether you have a high bounce rate, or even a low bounce rate—where are the visitors? Similarly, if you run the most lucrative car dealership in town, with one of the best reputations around, then your Bounce Rate shouldn’t rank among your primary concerns. Life is good! So just as you should be suspicious when your barber suggests you need a haircut, be a little wary when someone points to a Bounce Rate in a presentation and builds their case based on a number. confused 

Not all pages are created equal

Each page on your website fills a unique function. And, ultimately, these pages should work together in a way that best helps you sell cars. Your inventory pages should have low bounce rates, as customers should want to click on more links as they browse and compare vehicles. Your home page should also have a low bounce rate since it acts as the main hub to all other content pages. If your Bounce Rate is high here, then either you have an off-putting webpage (you should be able to tell), or you’re too good at attracting the wrong kinds of visitors (think car buyers from far away regions looking for local service). Meanwhile, some pages should have a higher bounce rate if you’re doing things right. Blog posts with regularly updated content and “Contact Us” pages are both natural one-and-done stops. Try to include some more engaging links to keep your visitors on the site if it makes sense to do so, but don’t be discouraged by a high Bounce Rate here. 

Reasons why you might have a high Bounce Rate

  • Your site isn’t engaging: This is what you should be worried about. If your content is too bland, if your navigation tabs aren’t anticipating your visitors’ interests, or if your Calls to Action are missing or simply not enticing enough, you’ll have a poor website. You’ll probably also have a high Bounce Rate.
  • False advertising: If you’re looking for a truck and you click on “Check Out These Great Pickups,” only to find this at the other end of the link, chances are you’ll exit right away and refine your search terms (before never looking at your neighbour in the same way again). Somewhere along the line your website isn’t meeting expectations; either your content doesn’t measure up, or the link to your site had a misleading description. Either way, your visitors will bounce.
  • Your landing pages are also your Exit Pages: People need to leave a website eventually, and some pages act as better terminals than others. Your Bounce Rate may be high if the sites your web visitors are landing on answer all of their questions, leaving them fully satisfied and ready to move on to their next task. (E.g. If someone is looking up your dealership hours, then chances are their web search will have them arrive at the very page they need, after which they can quickly move on to whatever else is grabbing their attention, like driving to your dealership.)


When Bounce Rate is helpful

Bounce Rate is a bit like reading body language. Sometimes you can come close to making accurate judgments on first sight alone, with a lone data point, but this method is unreliable. To get closer to the truth you need to observe changes over time compared to a base rate, or what is considered typical for that stat. Bounce Rate is your canary in the coal mine. When you make changes to the design of one of your webpages (say you embed a few more links in the text, or add a few more call to action buttons), if the Bounce Rate for that page drops, then it is likely that your strategy had some effect. Especially if your Bounce Rate for that page has historically been consistent.

How to lower your bounce rate and keep it that way!

It’s simple: Make a truly awful website where people are forced to navigate through a whole bunch of pages to hunt down an answer for their basic question. They will eventually give up in frustration and never revisit your website, which protects you from future threats to your Bounce Rate. Genius! Or not. You might just have to get used to the ambiguity of this statistic. Keep an eye on your Bounce Rate, but don’t worry too much about it. Focus, instead, on how your analytic measures work together. For more information on Google Analytics basics, or for a Free Audit on your Bounce Rate, contact us!