Mobile Advertising In Canada Going Into 2018

 

eMarketer.com recently published their report on Mobile Advertising in Canada and to no ones surprise, mobile is exploding. I wanted to condense and share some of the findings, but if you wanted to purchase the full report from eMarketer.com, you can find it here.

Before I get into the numbers, I wanted to give you an idea of what the end game for mobile is. Mobile has evolved to be a part of our lives; our phones are with us – for the most part – 100% of the time. Because of this, how much we use our phones to complete activities in our daily lives will only increase. It used to be just to make calls, then text as well, then email as well, then surf the internet on the early (crappy) mobile web browsers, then apps and so on. We even have the ability to track our health on our phone, and in a relatively short period, probably 10 years, when you go to the doctor’s office, you’ll just hand the doctor your phone, and it will have all your medical info and readings it has been taking since your last visit. Many companies are working on how the mobile phone will replace desktops, which – other than for work – have been declining in sales. Unless you need a desktop to run high powered programs like video/image editing or PC games, you’ll soon just have your phone and a couple monitors at home/work that you plug directly into.

 

Alright… onto the info:

Continue reading “Mobile Advertising In Canada Going Into 2018”

Are You CASL Compliant?

Important Update:

The Government has decided to suspend the implementation of the provision known as Private Right To Action.  This is the provision that would allow lawsuits to be filed against individuals and businesses for alleged violations.

Check out this government page for more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2017/06/government_of_canadasuspendslawsuitprovisioninanti-spamlegislati.html

The government will be reviewing this, but the rest of CASL is still moving forward July 1.

Continue reading “Are You CASL Compliant?”

Boosted Posts are Bullshit.

There is no mincing words here: boosted posts are bullshit.

It’s definitely an enticing idea, sure – you get that notification that gives you a little digital pat on the back that the Facebook post you made earlier is performing better than 75% of the posts on that Page, and you can boost it for $X and reach up to blank-thousand more people.

And that’s when you mark the notification as read, and step away from the computer. Don’t click on it, don’t pick a number of days to boost it for, and don’t plug your credit card in.

We can give you any number of answers as to why it’s a bad idea, but here’s the only one that matters:

Boosting that post is not going to be the difference between selling another car or booking another service appointment, and is therefore not going to affect your bottom line.

I repeat: Stop wasting your money on things that don’t affect your bottom line.

frustrated marketing agency
This is the face I make when I see a business has been boosting the same post for any extended period of time.

Boosting posts is intended to increase the number of people who see, like, comment on or share a post on your page. Its sole purpose is to increase engagement for small businesses (which car dealerships aren’t), and the reason to want to increase engagement is to build a community that will regularly want to interact with you and purchase from you on the same regular basis. Boosting posts isn’t Facebook advertising – it’s paying to stroke your own ego.

The average Canadian purchases a new vehicle every 2 years†. With car dealerships, maintaining a regular organic (as in, not paid) social media presence is a key part of long-term customer retention and building brand, but it is not a definitive call-to-action to make a customer decide to purchase a car from you today. And I promise you – the boosted picture of a smiling customer standing next to their new car at delivery (that they then shared with their friends, and you received the residual likes and other engagement metric bump up from) is also not that call-to-action.

If you missed out on the webinar we hosted with Facebook last month, Nimalan Bala, the Client Solutions Manager at Facebook’s Automotive Dealer Solutions, echoed the same sentiment.

“The vast majority of your marketing dollars should be spent on your business’ objectives for building lead ads and driving traffic to your website, because again – your website is a great property. You spend a ton of money building ads and building your website, and there is no other competition on your website. There is only you. And how are you using that data, how are you using the website? Focus more on that.”

Your dealership should have a clear set of marketing objectives, and your money should be spent strategically to help accomplish those objectives. If you’re looking at paid social media (which is a great option), Facebook offers a multitude of ad types that can generate leads directly for your dealership so that you can sell cars, target customers nearby to come into the store to take advantage of service or parts promotions at your dealership, or view your dealership’s inventory directly from the comfort of the app they’re spending the most time in. Our team can show you any number of options or ideas that might fit your budget (and with Facebook advertising, it doesn’t need to be a huge one). But if you want to advertise on Facebook, it makes the most sense to do it in a way that you can measure, manage, and monetize. “Likes do not pay the bills – sales do”. (Noah Kagan)

†http://canada.autonews.com/article/20170406/CANADA/170409873/survey-finds-62-of-canadians-in-mood-to-buy-a-new-vehicle

I Don’t Want To Give You My Email

I dislike getting my picture taken.

I’m not sure why, that’s just how I’ve always felt. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to renew my passport, because not only can I no longer pretend I still look like I did 5 years ago in the last picture, but I had to spend a morning waiting in line at a government building after getting my picture taken. Luckily you don’t need to smile for the camera for these.

When I went to the studio, I told them I needed a simple passport photo, got my best neutral face ready, and picked up the debit terminal to pay. The girl behind the counter handed me a form and told me to fill out my name and email address first.

What?

I said “Why do I have to fill that out; can’t I just give you money?” She said that’s not how they do things, all customers must fill it out, it’s store policy. I was not given a reason why, but in the fine print at the bottom of the form was the typical text along the lines of “by filling out this form, I consent to receive further electronic communication”. Why? Must we complicate every benign transaction? I don’t like the idea that the next time I pop into a gas station for a pack of gum, they’re going to insist that I give them my personal information first. If I give my email address to the photo studio, they’re going to send me emails about their latest promotions, emails around Christmas trying to convince me to bring the family down for a shoot, emails about anything and everything – they’re probably even going to share my email address with the department store in which the studio is located, and I’ll get who-knows-how-many emails from them, too.

I didn’t say all of that, however, I just wrote down a fake email address without consequence. The perfect crime, right? She didn’t know it was fake, I got my photo, I left, and I won’t be receiving emails begging me to come back. If I need them, I know where to find them, and even then: unlikely. Like I said, I don’t like getting my picture taken.Frustrated male on his laptop at a desk in his room

Customers, and prospects, value their privacy.

The way customers want to interact with businesses is always evolving. Not so long ago, the newest and greatest thing to a customer was the ability to fill out a form on the website to submit their inquiry and get an email reply. Businesses then realized they should keep these email addresses for future marketing efforts, from e-newsletters to populating remarketing lists. Somewhere along the way, it became too much, and customers got sick of the constant barrage of emails from businesses they interacted with for a small fraction of time (and many they’ve never even heard of because someone may or may not have sold an email list to someone else).

We still tend to idealize form leads in the automotive sector. Sure, it’s great when a salesperson can get a neatly wrapped parcel in their email inbox containing the customer’s information and the nature of their inquiry written down for future reference. However, the rate at which form leads are being submitted is on the decline. Email is certainly not going away as a primary means of communication, but customers are increasingly reluctant to give up their email addresses. Some of the more distrusting prospects are even resorting to temporary email services, whereby a web service will provide exactly what it sounds like: a temporary email address which can both send and receive emails, giving no personal information away. Anyone who has worked in a dealership on the receiving end of form leads can tell you that plenty come in with the email address field full of gibberish text, or something like “asdf@asdf.com”, where users are hoping that the email requirement to get a free CarProof or trade appraisal is just a bluff, and the information will just pop on screen rather than having to come later from a salesperson. The distrust and frustration is plainly evident in how customers submit form leads.

woman sending emails from laptopOn the other hand, phone call leads are on the rise, as are live chats. It’s easier than ever for a website visitor to launch either of those instantly, and information without unwittingly subscribing to future emails.  Fortunately, different types of conversions can be tracked, and we can distinguish which phone calls are coming in as a result of clicking on an ad, to help businesses understand exactly where their leads originate. Strathcom President Duncan Cochrane expanded on this in his blog post discussing the different categories of conversions, and why it is necessary to know what exactly is being considered a conversion.

Many dealers still compartmentalize their incoming phone calls as being independent of online advertising, when they are in fact directly attributable to the campaigns, ads, and keywords which prompted someone to inquire.

It is also worth noting that CASL regulations are changing as of July 1, 2017, and it’s going to be more difficult to build and communicate with your email list.

But the point here is that we cannot get too attached to form leads as an indicator of effective online advertising campaigns. Unless your business has conducted intensive research, nailing down where every sale originates, calculating which source is most profitable, and has made some conclusions which no one else has yet… all leads should be valued. (#AllLeadsMatter). Therefore, our word of caution: completely altering a marketing strategy to gain a few more form leads, at the expense of what could be a large quantity of other types of leads, would be chasing a false positive.

Sure, you might capture a few more emails. But how do your customers feel about that?

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!

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!