The hard truth: winter is coming. And with winter, comes white walkers snow and ice that require consumers to switch from their summer to winter tires. Car parts and services search queries happen year round, but many queries see huge seasonal peaks that your dealership should be capitalizing on. With the looming seasonal change upon us, is your dealership ready to face the long night?
Google’s annual livestream event was held on Tuesday, May 24th and, as always, we find ourselves in store for some great new features within the AdWords product. Advertisers can look forward to even more mobile-centric features like device bid modifiers, new ad formats and enriched location ads in Google Maps.
One of the most exciting announcements in this week’s livestream, Google has brought to light a complete redesign of the standard text ad on the Google Search network. With the new Expanded Text Ads, advertisers will get 50% more space for text with description lines expanding to 80 characters and the introduction of an additional 30-character headline. That’s right, we’re going to have two headlines to showcase products. With initial performance reports stating an increase of up to 20% in click through rate, this new ad format is sure to change the Search network as we know it.
Google didn’t just stop with at the text ads when they were redesigning things. Image ads on the Google Display Network can also expect to have a face lift. With efficiency and mobile phones in mind, we will now be able to create responsive image ads. With a headline, short description, image and landing page, Google will create the perfect image ad based on the website your ad is show on. This will allow for a more seamless production of creative while ensuring that users are shown the most appealing creative.
While on the topic of redesigns, it was also mentioned that advertisers can expect to see a completely redesigned AdWords interface over the next year. With an updated look and better showcase of important metrics, we can look forward to an interface that will stage data in an easy-to-digest format allowing us to save time when optimizing accounts.
Next up, the introduction of device bid modifiers. “But wait!” you say, “I thought we already had device bid modifiers?” We do, kind of… Currently, we have the ability to set bid modifiers to increase or decrease bids on mobile devices only. We can tell AdWords that we’re willing to spend up to 300% more for a mobile click, or alternately, bid down the device up to 100% if we want to stay away from cell phone users. This feature will now be expanded to include the ability to adjust bid modifiers not only on mobile devices, but also on tablets and desktops with a total of 900% increase of bids. This will give us more control over each device, ensuring we only spend money where performance is strong.
According to Google’s stats, 30% of mobile searches are linked to a location which is growing 50% faster than general searches on a mobile device. That’s a lot of eyeballs looking for your business and Google is helping advertisers capitalize on this through the launch of new local search ads. With new, enriched business location pages, companies can stand out from the crowd with a branded pin, promotions of in-store offers and even the ability of browsing product inventory; all from the business page. Three quarters of searches looking for a local business lead to same-day in-store visits, these enhancements are geared towards helping drive that foot traffic even more.
Last, but definitely not least: remarketing! Everyone knows the importance of remarketing and the incredible performance it can bring. Google announced they were bringing similar audiences to the remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) product. This is big news as advertisers have been drooling over this feature in the display network for ages. The ability to target highly qualified users based on mirrored behaviors matching your past website visitors opens your reach to a once untapped potential customer pool.
Google has become a dominate force in the online world for a reason; their ever-evolving product line always ensures both advertiser and user are presented with the highest level of quality and service in the market and this livestream provided us with a small look at what’s in store for us in 2016 and onward.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
Big changes are coming from the forces over at Google. As of February 19th, 2016, Google has removed the ability to serve ads on the right hand side of the desktop’s search results page. This means ads must place on the top three positions, or fall to the bottom of the page, to be seen on a consumer’s search result page.
Bounce Recovery – Convert More Users before They Leave Your Site
It’s a well-known fact that most users coming to your website don’t convert. Whether it’s because they are just starting to consider upgrading their current vehicle or simply researching what the latest tech features are, they are not always likely to fill out a ‘book a test drive’ form.
So if you’re spending all this money to make a kickass website with unique content, real photos of your inventory, how-to or introductory videos the latest and greatest auto features, what are you doing to convert all of those users before they leave your site?
Enter Bounce Recovery! Our Bounce Recovery technology will learn what your users are doing on your site and detects “exit intent”. We don’t target these customers with gimmicky offers and creative. We target them with relevant manufacturer incentives and price updates on new and used vehicles. We create offers that are designed to look and feel like your website, and at the end of the day, generate a lead that you may have otherwise not received.
How does this tool work? Every month we will take care of updating the manufacturer incentive and on top of that, we will also take care of updating your customers via email when the incentive changes each month.
This is a simple solution that requires no additional effort on your part. It can integrate with your CRM, is CASL compliant, can be used to create different messages for different pages, and it can be used for New, Used and Fixed Ops. It will grow your database and give you another opportunity to reach out to prospective clients who may not realize that there’s a new incentive that comes out every month.
Here is an example of what your potential customers could see in their inbox at the beginning of each month with the new incentive:
If you’re ready to start converting some of those users who are leaving your site, then give us a call so we can start helping you to build up your client list and generate more leads!
Advertisers love the ability to follow around potential customers with remarketing ads because it’s a great reminder to customers of their ever growing list of wants, as the advertiser patiently waits until your will power is at its lowest and for you to finally return and make your next purchase. You may even be running these images ads for your own dealership.
Now, what if I told you that you could have this same stalking ability but get your business in front of audience that is actively shopping for your products a second time? No more passive approach to remarketing, patiently waiting until a user is ready to continue down the purchase path. You can skip the waiting and now entice previous website visitors when they’re actively on the hunt again. How can this be? Well…
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.
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.
Quality Score is one of the key attributes in ensuring the success of your AdWords account. At the end of the day Quality Score does two things for you:
- Enables your keywords to be eligible and tells Google your ads can be shown
- Lowers your cost of advertising
Quality score can range from 1 through 10, 10 being the highest quality score can be and guarantees eligibility for your ad to be shown. Google wants to make sure that ads are relevant to the user, and a score of 10 proves this.
Part 1: Strategy Is Key
Did you know that 1/3 of time spent online is watching online video?
Did you also know that YouTube reaches 86% of this online video audience?
And to think, the digital video space continues to grow as we speak.
Such insights were shared during the YouTube Guru Workshop, where agencies across Canada joined together to learn, collaborate and share all things YouTube from YouTube experts themselves. They highlighted the immense growth occurring within the digital landscape, and the increasing importance for advertisers to create their brand presence online, more specifically with online video.
Traditional advertising vs. online advertising—two well-established formats fighting to promote your business.
In one ear you hear whispers from the old-school ad executive: “Radio, TV, and print are trusted, established, and proven ways to spend your advertising dollars.”
From a meteorological point of view, there are signs that summer is just around the corner. From a car dealerological point of view, it means greater foot traffic and more vehicles rolling off the lot.
But what’s going to help keep your store top of mind over the competitors down the street? Your blog:
- 61% of consumers have made a purchase because of blog post
- Companies that blog get 97% more inbound links
- Small businesses with blogs receive 126% more leads
To save you the trouble of brainstorming blog subjects in time for summer, we took the time to stockpile some of the most interesting and shareable topics you can write about. Feel free to steal a few ideas and start your summer blogging series on the right foot!
With Canadians picking up tablets and mobile phones in droves to do everything from find a restaurant to buy a car, the online landscape has seen major changes. Google has been there every step of the way to guide this great migration from desktop to hand-held.
Now they’ve once again updated their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to make it easier for users to find the best mobile experiences possible. Their most recent innovation? The “Mobile-friendly” label.
Now available on a search engine near you!
“Mobile-friendly” labels make it as plain as possible for users to identify within search results which sites have been responsively designed for ease of use on mobile devices. When faced with a results page, you should now be able to recognize at a glance which websites will make for a more fluid and frustration-free experience.
Here’s a glimpse of what mobile users will see.
Google determines if a website is mobile-friendly through a number of parameters, the three most important being…
1. Whether a user needs to zoom in to see content
Having lots of content is most often a good thing for your organic rankings. Just make sure that it shows up legibly on the small screen, including your image files. Even with today’s newest generation of big battery, tablet-esque smart phones, people can only squint for so long before they’ll move on in frustration. Find the happy medium between condensed and readable.
2. Whether links and objects are placed far enough apart that a user won’t mistakenly click the wrong thing
You shouldn’t need to combine maximum zooming in and the finest point of your fingertip to ensure you access the right link or entry field. Make sure that page design is thoughtfully executed, or prepare to be overlooked by Google.
3. Whether the site uses common software normally found on mobile devices
A dazzling image or a video with a high production valuable are meaningless to your mobile customers if your content relies on software that is unsupported or incompatible with their smart phones or tablets. Unplayable content can arise from many different reasons: unsupported Flash players, license constraints, out-of-date program files. Be sure to test each of your pages and media files on multiple mobile devices before launching any new pages.
Why does this matter for your dealership?
Unless you want to annoy or alienate a good part of your customer base, you should already have a responsive website. Make your first impressions count. “Mobile-Friendly” is your chance to do just that.
Imagine this: Someone searches on their tablet for “GMC Sierra in Edmonton,” or “Toronto Toyota Corolla.” Two nearby dealerships appear prominently in the SERPs. One has the “Mobile-Friendly” tag tucked under its site link, but the other doesn’t. Who do you think will get the first shot at that new lead?
It’s promotion for your dealership that isn’t self-promotion!
Find out in seconds whether your website passes the test
You can test your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you currently have a website with Strathcom Media, you are already covered and will see the “Mobile-friendly” label appear in the search results. If not, give the professionals at Strathcom a call at 1 (888) 914-1444, or email us at email@example.com.
On October 7th, Google started rolling out a new way for marketers to custom-target potential customers through the Google Display Network—an immense group of websites, blogs, news sources, and Google services like Gmail and YouTube that feature Google ads.
Strathcom Media recently attended the Bing Ads Connect breakfast event in Vancouver, hosted by Maor Daniel of Microsoft. After sharing in brunch and a little networking with other local online marketing firms, we sat down and took a handful of presentations on something quite foreign to the majority of digital advertisers: Bing.
Often, there are bonus advertising opportunities available through AdWords—opportunites exclusive to e-commerce websites. Continue reading “Dynamic Remarketing: Taking Mind Reading to a Whole New Level”
It’s no secret that everyone loves to watch their share of online videos. In fact, YouTube has become the second largest search engine, beat out only by its big brother, Google. From how-to demonstrations to cat videos, even to feature-length movies, YouTube clips are watched, shared, and commented on regularly.
The end result: YouTube has become the new network television, just without the TV trays and battles for the remote.
With such popularity, it’s only natural to want to monopolize these millions of eyeballs. Through AdWords for Video (a.k.a. YouTube advertising), many marketers are starting to do just that. Creating a campaign through your regular AdWords interface allows you now to showcase your brand and serve your potential customers with bright and entertaining videos.
How does AdWords for Video work, exactly?
Get your green screen ready. It’s as simple as filming a video or stringing together some great photos in Google’s Ad Gallery. Next, you choose your ad format, targeted audience, and budget, et voilà!—you’re now reaching the vast audience on YouTube.
Creating your first video
While it’s recommended that you keep your videos short and sweet to account for the short attention span of users, there is no hard limit on video length. Regardless of length, it’s vital to create a video that has your brand and message within the first few seconds of play. This way, your message is heard and absorbed before the user has the option of skipping your ad and continuing onto their chosen video. Need some help brainstorming the perfect video idea? Give us a shout! We have some great stories to share.
Choosing the right ad format
There are a total of 4 different ad formats available through YouTube advertising:
InStream and InDisplay ads (a.k.a. TrueView) video formats are by and large the most popular and effective formats. TrueView ads show up just before a video and the viewer has 5 seconds to decide whether the ad served is worth their time before the “Skip Ad” button appears. Ads also show as static image ads in the right-hand margins of a page, as seen in the photos below. As an advertiser, you pay only for the view if the user decides to watch more than 30 seconds of your ad or if they click the ad. If your ad is not over 30 seconds, then you pay for the view once your video has concluded.
You also have the option of opting into the Google Display Network, which allows you to expand your reach outside of YouTube.
Target only those who matter
Once you have your video created and have chosen the ad format to present it with, it’s time to determine who you want to see your ad.
Much like its Search and Display counterparts, YouTube advertising can set targeting based on specific keywords, user interest or intent, and demographic information, such as gender and age. You also have the ability to target specific videos and channels (what’s the new song or funny clip people are discussing at your dealership this week? Or the most popular automotive video channel?). And you can also set up remarketing lists built out for both the regular AdWords interactions and YouTube interactions, such as video views and “likes.”
With cost-per-views averaging around $0.10, YouTube advertising is a great way to get your potential clients to interact with your brand. You also have the option of bidding by the click or impression, just like how we do it through traditional AdWords.
Get your cameras rolling!
Through YouTube advertising, you have all the control you’ve learned to love with traditional AdWords, joined with the additional pizazz of a rich media video. Now that you have your Search and Display campaigns running like a well-oiled machine, it’s time to get inside and explore the next largest audience network on the internet: YouTube.
Strathcom is pleased to have hosted our Google Partners Event, where we welcomed automotive dealers from across Ontario to the Google Canada Offices in Toronto. We started the day by pairing a delicious hot breakfast with a little networking, settling ourselves in for two presentations on Automotive Digital Marketing.
Kim Rellinger from Google Autos reminds attendees how their online demographic is evolving.
First up, Kim Rellinger from the Google Autos team. She began the talks with her presentation, “Finding Your Customers Online,” and discussed new data trends and insights from the Canadian digital automotive space. Kim provided some interesting new statistics and surprising updates to how Canadians are interacting with advertisers during the buying process. During the very engaging Q&A portion of Kim’s presentation, prizes were handed out including a stainless steel, Google-branded French press coffee maker. Most attendees returned to their offices sharing swag including Strathcom water bottles, USBs, & Google notebooks and pens.
It’s all in the game: Strathcom’s Duncan Cochrane shares the promising idea of scalable pre-roll YouTube videos for dealers.
Next up, Strathcom’s President, Duncan Cochrane, presented “Expanding on the Fundamentals.” For his talk, he discussed how to leverage online basics to make the most of your advertising spend, as well as key new trends car dealers can take advantage of in the digital landscape to rustle up more leads. Strathcom also unveiled our scalable YouTube pre-roll packages, allowing even the smallest of dealerships to compete in the video advertising game.
The lucky dealers were then extended with an exclusive offer for attending. To wrap up the day, Strathcom & Google team members were available for any further one-on-one questions.
We had a great time and want to thank everyone who came out to join us!
Please stay tuned as we will be hosting future events in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg, with more cities being announced this fall. Want a part of it? Contact us to learn more.
Google continues to roll out its ever-growing portfolio of services, introducing a unique advertising opportunity for marketers in the automotive industry. And they’re doing it through one of the country’s most used email services: Gmail.
The result is Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP). Now you can catch your customers at the breakfast table or on the bus each morning as they scroll through their messages, serving them up engaging, full-page ads and ensuring your business is kept top of mind throughout every step of the car-buying process.
There’s a lot of potential in this new concept. So let’s explore it some more…
A Little Primer on Gmail Sponsored Promotions
First off, how does it work? You start with just a small taste to intrigue the appetite. Advertisers get 125 characters to grab the attention of their targeted audience through GSP’s “teaser ad.” The teaser sits on top of the user’s inbox, includes a thumbnail image, a title, and a short description, and is the gatekeeper to a much more interesting and interactive advertisement: the full page “expanded ad.”
What a teaser ad looks like to your customers
And now the main course, where you convert! The expanded ad is your chance to provide a persuasive and memorable user experience through your expert use of images, videos, and links to your website. This can be as simple as a standard image ad that can be found across the Google Display Network. Or, with a bit of coding and graphics knowledge, you can build something eye-catching that functions as a mini landing page, providing engaging information and a contact form.
(Don’t have coding or graphics knowledge? You know who to call!)
Just one example of the expanded ad
What are even more impressive than the endless options in such a large, rich media ad are the ways in which you can target these ads across Gmail users. Gmail Sponsored Promotions uses the same targeting options as Google Display, singling out desired users based on filtered searches for interests, locations, and income-levels.
But it also has two additional targeting options that prove Google is the ultimate creep:
It’s not poaching customers; it’s showing them better choices. Want to serve your ad to people who’ve already been in talks with other dealerships about getting information on pricing, or setting up a test drive? Keyword Targeting will let you do that; up to 500 unique keywords can be targeted and GSP will comb through the user’s 300 most recent emails to determine if they have had any correspondence related to your keyword or keywords of choice.
Determined to win customers over from a specific competitor? Through domain targeting, you can target specific websites found within the user’s inbox. This is great if you’re interested in getting the attention of users who may be receiving newsletters as part of a specific mailing list, or who might have a relevant website found somewhere in an email signature; just add the domain you’re interested in et voila! You’re now introduced to new potential customers.
Google continues to make it as easy as ever to reach potential customers with your message of choice. Contact Strathcom today to take advantage of Google’s Gmail Sponsored Promotions!
As marketers, we spend countless hours pouring over statistics in AdWords, Google Analytics, and pretty much anywhere we can get our fix of numbers to analyze and interpret. Yes, it’s true that click-through rate, impression share, bounce rate, and average time on site are all important, but we must never lose sight of the goal.
Create ad copy that attracts attention and sends an alluring message.
That’s all the user sees—nothing else!
We are also working with a very limited amount of space: 25 characters for the title and 35 characters for each description line. This limits our options. It forces us to work smarter, and with less.
Some ad writing tips are common sense, like having correct spelling, grammar, and a coherent sentence structure. We’ll assume you already have a handle over those. But here I’m going to show you 7 more pointers that apply specifically to your search page ads.
Let’s get started! Here’s what leads to a compelling and effective ad:
1. Use a highly searched keyword in your headline
This could be the primary make of the vehicle, or perhaps the dealership name. Getting creative with your 24-karat keyword can make your ad title look less generic and will also help improve its performance.
2. Use at least one top keyword in the body of your ad
This helps make the ad relevant to the landing page you’re using. It also improves the quality score, which leads to a higher ad rank and a lower cost per click (CPC). Your ad will now rate much higher in comparison to those with marginal quality scores coming from other advertisers.
3. Use a punctuation mark at the end of Line 1
This is such a simple and effective tip to implement that it’s inexcusable these days not to be doing it for each and every ad. Why do you need that period, question mark, or exclamation point? Because by doing so, AdWords recognizes your line as a complete thought, so when you land the prime ad space, it will include this first description line immediately underneath your URL, like the “Get More Leads” line in the example below. If your first description line doesn’t end with a punctuation mark, Google sees this as an ongoing sentence, and omits it entirely when it trails off inelegantly.
4. Use a strong call to action
What do you want your web visitor to do? Where can they go from here? Your call to action should describe a specific activity the user can perform if they follow the steps listed and click on your ad. It can range from something as basic as “Book A Test Drive” or “Ask Us For More Information.” It can also invite the user to partake in a current special, such as “Sign Up Now For A $50 Coupon.”
5. Use a descriptive display URL
The beauty of display URLs is that while the domain URL needs to be the same as the actual domain of the landing page, with display URLs after the forward slash, you decide what you want displayed. Take this chance to use a top or relevant keyword, such as a specific vehicle model.
6. Use uppercase in your ad whenever possible
No, we don’t mean abusing your Caps Lock button. Think of it more like title capitalization, but for your body content. Although Typing Every Word In Upper Case Letters is normally not a good writing practice, it is for Google AdWords. It allows your ad to stand out and the words themselves to grab the user’s attention.
7. Make use of ad extensions
Sitelinks, location extensions, and phone extensions are all extremely useful tools in increasing the ad’s space on the search results page. You can separate yourself from the competition by gaining as much real estate space as possible, and it is well worth the extra few minutes it takes to create the ad extensions.
Take away: The quality score of the keyword in that particular AdGroup is dependent on the effectiveness of the words used in the ad.
This is what we want to see every time:
The final element—landing page experience—is not directly related to how compelling the ad is, but it does stress the importance of choosing the right landing page. Make sure the landing page delivers what the ad promises. When everything is in sync, an effective ad will improve the keyword’s quality score, the ad’s CTR, keyword CTR, and the amount of leads!
More tips in our online eBook library
Now that you’ve gotten a handful of helpful tips to add a few more 10-scores to your ad campaigns, why let the momentum stop there! We’ve written a paid search primer that will help remind you of the important basics for your next online ad campaign. Download your free PPC eBook here.
And remember, for all your AdWords and PPC questions, our Support and PPC teams are here Monday through Friday to offer you solutions!
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.
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.