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!

Not Your Typical ‘Trust-Fall’ Kind of Company…

Some companies have corporate retreats where everyone falls into each other arms in order to build trust. At Strathcom, we believe there is no better way to strengthen trust within our team than to throw axes (at targets, of course!)

 

After work one day, we headed over to The Rec Room in Edmonton for axe throwing and dinner (a delicious gourmet poutine station) to get a little break from the daily grind and to do some team bonding.

gourmet poutine from the Rec Room in Edmonton

We definitely recommend giving axe throwing a try if you haven’t already, and know that if we can throw an axe and hit a target, we can definitely hit your advertising targets as well!

A Look Back at a Successful Year

2016 was a very successful year for Strathcom Media.

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

New Website Platform

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

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

New Opportunities with Google

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

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

New Partnerships

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

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

New Conferences

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

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

New Office

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

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

Play Games, Heal Kids: Strathcom Participates in Extra Life

Extra Life

On November 5th, we locked ourselves in the office to play video games non-stop for 25 hours (THANKS Daylight Savings).

Why?

To raise money for the Stollery of course!

This was our 5th year participating in Extra Life – an organization that consists of gamers doing what they do best to help sick and injured children at their chosen Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Players commit to play games for 24 hours, and they ask family and friends to support their efforts by donating or spreading the word!

So far, the Strathcom Team has raised $2,875 dollars (we are still tallying cash donations as well as funds raised from our bottle drive). If you would like to donate, you can follow the link below; any donation over $25 gets a tax receipt!

http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.teamParticipants&teamID=29617

What’s New in Waterloo? Google!

Google WaterlooWe were honored to be one of only 16 Google Partners invited to come and spend the day at Google’s latest and greatest office in Canada’s tech hub – Waterloo, Ontario.  This is one of the many perks that we get as a Premier Google Partner in Canada.  The day was packed with insightful speakers, great content, exclusive training, lots of food, and a tour.

If you were not aware, we are giving away 6 trips in September to this very same office where you will be treated to a similar experience – click here for details and to enter.  You will not be disappointed if you win!  

So what did we learn? A lot!  We are going to break this down into three additional posts.  One on Google’s brand new Expanded Text Ads, another on every business’s favorite source of frustration: Google My Business, and finally, one on What’s New with YouTube.  

A little about the newest Google office first.  It is in an incredible building that was built in 1918 and was actually a former rubber plant.  It houses approximately 500 Googlers with the capacity for about 500 more.  These engineers don’t work on Canadian specific projects either; they work on big ticket items like Gmail, Chrome and the Ads Infrastructure.  Like all Google offices that I have had the pleasure of visiting, it has wicked food at the main cafeteria, mini cafe’s on all floors, a cyborg moose (what’s more Canadian tech?) a gym with a climbing wall, nap pods and a whole lot more.

Google Waterloo - CafeteriaGoogle Waterloo - Cafeteria                    Google Waterloo - Cafeteria

What did we learn? For this post I am going to focus on two speakers, the individual posts will take care of the rest.  First up was Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas.  Ben spoke about how Google focuses on the ‘whole problem’ and works from that perspective.  If someone using Google can’t spell, it’s a Google problem.  If the internet is not fast enough, it’s Google’s problem.  This type of thinking has lead to great developments like Google Suggest (you know when Google suggests searches before you are done typing) and Google Chrome, a way faster and way better internet browser than what was available.  Further to looking at the whole problem, he spoke about 10X and moon shots – essentially the big, big wins that will transform your business, maybe even your industry.  Google considers these types or products over small iteration.  This is how we get self-driving cars, contact lenses to measure insulin levels for diabetics, and project Loon (balloon powered internet for the remote parts of the world).

Google WaterlooAfter Ben we heard from Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, or the big boss.  Sam provided us with an unbiased look at what Google is trying to accomplish in Canada – mainly diversify away from search advertising.  He spoke candidly about ad blocking and that one solution will be for Google and Premier Partners like us to build better ads.  One comment that he made was that in 10-15 years every business will be a software business.  He provided examples from big banks and agencies and how software is starting to be at the core of all we do.  Whether he is right or wrong, I am going to learn how to code.  The last concept he shared that really resonated with me was about Yahoo’s sale to Verizon for ~$4.8B.  Yahoo was valued at more than $100B at its peak in 2000.  What happened to the other $95B?  No one knows exactly, but it is this type of event that constantly reminds him (and perhaps it should all of us) that we need to be a little bit paranoid about the next start up.  It is this paranoia that needs to drive us to hit our 10X goals that Ben outlined, to stay in business and not lose 95% of our value.

Overall it was a great day and it is always an honor to be invited to such an exclusive event.  For more information on the day and all the training we received, check out our three other blogs on the event:   Expanded Text Ads, Google My Business, and  What’s New with YouTube.

Thanks,

Duncan Cochrane

No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!

 

Facebook Visits Strathcom!

facebook

Being a Facebook Partner definitely has its perks!

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The visit wasn’t just to bring us Facebook swag – even though we really appreciated it! We got to learn all about advertising on Facebook. We received some training on Facebook’s ad formats and learned some really interesting stats. For instance, did you know that Facebook drives the most traffic to Youtube? Or that there are over 3 million apps out there? We also learned that out of the millions of apps available, about 82% of time spent on apps is spent on about 5 of them. These apps include YouTube, ESPN, and Google, but  the most time is spent on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is very quickly moving away from being a social media platform, and moving towards being a media and advertising platform.

In some of our recent  blog posts, we have discussed some of the benefits of Facebook advertising. It is a cost-effective, and excellent advertising medium that is very underutilized, especially in the automotive industry.

facebook

We are very excited about our new partnership, and are looking forward to seeing what Facebook comes up with next. And, of course, to be able to share their innovations with with you.

For more information on Facebook advertising, please feel free to give us a call. We would love to help you out!
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Strathcom Media Paint Nite

As a reward for smashing our fourth quarter PPC targets, our friends at Google treated us to a team Paint Nite! It was a great opportunity for us to celebrate as a team while allowing us to meet our needs to get creative and get messy.

Google sent us everything we needed to create our masterpieces including canvases, aprons, brushes, and paints; the only thing they didn’t send was artistic ability because, as you can see, we already had plenty of it!

File_004                    File_003 (1)

The contest was called Escape the Winter, and the challenge was to sign 5 new accounts and have them spend at least $30,000 between November and December, 2015 – and we did it! Nice work, team!

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Strathcom Gives Back – Bissell Centre Visit

When asked “What does Christmas mean to you?” many people will likely answer “family gatherings, gifts, good food, and more good food, etc.” Unfortunately, for many people, their reality is very different during the holidays.

Many families simply cannot afford to do these things we take for granted. As an employee at Strathcom Media, I was invited to join my colleagues as a volunteer at the Bissell Centre for one of their special Christmas projects, which gave us the opportunity to gift-wrap and distribute donated gifts to parents who cannot afford to buy gifts for their children this year.

Strathcom Team members wrapping gifts
Strathcom Team members wrapping gifts
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The Bissell Centre provides toys & goods for less fortunate families in the Edmonton area

Our various commitments often make it difficult to find the time to give back to our community, so I was very thankful to be given the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful experience at the Bissell Centre.

The experience was very rewarding and it is my hope that the donated gifts, our time and our interactions with Bissell Centre clients will have a real and valuable positive impact on the families benefiting from this initiative. Witnessing the gratitude of the parents, I think I can speak for the whole team of volunteers at Strathcom and say we appreciate the opportunity to get involved with your organization and be reminded of the true meaning of the season.

 

Christmas Elves Alecia & Justin hard at work
Christmas Elves Alecia & Justin hard at work
Strathcom Team members from left: Angelina Cho, Brian Livingstone, Erin Takhar,  Justin Nolette, Sarah Brodie, Rafael Valdez, Alecia Langlois, Cole Smith, Sinead Errity, Carrie Oliva & Ayla Gagnon
Strathcom Team members from left: Angelina Cho, Brian Livingstone, Erin Takhar, Justin Nolette, Sarah Brodie, Rafael Valdez, Alecia Langlois, Cole Smith, Sinead Errity, Carrie Oliva & Ayla Gagnon

Thank you to the Bissell Centre for having us!