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.

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Facebook Best Professional Service – What It Means To You

Facebook, being the largest social media network (with about 1.5 Billion active users) has always tried to close the gap between their users and other sites. The more they can roll into facebook the more time their users will spend on facebook. This is why it was no surprise when facebook took a giant leap in the reviews world by launching their new Best Professional Service site.

Facebook's new Best Professional Service is the latest tool at your disposal

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Changing The PPC Game with Google Customer Match

In the world of Google and PPC, there are currently only 4 ways you can target potential customers. These include:

  • Keyword searches
  • Past site Visitors
  • In-Market Audiences and;
  • Affinity Audiences

Recently, Google – in their infinite wisdom – decided to throw another targeting method into the mix and it is sure to float the proverbial boat of car dealers across the world.

Modern advertising involves targeting the individual.

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Turn Pictures into Cash with Instagram Ads

Since 2013, many big brand companies have been taking advantage of Instagram’s 400+ million member community by sharing high quality, image-rich content while driving results that matter. Thanks to the great success of these campaigns, Instagram has opened up their advertising product to all advertisers, internationally. No brand, budget or idea is too small to take advantage of this next wave of social media advertising.

Turn Instagram ads into happy customers and increased revenue!

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Our Top 8 Takeways from DSES 2015

From October 18 – 20, we were lucky enough to be a part of the Driving Sales Executive Summit in Las Vegas. The weather was way better than Edmonton’s, the venue was pretty spectacular, and the parties, well we won’t get into that this time around. But, we will get into the top 8 takeaways from the conference!

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Strathcom at Dreamforce 2015!

What do you get when you take 160,000 people and stuff them into San Francisco for a week? One of the largest software and technology conferences in the world: Dreamforce!Strathcom was proud to attend Dreamforce '15

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4 Strategies to Steal Share from Your Competitors

It’s no secret that showroom traffic is declining year over year, and buying a bigger inflatable gorilla is no longer the go-to strategy to woo buyers to your doors. Just being online, taking your marketing efforts “to the next level,” or running an AdWords campaign isn’t enough anymore. The battleground is digital, and it’s time to bring down your competition through intelligent targeting.

Outsmart & Outrank

We recommend trying an innovative outrank strategy. Did you know that you can outbid your store’s competitors on market share by targeting either their brand name or specific keywords? Using Google’s Auction Insights, you can laser-target a specific competitor in town and set your bids to outrank them, every time. Want to be a little more devilish? Exclude your competitor’s IP addresses so that they can’t see your ads, making it more difficult for them to copy your strategy or drive up your auction costs.

Win the Mobile Ad Game

Did you know that roughly 50% of paid traffic clicks come from tablets and other mobile devices? There are generally only two positions up for grabs at the top of the search engine results page for mobile searches. The savviest dealers know that structuring their accounts for mobile search is the best way to capitalize on this. Key strategies include: mobile-specific ads, increasing bids by set percentages to achieve top position, and optimizing for mobile “click to call.” Smartphone searches show a higher than average conversion rate, so winning these customers in the search auction has huge implications for lead generation.

Poach Their Newsletter List

Want to serve your ads to people who already have been in talks with other dealerships about getting pricing info or setting up a test drive? Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) will let you do this. How does it work? Advertisers get 125 characters to grab the attention of their targeted audience through GSP’s “teaser ad.” The teaser sits on of the user’s email 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. The best part? Keyword targeting! 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 the keyword (or keywords) of your choice (like a specific model of which you have overstock, or your competition’s dealership name).

What if you’re determined to win over customers from a specific competitor? Through domain targeting, you can target specific websites from 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 with their email signature; just add the domain that you’re interested in et voilà—you’re now introduced to more potential customers.

Target Their Website Visitors

By now you have probably tried some form of retargeting to reel back in visitors who have left your site. But did you know you can target visitors who have left your competitor’s sites? You can set up a custom infinity audience, composed of people who have visited your competitor’s websites in the past.

targetFor example, as a Dodge dealer, you could list 10 competing Ford stores, target people who have visited those stores, and show them a targeted display ad for your dealership offering to beat any other dealer’s offer by $1,000, a simple way to conquer some of that business. This has great implications for dealers in the competitive Used Vehicle segment as well, as this a far more cost-efficient option than straight up competing in the search auction for used vehicle terms or buying pricey spots on Trader or Kijiji. The users who are won over by a campaign like this are usually further down the sales tunnel as well, so their conversion rate is higher than what you’d be used to seeing through traditional display advertising campaigns.

As the industry continues to evolve, consumers expect transparency in advertising and pricing—you aren’t competing on who has the lowest price anymore. Online advertising goes far beyond standard search and display campaigns, and the most progressive dealers will be making laser-targeting a top priority to gain market traction. Talk to your provider about embracing these techniques now to get more leads today. There are many more ways to pick off valuable leads from the store down the road; we suggest starting with one or two strategies and mastering them before moving on to the rest.

5 Ways Digital Ads Trump Traditional

Digital Marketing written on a chalkboard

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.”

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YouTube Advertising: More Than Just Funny Videos

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:

  • InSearch
  • InDisplay
  • InStream
  • InSlate

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.

Happy filming!

Strathcom Hosts Google Partners Digital Breakfast

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.

Strathcom Media’s Tony, Liza, & Trish taking in the Google Breakfast in matching SMI t-shirts.

Using Everyone's Favourite Website to Get Your Dealership Noticed and Sell Cars!

Ever wonder how to reach both new and existing customers through one website? A few years ago this might not have been possible. However, today, advertisers can reach their customer base all in one place—Facebook.

People spend more time on Facebook consuming content than on any other website. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media networking site has built the largest, most highly-engaged audience on earth.

For advertisers in competitive industries, it is mandatory to reach your customers in the way in which they wish to be communicated with.

This is especially true for the automotive industry. Typically it has been one of the most competitive and difficult industries in which to reach consumers.

And this is exactly where Facebook shines: Facebook advertising is a very cost effective way to reach a qualified audience of car buyers. Car dealers can reap all of their advertising benefits, like driving in-store sales, increasing traffic to their website, and building brand awareness. And you can do it all for less than it costs to market your dealership through other websites!

Capture In-Market Shoppers through Facebook

So you know your customers are on Facebook, but what is the most effective way to reach them? Through Facebook’s “Custom Audience” tool, you can retarget previous customers with Facebook ads, exposing them to your marketing materials long after they have last visited your site. The Custom Audience tool lets you upload a list of customer names and email addresses and Facebook will locate those users to target. These lists can be pulled directly from your DMS system.

Targeting and Retargeting on Facebook

The beauty of advertising on Facebook is that users naturally flock there to consume content. So as long as your ad is of interest to them, consumers will pay close attention to your brand and message.

Retargeting existing customers on Facebook is a great way to ensure that your ads stand out, as these customers are already familiar with your brand. Additionally, for any new customers you are trying to reach, you can target users based on the information in their profiles, like interests and demographics, as well as contextually, by the content they provide in their statuses and comments. Newsfeed ads are designed to blend into the user’s natural, social experience on Facebook, so ads do not appear like normal ads, quickly disregarded in the top or side margins.

Facebook dealership ads

Keep this in mind: Most online advertising reaches only 38% of its intended audience, while Facebook’s average intended reach is 89%. Facebook Advertising is the key to gaining reach and frequency in a digital ecosystem of thousands and thousands of car ads, and Strathcom is here to help your dealership stand out!

If you want to power up your next marketing engine with Facebook ads, contact our Pay-per-Click team at Strathcom Media right away. It’s the difference between having an ad, and having your ad seen.

Stay Classy Dodge: Chrysler Delivers with New Anchorman Campaign

How do you get Millennials interested in a domestically-produced brand? How do you engage a younger consumer-base to buy something they perceive as “their Dad’s” SUV? You take one of the most-beloved pop-culture characters of their generation and you have him wax philosophical about glove boxes and gripe about ballroom dancers. It seems Chrysler is finding success with just that formula.

Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell’s fictional character from the Anchorman franchise) is the new spokesman for the Dodge Durango. A series of hilarious ads has been released featuring the bumbling Burgundy showing off a “beast of a machine” and highlighting the features of Dodge’s newest SUV.

In a brilliant move, Chrysler had Ferrell write and produce the ads in exchange for promoting the upcoming Anchorman 2 movie. Ferrell has 70 ads set to launch between now and the film’s December release date.

Ron Burgundy wants you to Drive a Dodge Durango

Chrysler really nailed it with this campaign, having already hit 3.5 million views in a matter of days. Are the videos informative? Not terribly. Are they full of typical “car effects” (whirring motors, panoramic shots, and closed course stunt driving)? Nope. It’s just typical Burgundy banter, but it is hilarious for those that have fallen in love with this character.

How do you do something similar for your dealership? Chrysler obviously has a significant budget, but it is possible for dealers to emulate this type of success on a smaller scale:

  • Write blogs relevant to the market you want to attract: why smartphone users love the Cadillac ATS, 5 Things The Big Bang Theory taught me about buying a car—you get the picture. Find a relevant topic and make it about your product.

  • Think outside the marketing box: Not everything is starbursts, free BBQs and balloons. Differentiate yourself from the competition with new, unique ways of targeting your buyers. Offer free breakfast at the diner across the street for your service customers. Distribute USBs with student-only sales offers at the local University. BE DIFFERENT.
  • Entertain Them: Everybody wants to laugh; find a way to deliver your brand message in a funny way. Whether in videos, blogs or even in social media, if you can make them smile that’s half the battle.

Check out our favourite Burgundy videos:

Faith Based Marketing – Why?

My favorite part of the automotive industry has to be marketing.  After spending 2 years running the marketing department for a large auto group, it still amazes me the amount of time and money spent on Faith Based Marketing activities.

What is Faith Based Marketing you say?  Generally, traditional media is what I consider faith based marketing.  Take a look at this chart:

In 2010, Online Advertising surpassed print advertising for the first time in history.  Print had a pretty good run.  340 years or so since the first newspaper ad ran.  Anwyays, back to my point.  Dealers spend alot of money in newspaper.  Even today, as print readership declines, here in Edmonton, if you open the Edmonton Sun, I would say fully 40% of THE ENTIRE PAPER is car dealer advertising.  It is insane.  The only real way to track print is to have trackable phone numbers (which are a must, not just in print), or specific website addresses to distinguish what print medium your customer came from (if you advertise in multiple papers).  So, 40% of 130 pages is roughly 52 pages of vehicle ads, all with the lowest price possible, amounting to $65,000 EVERY DAY spend on a shrinking set of people reading a newspaper.  And that is just Edmonton.  That is a ton of bottom line dollars going towards hoping that the phone rings.

Or, for other markets, maybe TV is your drug of choice.  The metric used to buy TV advertising is the BBM score.  A small handful of people have a box in their home that records what is being watched and by who (if they remember to punch it in).  Millions of dollars spent showing your Market Priced inventory, and all you get is a small measurement of these people with the boxes multiplied over the entire population.  Sounds like a fishy way to measure that kind of cash.

Take almost any form of auto dealer advertising and think about it in those terms.  Maybe the Giant Gorilla isn’t so bad 😉


There is one form of advertising, that you can measure almost 100% of every view, action, and conversion, even right through to sale.  Online Advertising!  With a well managed Pay Per Click or Display campaign you know exactly what buyers are looking for by analyzing their keywords, you know similar terms by looking at their matched queries (A Matched Query is when your Ad appears on a search term you haven’t explicitly defined), and you can track EVERY INTERACTION THEY HAVE WITH YOUR WEBSITE.  Every single one.  With a good adwords campaign, I can tell you:

  • What a Customer Searched For, and What Ad they clicked on.  I can also tell you what Ads they didn’t click on
  • What a Customer did when they got to my website, and more importantly, what they didn’t do
  • What a group of customers is interested in, allowing me to make inventory changes and website improvements

The real value for alot of the campaigns we build is not only in delivering clicks and customers (which is how most people manage PPC campaigns), but in finding out what is not working.  That is almost the most valuable take away from online advertising.  It tells me what Ads I don’t need to run again, what keywords aren’t driving value, and what parts of my website are customers not interested in.

Data Driven marketing is clearly here to stay, but does your dealership have a strategy to integrate it into your marketing habits?  $3,000 a month goes a long way online, but buys you a couple of full page ads in the paper.  Just some food for thought.