Google My Business? Tips on How to Make It Your Business

Google My Business

If you own a business and want people to be able to find you, Google My Business is something you definitely need to check out. In Google’s latest Hangouts information session, they went over some tips for business owners to make the most of this feature.

Continue reading “Google My Business? Tips on How to Make It Your Business”

How to Custom Target (and Poach) More Car Shoppers with Google's New Affinity Audience Ads

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.

Continue reading “How to Custom Target (and Poach) More Car Shoppers with Google's New Affinity Audience Ads”

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

Enter August 18th…

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

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

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


So what specifically needs to be done?

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

1. Go to the Ad Extensions tab

2. Expand Addresses from Google My Business

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


Location Extensions



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


Now what, Adrian?

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


There are three clear advantages to this change:

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

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

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


Hey, I need more info!

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

Google and Strathcom Media Gab About AdWords

As you might be well aware, Strathcom Media is a Google Channel Sales Partner. We work directly with a team from the world’s most popular search engine to ensure our clients receive all of the latest beta roll-outs, benefit from extensive audits and testing, and have access to the highest-level support.

Being on the Google Partners list comes with plenty of responsibility, and keeping our staff up to date on the latest innovations is key. So this week we welcomed Google to our office to meet with our Adwords Certified Team to learn more about what is coming down the pipe and what that means for our clients.


What’s Coming Up?

Target Ads by Household Income

Imagine if you could target Lexus or BMW ads to those in your area who make over $100,000 a year? Well soon you can. One of the most exciting features to enhance your AdWords Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the ability to target a user based on their estimated household income level and show them relevant ads. The income data is currently available in the US and provided by the IRS but should be rolled out in Canada by the end of 2014.

This also can work in the other direction: for instance, targeting middle- to lower-income neighbourhoods to show ads for subprime financing, first-time car buying, and anything thing else that might apply.


Google My Business Key for Local Search

The recent upgrade for Google Places to Google My Business will be an important factor during the next 6 months both for SEO and Paid Search. Make sure you have properly migrated your profile over to the new platform in order to ensure you capture these new benefits, such as location extension linking and enhanced map functionality for mobile.


Exciting New Google Events

Strathcom will be rolling out a series of events this year to give our dealers the inside track on the latest and greatest Google developments. Our first event this fall will be held at the Google Offices in Toronto, and it will give dealers a chance to ask questions and better understand what Adwords is and how you can use it to help grow your business. Google’s training team will provide the presentations. If you’re interested in registering for this free event, click here.

Get the Jist on Google From Us!

There’s much more coming out of the Google funnel, and we here at Strathcom Media are constantly evolving and trying new things like A/B Testing and UX Testing, always ensuring that our clients are on the cutting edge of the latest developments.

If you are interested in attending a joint Google-Strathcom event, or if you just want more information on Google products, please feel free to reach out to me at!

Google Tests Automotive Ads on Google Graph

Google tests everything. Every piece of software starts in testing mode where it is never 100% bug-free or ready for the user.

Take Google+ Places; it can be a nightmare when you claim your listing and then you can’t respond to reviews. Or Universal Analytics, a new service Google is pushing Analytics users to upgrade to that doesn’t even integrate with Google Adwords Display yet.

Google is still a young tech company that’s ahead of the game. Even though their new products can be annoying to use in the beginning, they often grow to become the best in the world—and they can become essential tools to help your dealership sell more cars online.

This October I covered how the Google Hummingbird update increased the speed of conversational search in the Google Knowledge Graph. This week we looked at how Google added cars to the Knowledge Graph in the USA.

Now it looks like Google is testing ads in the Knowledge Graph for car dealerships in Spain. Gianluca Fiorelli from Spain shared a screen shot of the advertisement on Twitter:

Automotive Advertisements in Knowledge Graph (Source Search Engine Land)
The advertisement comes from a search for a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. As you can see, the advertisement is recommending dealerships nearby that sell a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro. It doesn’t look like these tests have reached North America, but are popping up in Spain.

In the future, such an advertisement could be very useful for your dealership. Once Google is done their tests, hopefully this feature will be readily available in Canada.

Google Tag Manager – Web code tracking management

Google Tag Manager to the Rescue!

Have you been drowning in a sea of code overload trying to keep track of your tracking codes on your website? If so, your savior has arrived! Google Tag Manager is a tool Google released this October to help manage tracking codes by keeping them all in one place. With this new tool you can enter and manage all of your tags in one location, and insert them onto your site with one little snippet of JavasScript code.

Monitoring the success of your website or Pay-Per-Click campaign wouldn’t be possible without strategically placed tracking codes placed on your website to see how users are landing on your site and where they visit before – hopefully – making a conversion by clicking a “contact us” button, or buying your product or service.

But implementing tracking codes can be a pain. Improperly implemented code can slow down your website and lead to inaccurate reporting data, and every time a new marketing tool comes out you have to retag many parts of your site. Often the worst frustration is waiting for a request to make it from a marketing department to IT – and by the time your tracking is set up, you could have missed out on valuable statistics that could have been used to improve your site and get valuable leads.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tool your Marketing department could view and add tracking code themselves? That’s where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in. With an intuitive user interface, it makes it easier for marketing managers to get the data they need, and even gives your markets the ability to tag live and publish changes in seconds.

GTM has a number of benefits:

  • You can add tags any time without waiting. It’s easy enough for marketers to make changes without having to bother IT.
  • Automatic error-checking and faster tag load times mean more accurate tracking data.
  • Templates make it easy to copy-past and auto-generate your code.
  • You have the ability to set rules to fire which codes you want.
  • Asynchronus tag loading means tags will load as they’re ready, and in parallel with other page elements. This speeds up your site and prevents the clashing of other tags.
  • Multi-account support and user permissions give large corporations additional flexibility

Learn about all of Google Tag Manager’s current features at Google.

How does Google Tag Manager work?

After you create a Tag Manager account you will be able to create accounts and edit permissions for anyone who will need to access the account. You can work with your IT department to implement the solution on your site, and in some cases all it takes is a single snippet of code.

You can define sets of tags and rules within Google Tag Manager. Once these are made live, users will receive an up-to-date configuration in their browser where the correct tags will fire. Tags are loaded more quickly as the manager loads them asynchronously, and the rest of the page will keep loading independent of the tags. No longer will a single poorly-performing tag limit your page loading performance.

Before you make tags live, you can view them in the preview and debug view of GTM. This allows you to check that tags are firing on the right pages and at the right time.

How to get started:

  1. Get your team involved: Talk to your marketing and IT teams and see if Google Tag Manager could benefit your business.
  2. Implement GTM: either have your IT team install GTM themselves, or hire an outside source to set up your webpage.
  3. Determine your goals for measurement: Decide what key elements you want to measure. With GTM you can easily change these elements in the future.
  4. Migrate to the new platform.

GTM plans to add additional tag templates as well as other elements including reporting on tag firing, support for A/B testing tags, and more.

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.