Dealers Asked, Google Listened: Google’s 2017 Dealer Playbook

GOOGLE’S DEALER PLAYBOOK IS HERE!

2017 Dealer Playbook

If you attended any of the Google Think Dealer events this fall, you know that Canadian dealers have been asking for a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Google for years, and it is finally available. Based on Canadian automotive data, whether you are a beginner looking to do the bare minimum, or a seasoned pro looking for how to stand out online, The Dealer Playbook breaks down exactly where you should be spending your marketing dollars.

You can download the Playbook here, and if you have any questions just ask your friendly neighborhood Premier Google Partner, Strathcom Media.

To learn more about the Dealer Playbook, there is still time to register for Google Think Dealer in Vancouver and Calgary , and we will be publishing a blog summarizing everything we learned at these events. Stay tuned!

What’s the Story with Instagram?

We have had a few dealers ask us about Instagram lately, so we took the liberty of asking Facebook what’s up with its sister platform. Here are the new stats they sent us:

  • Instagram currently has about 250 million daily users
  • People under the age of 25 spend an average of 32 minutes a day on Instagram
  • People over the age of 25 are spending an average of 24 minutes a day on Instagram
  • In the last year alone there have been more than 20 new features added to Instagram Stories – including stickers and Boomerang
  • Last month, over 50% of businesses produced an Instagram story.

Instagrammers iPhone 5 displaying log in screen of Instagram application.

Case Study

There is also a case study on the Instagram business page called Accelerating to Success: The Auto Industry on Instagram that includes a ton of data about why dealers should be utilizing this powerful platform. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Nearly 80% of Instagrammers said they research products online before making a purchase
  • Two years ago, 38% of people said Instagram informs what they buy. That number increased to 59% for auto enthusiasts.

The case study goes on to show examples of ads OEMs like GMC and Lexus ran if you need some inspiration!

Top 10 Hashtags

If you are already an active Instagrammer, you probably want to know what the top hashtags are so you can more Likes! Well, here they are (as of July, 2017):

  1. #GOODMORNING
  2. #WORK
  3. #GOODNIGHT
  4. #MOOD
  5. #HAPPYBIRTHDAY
  6. #TBT
  7. #LOVE
  8. #HOME
  9. #BOMDIA (means hello or good day in portuguese)
  10. #RELAX

For more information about Instagram and/or Facebook Advertising, drop us a line today!

Facebook for Auto Dealers: Meh, Myth or Legend?

We’re all familiar with Facebook and that 18 million of us Canadians visit the site daily, but what’s in it for the dealership? As a dealership, can you utilize Facebook and all of its data for more than likes and shares?

Some dealers have remained skeptical and think successful advertising on Facebook is a myth. However, after reading the data in Facebook’s latest study, that myth is busted. Young woman using cell phone to send text message on social network at night.

Facebook has finally published their very own independent study based on Canadian Automotive shoppers. Surveying 1,500 Canadians between the ages of 18 – 64 who specifically planned on buying or leasing a vehicle in the next year, garnered some interesting results.

Key TakeAways for the Dealership:

  • “Nearly half (47%) of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed said they use Facebook to get information about vehicles and 29% said they use Instagram to do so.”
  • “74% of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed use a mobile device to do their research.”
  • “33% of Canadian auto shoppers surveyed said say it’s too difficult to find the information they need when researching a vehicle.”

A few great reminders:

"Canadian auto shoppers want control and easy access to information" according the the latest Facebook study

As shoppers get closer to the end of their buying journey, they start to whittle down the number of devices they do their shopping on to strictly mobile. Insights from this survey suggest this shift is due to the increased need for immediate, on-the-go answers.

Put it Into Action:

  • Shoppers prefer online shopping for the convenience but are insecure about their expertise and ability during the car buying process. Assuage their worries and streamline the process by engaging on Facebook and Instagram with how-to content across all stages of the purchase process and all departments of the dealership.
  • Assure shoppers that they are making the right choice by promoting your current reviews and happy customers, citing 3rd party reviews and promoting no commitment or low pressure programs
  • Use the vast amount of customer data available on Facebook to create custom content targeted to their specific needs. For example, create content around how to get financing, how the student purchase program works, and which vehicles are best as your ‘first vehicle’ targeted to students at your local University and Community College.
  • Be where your customers are and your competitors are not. It’s more cost effective to run a Facebook advertising campaign right now because you have less dealership competition, so take that early adapter advantage and run with it!

Now that Facebook has proven they’re a legend, ask us how we can make you into one and we’ll give you $500 to get started on generating more leads.

Read the full survey here.

Our Visit with our Friends from Facebook

met with Facebook to discuss the benefits of Facebook advertising

On Wednesday we were visited by our friends Brian and Nim from Facebook. We discussed the many reasons that dealers should be advertising on Facebook, and how we can improve our current Facebook campaigns. Here are some of the key takeaways from their visit:

  • Recent Facebook data shows that the number of Canadians that are on Facebook daily has increased from 17 million to 18 million.
  • Facebook is the most affordable advertising platform for dealers.
  • When we asked how they describe the value of Facebook in online marketing, they gave this example: if you think of your smartphone as today’s television, Facebook is today’s NBC or Fox.
  • If you are currently advertising on Google, studies show that advertising on Facebook can improve your performance on Google Search. How? When someone searches for a product on Google, they are likely in the final stages of the sales journey. By advertising on Facebook to those that are in the earlier stages, it increases the chance that they will eventually convert on your Search ad because they will already be familiarized with your brand. Essentially, if we think about the traditional sales funnel model, Facebook helps drive potential customers down the funnel to your Search ads, and then to your dealership.

If you are running your Facebook ads in-house, here are some things that you should consider:

  • Maintaining and optimizing Facebook campaigns is an important, and time consuming process. If it is someone at the dealership that is maintaining your Facebook ads while also taking care of other things at the dealership, they may not be spending as much time making the adjustments and optimizations that an online advertising expert would.
  • It is also important to consider that a management fee from an agency would be much less than someone’s salary.

If you would like to get started on Facebook, get in touch with us today and $500 towards your next lead-generating campaign!

The Top 10 Super Bowl 51 Commercials

friends watching football on TV

Super Bowl LI featured the most exciting 4th quarter in the history of football, Lady Gaga jumping off the roof of the arena, and some really great commercials.  USA Today has released the results of their annual ‘Ad Meter’, where people can rate the commercials that were aired during the big game.  Out of the top 10, 5 were vehicle commercials from Honda, Kia, Audi, Ford and Buick.  Check out the top 10 below:

#1 2017 Kia Niro | “Hero’s Journey” Starring Melissa McCarthy

#2 All-New Honda CR-V 2017 Big Game Commercial – Yearbooks

#3 Audi #DriveProgress Big Game Commercial – “Daughter”

#4 Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”

#5 Tide | Super Bowl Commercial 2017 with Terry Bradshaw

#6 Mr. Clean | New Super Bowl Ad | Cleaner of Your Dreams

#7 Big Game Commercial with Cam Newton & Miranda Kerr | Buick

#8 Super Bowl Baby Legends | Who’s Next? | Football is Family

#9 2017 Ford Go Further | Ford

#10 Inside These Lines

DriveTribe: A New Network for Auto Enthusiasts

Imagine a social platform, dedicated entirely to motoring; a digital media platform balancing enthusiast and professionally provided content. The idea is far from revolutionary, however, if accomplished on a large scale it will certainly play an influential role in the online advertising of vehicles.

DriveTribe

Never has a startup received such substantial backing from such reputable individuals in its early formation. DriveTribe has received funding from not only notable entrepreneurs but also has backing by the ex-Top Gear trio, Clarkson, May and Hammond.

“The site plans to build an engine to send content that will specifically target the disparate communities that make up car fans — from petrol heads to classic car aficionados. A versioning engine and multi-variate testing system will trial ‘hundreds of different versions’ of content on different segments of users, defined by age, gender, location and interests, with ‘optimal matches’ pushed directly to peoples’ social timelines through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. There will, of course, be iOS and Android apps, as well.”

After receiving my invite just prior to public launch, I spent some time poking around the app. What at first seemed to be little more than Instagram dedicated entirely to vehicles, soon led to a realization of the platforms marketing potential. Essentially, DriveTribe will allow a new sort of content targeting engine to emerge as individuals will be providing direct automotive related information. Information which will be aggregated much like Facebook and will allow automotive advertisers to target look-a-like crowds and distinct individuals according to group information and interests provided.

It seems fitting that this new site will segment users into separate tribes. As “Tribe” marketing has become a norm in the digital age, rapidly updated real time information provides the ability for advertisers to display highly pertinent ads to targeted online social communities.

A sleek red sports cardriving on an open road

To make money, the startup doesn’t plan to pursue traditional online display advertising. Instead, the object is to go after native advertising, or branded advertising, similar to what Vice Media does, said Mr. Schmitt.

“I think that is the way that advertising is going. I have a lot of car advertisers coming to us,” he said. “It allows them to target their advertising.”

To learn more about DriveTribe you can visit their website, and for more information on all things automotive marketing you can subscribe to our newsletter!

 

 

What’s New With YouTube?

Ashley Hahn, Brand Strategy Lead from Google, gave us a great update and presentation on what’s going on with Canada’s second favorite search engine, YouTube. Couple fun facts about YouTube:

  • 400 minutes of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, that’s more content creation than the big three networks have put together in the past 5 years combined.
  • Canada loves YouTube, 26.6 million monthly users, reaches 84% of the online population in Canada

In my opinion YouTube is still greatly underutilized by Canadian auto dealers.  Although there are a variety of reasons, video production and quality have always been at the top of the list of why dealers aren’t on YouTube.  Well, you’re in luck!  YouTube has just released a new app call YouTube Director.  This is a slick new app designed to help the average dealer or SMB get on YouTube.  

Okay, so maybe you have filmed a video or two, what else?  YouTube is a great medium to help generate awareness, but the power of YouTube’s platform is the targeting.  Ashley provided an example of how we can target the ‘true self’, not just the demographic self of an individual that might be valuable to your business.   

  YouTube - Demographic Self vs True SelfYouTube - Demographic Self vs True SelfYouTube - Demographic Self vs True Self


We know that lots of Canadians go to YouTube and they go to YouTube by choice.  The days of watching what’s on just because it’s on are long gone.  YouTube can help you reach the undecided, not the uninterested, consumer that matters to your business.

How about some good examples from outside the auto vertical!

  • Warby Parker Help – an online eye wear company that answers questions and demo’s products using YouTube.  Video quality is good but not Hollywood good. This has direct application to our industry.
  • Geico Unskippable ad – Ad Age campaign of the year and super funny.  It’s all about context! We all hate when we don’t see that Skip Ad button, so have some fun with it like Geico.
  • Dollar shave club  We have all seen this video, it’s been watched over 23 million times.  The success of this video helped Dollar Shave Club recently get sold to Unilever for $1B.  Not bad
  • First YouTube video uploaded 18 seconds of non-sense, you know, in case you were curious.

Our habits with YouTube and online video in general have changed.  We used to watch it at home, alone, in isolation.  Now we watch videos in public with our friends.  I am watching these YouTube clips on a flight with a colleague.  The times have changed!  YouTube was driven to prominence by millennials, but it is certainly not just for millennials anymore.  Not to mention those same millennials now have cash and purchasing power – probably individuals worth targeting.

It is only going to get worse (or more important depending on how you look at it).  Variety did a survey of American teens that revealed YouTube stars are far more popular than traditional celebrities. That’s right, PewDiePie is cooler than Katy Perry.

 In summary, YouTube: underutilized by Canadian auto dealers + hugely popular with Canadians + great targeting abilities = one massive opportunity for you.

Hyundai Dealers Working with Strathcom: New Website, Endless Possibilities

Hyundai

When searching for a new website provider, what are some of the main things you consider? Likely design abilities and price are two of the top factors, but what else? There is so much to look at to get a well-rounded picture of what you will get from your provider. Do they have an inventory management system that works with your DMS? Can they syndicate your data to portals like Kijiji and Trader? These are just two of the many additional services you should be inquiring about. So aside from being able to take care of your inventory from on-boarding to sold, here are five more reasons why a Hyundai Dealer should consider Strathcom Media:

We Have Forged a Relationship with Hyundai Canada

Having a relationship directly with the OEM gives us the opportunity to test some of our latest products with them to showcase how they will benefit individual dealership websites.

For instance, at the moment Hyundai Canada is utilizing our Bounce Recovery Tool, which is a behavioural exit intent based tool to help generate leads from users who are about to leave your website.

Bounce Recovery - Hyundai

Hyundai Compliant Websites

Like Hyundai Canada, Strathcom is a firm believer in having clearly defined brand guidelines that highlight what makes you one-of-a-kind in order to create value and familiarity with your brand.

Another benefit of having a relationship with Hyundai Canada is that we are able to provide unique and progressive website designs and still follow the brand guidelines set out by Hyundai Canada in order to set yourself apart as a dealership, and ensure your benefit from the Hyundai brand equity.

Online Advertising

In case you haven’t heard, we are Google Canada’s largest online advertising partner in the automotive vertical. What does this mean for you as a Hyundai dealer? It means that we have a team of Google Certified Analysts with experience writing Hyundai ad copy that converts. We can help you generate more brand awareness, increase traffic to your website and generate more leads.

Looking at the Hyundai accounts that we currently manage, we were able to capture 87% of impressions in auctions for New & Used Hyundai inventory. Of the impressions we gained, our ads sat at the top of the page up to 92% of the time, averaging no lower than 2.4 in ad position rank in the Google Search Network.

Looking at some hard numbers, our average click-through rate was 9.2% (industry average is 1%), average cost-per-click was $2.79 and average cost-per-acquisition was $38.42, proving that we can and will help you succeed online.

Blogs

As we all know, having an active blog on your website is crucial not only SEO, but for providing your readers and potential customers with valuable tidbits of information.

Our very own Megan Lepp does a great job of explaining why you should be blogging in this video.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are four reasons to start blogging now:

  1. Drive more traffic to your site
  2. Improve your search rankings
  3. Build trust and relationships with your customers
  4. Generate more leads

Not sure what to write a blog about? We can help with that too. We work with a number of Hyundai dealerships to bring their blogs to life.

Hyundai - BlogIncentives

According to Google’s 10th edition of the Canadian Car Buyer’s Journey, the top 3 motivators for people to consider purchasing a new vehicle are to get an upgrade, enhanced features and the available promotions/incentives.

The latter is something that you can help your potential buyer’s out with by presenting that information on your website. The original thought was that every month you should update the homepage slides with the current model incentives in hopes of relaying this information to consumers.  If that was the old way of displaying incentives, then what is the new way? Having them listed right on your Vehicle Description Pages!

Our Incentive Tool takes all of the current incentives available for that model and lists them on eligible inventory. You can now display cash, finance and lease incentives with different rates, terms and payments! All with absolutely no work on your end. Search interest for “lease deals” went up 20% in 2015, so if you want to make your Hyundai dealership competitive, having this information easily accessible is essential.

Hyundai 2016 Sante Fe Sport

Hyundai 2016 Sante Fe Sport               Hyundai - Incentives

 

 

 

 

 

So if you’re looking to differentiate yourself as a Hyundai dealer, getting in touch with Strathcom Media is the best place to start. We look forward to chatting with you!

Marketing Decisions Based on Data; Seems Simple, Right?

Every manager and business owner out there knows that marketing decisions often need to be made quickly, and so we often rely on our intuition to guide us.

The problem is that our intuition can easily deceive us. By not asking the right questions and by allowing emotion to permeate the decision-making process, it can become easy to make a decision that will negatively affect your company’s fortunes. Therefore, it’s important to have a system of predetermined guidelines in place to support our decisions. We should challenge our intuition and ask ourselves if there is data and evidence to back our marketing decisions.

Google, for example,  has proven to be very effective in this type of decision making. Google tested 41 shades of blue to confirm which would bring the highest click rate on their paid ads. As crazy as the study might seem, this campaign enabled the company to generate millions of additional dollars in profits.

Here at Strathcom Media, we often get the request to publish a “GET APPROVED FOR CREDIT” call-to-action (CTA) button on the homepage, despite extensive research showing this particular CTA is seldom clicked. This valuable homepage real estate is unnecessarily occupied. Take the time to monitor your analytics and discover what meaningful CTAs could be placed on the homepage.

marketing decisions

The same applies when choosing advertising mediums to leverage. There is no lack of advertising channels to choose from (Google PPC, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, print, radio, billboards, email, direct mail, flyers-the list goes on), but how do you choose the appropriate channels for your dealership?

Some marketing agencies are notorious for promising significant conversion and lead increases in an attempt to lure in gullible buyers with too-good-to-be-true promises. This stains an industry that can potentially yield a very high return on investment.

That being said, a wealth of information gives us a great advantage, enabling easier decision-making. A good agency will use informational reporting to create marketing accountability and evaluate their value. In a digital world, there are so many metrics that you can measure anything and everything! A competent account manager will be able to break the metrics down for you in a way that is both understandable and useful.

Keep in mind that not all data is defined consistently. For example, if a marketing agency is promising to increase your conversions or your leads, ask them to define what a qualified sales lead or conversion is. Having a common definition of a qualified lead is imperative to avoiding disappointment. A confident marketing agency will have a strict framework for what does and what does not qualify as a sales lead.

A good place to start is by asking the right questions to define your advertising strategy. Here are some sample questions to help you figure this out:

  • Who is your target market? It is wise to conduct some research and take a look at your analytics to find out what your age and gender demographics look like. This will influence your answers to the other question below. (If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) connected to your website, do so immediately, as this information is easily accessible and invaluable.)
  • How do your competitors execute their promotion strategies? This may also influence your choice of promotional activity. For example, many of our dealers are executing geo-fencing strategies to steal customers from other dealers. How will this affect the way you react, if you choose to react at all?

In summary: Strathcom integrates these methods so we can better know our clients, understand our market segment, and identify weaknesses and strengths of our digital strategy, and then ultimately take the guessing and intuition out of our decision-making process. You can too! At Strathcom Media, we apply these methods in our decision making to ensure our clients’ marketing decisions and advertising strategies are backed and driven by statistics, keeping their minds at ease.