Western Canadian Dealer Summit 2017

Another amazing event hosted at the Banff Springs Hotel is in the books. The Western Canadian Dealer Summit brought together dealerships from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to listen and learn from industry experts about what’s happening in the automotive industry. So what did we learn this year? Here’s our highlight reel.Western Canadian Dealer Summit was hosted at the Banff Springs hotel

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A Vending Machine for Supercars?

The year is 2017, and seeing the advances technology has made over the past few decades, it’s hard to imagine where we might go from here.

For now, it appears we’ve reached a milestone. As far as vending machines go, this may be the greatest iteration. A Singapore dealer, Autobahn Motors, has created a 15-story vending machine – its sole purpose? Dispensing supercars.Supercar Vending Machine in Singapore

Stacking German and Italian engineering marvels on top of each other allows all to enjoy the architectural goodness on display by this vertical dealership.

If you find yourself lucky enough to be shopping for a vehicle from Autobahn’s collection, you’ll be treated to a once in a lifetime experience.

Customers are greeted at ground level where they select a car for inspection via a tablet. The selected vehicle is then transported by a “fish bone” elevator system to the showroom turntable on the ground level–all within two minutes. Not the car you were looking for? Well, in that case, the process repeats itself all over.
The vertical system is an excellent workaround of Singapore’s scarcity of space. This unique system allows ABM to store up to 60 vehicles and stand out from the competition.

More details in the video below:

https://youtu.be/0OBciQhVu24

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!

Online Presence: why it is vital in today’s car buying process

typing on a laptop

As consumers, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. It’s no doubt that the research process during the car buying experience has changed dramatically. According to studies by Google, “consumers in their early research moment, such as which car-is-best or is-it-right for me moments, are signaling intent to visit a dealership within a week”. A visit to your website is ideally followed by a visit to the dealership. So, for automotive retailers, having a strong digital presence is crucial.

According to Google, the car buyers’ thought process looks a little something like this:

  • Which car is best?
  • Is it right for me?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where should I buy it?
  • Am I getting a deal?
Which car is best?

One of the most impactful mediums for consumers looking to make a vehicle purchase is video. In fact, when buying a car, 69% are influenced by video opposed to other mediums such as TV, newspapers or magazines. When using the search network, the most common searched terms are “[brand/make] + reviews”, “[brand/make] + specs” and “best luxury cars”. 

Is it right for me?

After consumers have narrowed down their search, they begin their hunt to find out if the vehicle is right for their lifestyle and needs. This is where the consumers discover features/options and the interior/exterior aesthetic. This is mainly a visual process, and a majority of time is spent looking at photos. The photo searches of “[brand/make]” is up 37%  and 80% of these searches are now happening on mobile.

Can I afford it? Where should I buy it? Am I getting a deal?

After the first two questions have been answered, the consumer generally begins searching for a dealership. This is where the individual dealer’s web presence will become a factor. Dealers need to make sure that they are showcasing OEM incentives, internal promotions, as well as leasing/financing information. But most importantly, prices need to be shown because that is what the customer is ultimately looking for. Dealers should also make sure that their site provides a positive user experience; something as simple as having an unresponsive webpage can impact whether or not a user decides to visit the dealership.

Dealers also need to utilize tools such as Google+ reviews, automotive forums, Unhaggle, and other mediums that customers use to help them make their decision.car salesman congratulates a family for buying car

Despite the evolving methods of how consumers access information, the end of the process always ends at the dealership. As consumers come into dealerships equipped with their researched knowledge, they expect sales staff to also be product-experts. In order for manufacturers and dealers to fully understand the decision making avenues of the buyer, they must understand the small “micro-transactions” involved throughout the entire procedure. Having a strong digital presence in each of the avenues will always set a dealer ahead of the competition.

To find out more about how to improve your online presence and get more leads, give us a call today or subscribe to our newsletter!

How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?

While there is a good chance that your dealership is currently running a Paid Search Campaign, there are still (surprisingly) a good portion of dealerships that aren’t.

There can be many reasons for deciding not to: lack of marketing dollars, lack of expertise, lack of knowledge, lack of time, etc.

Nowadays, it goes without saying that businesses have a plethora of digital marketing options to choose from, but I’d like to make my case on why dealerships can’t afford not to be running a paid search campaign. Continue reading “How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?”

Fanatics: Don’t fear the hybrid

Hear the word “hybrid’’ and you’ll likely conjure up images of dull, wedge shaped vehicles being driven by environmentalists (cue DiCaprio and his Prius). Yet it’s been nearly 20 years since the hybrid drivetrain was introduced to our automotive markets, and throughout the nearly two decades that we’ve had hybrids available in North America, the connotations surrounding these vehicles have remained unchanged. Beyond the stigma given to seemingly all hybrid vehicles, there is a reality that many car enthusiasts (myself included) have to face. The technological advancements made to not only electrical motors but also to small displacement internal combustion engines mean hybrids no longer have to be synonymous with the meek image of a Toyota Prius or the Honda Insight. These progressions now present uncharted potential territory for performance advancements.

On a sunny spring day a Toyota Prius hybrid car drives through a tree lined road in Montana while on a road trip. The bright sun casts and in camera lens flare across the scene.

As supercar manufacturers have proven with their most recent offerings, the electric motor isn’t merely there to meet emission regulations or boost fuel efficiency, they play a substantial role in acceleration, handling and braking. Beyond the obvious ecological benefits, the use of electronic motors presents an entirely new set of possibilities to nearly all areas of a vehicles performance metrics. Engineers would not spend extended periods laboring over heavy batteries and potential cooling issues within performance vehicles if the substantial benefits of hybridization were not present.

Look across a list of sports car manufacturers and it appears each brand has their own interpretation of performance-hybrid vehicles on offer: Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918, Honda/Acura NSX, Koenissegg Regera, BMW i8. Though they utilize diverse layouts and technologies, the idea surrounding the electric motor’s input and applications remain relatively unchanged: provide power to the drivetrain ‘where and when’ traditional combustion engines fall short.

The McLaren P1 has an electric motorIn the McLaren P1 for example, the electric motor fills the void in propulsion when waiting on the V8’s twin Turbo’s to spool up, much like the Kinetic Energy Recovery System on a formula one car the hybrid set up minimizes lag stemming from the traditional motor. The Ferrari on the other hand, uses two electric motors. One dedicated to onboard electronics while the other connects directly to the drivetrain, the outcome is an increase of 163hp coupled with a lower center of gravity due to battery placement and an engine whose power band is no longer subject to an A/C Compressor or any other cabin elements. The Porsche 918 went a different direction entirely, attaching one electric motor to the front axle to power the front wheels giving the 918 the surefooted-ness characteristic of AWD when coming out of corners, while another motor is attached to the rear axle providing additional torque output to boost to the vehicles already potent 4.6l V8 engine. The Honda NSX, employs a similar idea, attaching one electric motor to each front wheel, relying on each individual motor to deliver distinctive torque vectoring while cornering.

There’s talk of the upcoming BMW and Toyota’s jointly developed sports car also being powered by a hybrid system. Volkswagen (who has made it clear that they plan to produce 20 EV’s by 2020) has already begun working on a hybrid setup for one of their most beloved models, the GTI. The Mark VIII Golf GTI is slated to reach dealers in 2020, and is said to be adopting a 48-volt electrical assist system distributed between both axles much like the Porsche 918’s current layout. As the technologies implemented in today’s super cars (LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918) slowly become increasingly affordable, we will begin to see a trickle-down effect as affordable hybrids begin adopting these substantial technical advancements. It won’t be long until these applications collectively transform the hybrid from its meek ecologically conscious-image, to the responsible sports car of the future.

eMarketer’s Automotive StatPack, 2016

eMarketer has released their Automotive StatPack for 2016. This statpack gives an overview of digital automotive trends in 4 categories:

  1. Industry Sales & Transactions
  2. Ad Spending
  3. Buyers & Consumer Behavior
  4. Consumer Attitudes Toward New Automotive Technology

Below is a quick summary of the report; even though it contains primarily U.S. data, there are still trends in ad spending for OEMs and Dealers, as well as changes in consumer behavior that are relevant to the Canadian market.

Happiness of Buying a New Car Continue reading “eMarketer’s Automotive StatPack, 2016”

The Ford Bronco and Ranger Will Ride Again!

The Ford Motor Company announced on Monday at the Detroit Auto Show that the Ford Ranger will be returning again in 2019, followed by the Ford Bronco’s return in 2020.Ford Bronco Concept

Both of these models will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant. The two models are expected to be built on a shared body-on-frame platform, which will create a midsize SUV and midsize pickup.  The Bronco has not been in production since 1996, while the Ranger is currently sold in other markets outside of the U.S. and Canada; we are likely to see the next generation of the model once it is available.

Ford Ranger ConceptFord has not speculated on technical details or images of the vehicles, yet, but they have suggested that the Bronco will offer some serious off road capability!

Ford is also planning to launch 13 new electric models by 2021, including hybrid models of the Mustang and the F-150.

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How to Reach More Customers in January, According to Google

As we near the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Google has shared 4 ways that you can optimize your online strategy this year according to their data.categories seeing higher traffic from Google in January 2016 than October 2015

Use click share to drive more engagement

We all know that, generally, the closer to the top position you are on Google, the higher engagement you will see from shoppers; especially on mobile. As shown in the chart below, for the Vehicles & Parts category you will need about a 15% click share to be competitive in reaching the top positions. How do you increase your click share? Increasing your bids as well as your ad relevance are good places to start.

Create a strategic seasonal campaign

Having a separate campaign for certain products at certain times (winter tires, for example) allows you be more flexible with your budgets for these products.

Use custom labels to create seasonal product groups

Use custom labels to create a segmented product group in your campaign for products like winter accessories for vehicles. This allows you to adjust your bids for winter accessories and to monitor your click share.

Remarket your products to previous shoppers

Remind your customers of the products they viewed in the holiday season but didn’t convert on – chances are they are still interested in finding the best deal!

For more information on how to optimize your site for the Google SERP, give us a shout or subscribe to our newsletter!

Autonomoose – Blackberrry’s self-driving car

Blackberry has just re-positioned themselves in the global marketplace. The longtime manufacturer of mobile phones is now shifting its focus and recently launched a new research center to develop self-driving cars.

autonomoose

Blackberry obtained the green light from Canadian authorities to test Ford’s Lincoln vehicles equipped with stand-alone driving software – a pilot project dubbed Autonomoose. Blackberry also signed an agreement to work directly with the automaker, which plans to launch their autonomous vehicles for car-sharing by 2021.

While Blackberry believes that it will take time for autonomous vehicles to be fully operational, this announcement demonstrates the appetite of computer giants to enter the automotive sector, as computer software and hardware are very likely to be key elements to the car of tomorrow. In fact, for many, this news may come as no surprise, as technology companies such as Google and Apple have already confirmed that they too are working on self-driving cars.

Luckily, the automobile division of Blackberry already boasts 400 employees, having already developed software currently embedded in vehicles. With safety and security at the forefront of self-driving car development, Blackberry’s high standard of security may give them a competitive advantage consumers seek. No matter the company, it’s great to see strides and significant financial contributions being made in the automotive space.