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!

The Best Automotive Conferences to Attend in 2016


2016 Young Executive Society (YES) Conference – Vaughn, Ontario

March 29th

Held in the city of Vaughn, the Young Executive Society Conference is designed for the young, up-and-coming industry leaders that are seeking an opportunity for professional development and networking. This event takes place in the afternoon, starting off with lunch and ending with a workshop. Keynote speakers at this event include Ron Tite and Dave Fifield. Ron Tite is a branding and creativity expert, and Dave Fifield is an industry mentor currently with Wakefield Canada. If you are an automotive executive in the making, don’t miss out on this professional growth opportunity!

For more information, follow the link below:



NADA Convention & Expo – Las Vegas

March 31st – April 3rd

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention is the largest convention for franchised new-vehicle dealers in the world. This event includes hundreds of exhibits, dozens of workshops, and an opportunity to network with executives from major manufacturers. The NADA convention also boasts a star-studded list of keynote speakers including: Jeff Foxworthy, Karl Rove, Howard Dean, Peyton Manning and more. But why let me explain it to you when you can see the event yourself through the eyes of canines?

For more information, follow the link below:



AR Canada – Toronto

April 4th-5th

Auto Remarketing Canada is an excellent networking opportunity for everyone in the remarketing and used-vehicle industry. Not only has this event seen higher attendance each year for nearly 10 years, but it also brings together hundreds of dealers and exhibitors alike. Participants get to network with industry leaders, attend workshops, and meet with top automotive companies exhibiting their products and services; all while learning about upcoming trends and strategic ways to apply them. Speakers include professionals from all over the automotive industry, including our very own President, Duncan Cochrane.

If you are in the used-vehicle industry or the remarketing industry, this event should definitely be on your calendar!

For more information, follow the link below:



Women & Automotive Conference – Toronto

April 6th

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of women in the North American automotive industry has been rising. In the last 5 years, the industry has seen four more women as CEO’s and 10 more women in executive officer positions.

The Women & Automotive conference is a platform for women to discuss current opportunities and challenges that women are facing in the industry. Speakers will discuss ways for auto companies to recruit and retain women, as well as ways to develop more education, leadership, networking, and growth opportunities for them. One speaker is our very own Trish Rowsell who will be discussing ways dealers can utilize their Google Analytics data to get the most out of their marketing dollars in slow economic times.

The event will not only discuss women in dealerships, but also the emerging opportunities in manufacturing, finance, banking, insurance and supplier segments in Canada.

For more information, follow the link below:



DrivingSales Presidents Club – Miami

May 4th – 6th

This event was created for Owners, Dealers, General Managers and other executives that are looking to gain deeper, practical knowledge from their peers rather than opinion leaders from other industries. Industry executives will discuss new practices that they are implementing, as well as common problems that themselves and other dealers are facing and how they are solving them. Since the topics discussed are only related to the automotive industry, attendees can be certain that they will leave with a real plan, derived from real problems, solved by their real peers.

For more information, follow the link below:



DrivingSales Canadian Dealer Forum – Vancouver

June 20th-21st

Similar to the DrivingSales Executive Summit, but with a Canadian twist. This forum brings together industry leaders to collaborate with each other and inspire each other. It also includes insights from professionals outside the automotive industry to provide a thorough and broad perspective on how dealers can achieve measurable results. Some conferences want to be innovative and revolutionary, this conference is designed to be a practical forum for dealers to develop actionable plans.

For more information, follow the link below:



Google Think Auto – Toronto

September 8th

Google is arguably the largest, most successful company in the world. Google brings their influence and knowledge to the automotive industry at their annual Google Think Auto conference. At this conference, Google representatives share their data and forecasts from a strictly automotive perspective. If you are going to listen to anyone about what to expect in your industry, Google would definitely be the one to listen to.

The location and date for Google Think Auto 2016 has yet to be announced, but check back with Google’s largest Canadian automotive partner – Strathcom Media – and we will get you all the details!

For more information, follow the link below:



TADA Auto Dealers Innovation Series

Ottawa – September 13th, Toronto – September 14th

Formerly the Canadian Digital Dealer Conference, the Auto Dealers Innovation Series has evolved to incorporate a broader variety of insights including sales, marketing, leadership and development. This range of perspectives will give you the knowledge to grow your business utilizing more than just one department. Like its American counterpart – NADA Convention & Expo – there are several inspiring keystone speakers including: Erin Elofson from Facebook Canada and former ‘Dragon’ Bruce Croxon!

For more information, follow the link below:




Toronto – September 20th, Montreal – September 28th, Calgary – October 6th

Put together by Free For All Marketing and Kijiji, the DealerTalk conference teaches dealers the latest trends and innovations in online sales and marketing. The first few conferences were held in Toronto and, due to the popularity, in 2015 it was expanded into Calgary. The conference includes keynote speakers and networking opportunities designed to teach dealers new ways to market their business and generate more leads.

If you are looking for ways to improve, upgrade, or revive your marketing strategy, DealerTalk is a must attend. The date and location has not yet been released for DealerTalk 2016, but check back with us here at Strathcom and we will keep you in the loop!

For more information, follow the links below:



DrivingSales Executive Summit – Las Vegas

October 23rd – 25th

The DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas is an event curated for those Dealers, General Managers and decision-makers who have grown weary of traditional conferences and exhibitions. The goal of this conference is to inspire innovation among the top leaders in the automotive industry by being dealer driven as opposed to vendor driven. With nine keynote speakers with backgrounds in everything from marketing to the Navy SEALs, you know you will leave with a well-rounded set of new strategies and insights.

For more information, follow the link below:



Best Practices for Automotive – Detroit

October 16th – 18th

What better location to host an automotive conference than the place that started it all – Detroit, Michigan? Not only is the location ideal, but the guest list will include professionals in nearly all aspects of the automotive industry: decision-makers, business process owners, analysts, support teams, and super users. If you prefer a more interactive conference, come to the Best Practices for Automotive conference for fresh ideas and strategies that can help improve your business performance.

For more information, follow the link below:


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Strathcom’s Look Inside Google Partners All-Stars Summit 2015

Google Partners Global All-Stars Summit in Mountain View, CA
Google Partners Global All-Stars in Mountain View, CA

Strathcom was honoured to be selected among hand-picked agencies around the world for the exclusive Google Partners All-Stars Summit held in Mountain View, CA. The agencies invited to attend were the top partners in each country and Strathcom represented Canada. Continue reading “Strathcom’s Look Inside Google Partners All-Stars Summit 2015”

Google Think Auto Conference Toronto Recap

Google Think Auto 2013

On September 12, Strathcom Media attended the 2013 Google Think Auto conference in Toronto, Ontario. As with every event that Google puts on, this one did not let down: it was a great venue and the presentation was packed with valuable information.

What did we learn that could help the Canadian car dealer? Here is a highlight reel of the most valuable insights from the day:

  1. More consumers are shopping different dealers on the same brand.

  2. It’s all about mobile!

    • Mobile users are 50% more valuable than desktop users
    • 40% of mobile users research with a mobile device inside a dealership
    • What are mobile users looking at?

      • Reviews
      • Inventory (photos)
      • Location and contact information for dealer

    • Mobile opportunities extend beyond sales. Make it simple and fast to book service, order parts and build & price
    • Give mobile users the ability to book a test drive

  3. Use all digital channels
    No conversions? Use all the channels
  4. Customers are moving faster than retailers in digital use and wants
  5. It is better to try and fail than to fail to try
    Fail Better Samuel Beckett

    • Fail faster! Learn from mistakes and improve your business.

  6. Use free Google tools (Google Trends, Insight for Search, etc.)

One interesting insight was how everyone is trying to crack the social media code with limited success, and yet they are willing to spend big money on it. Paradoxically, we know mobile is what consumers use and want, but we do not focus on it. It’s time to change that.

Another great Google event!  We’re looking forward to the next Google event that we are hosting in Ontario in October 2013.  We hope to see you there.