The Key Benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads

Think of the last time you were out and about and found yourself in need of a good or service. Maybe you weren’t familiar with the area or just wanted to find the closest location. Our first instinct is to Google the answer, and with the Local 4-Pack, you are able to see at a glance a map with a selection of results for your area. In just a few clicks, you are connected with hours, directions, contact information and reviews. Clicking through on any of these results or on the More Places link sends you through to a larger map of your area and a fuller listing of applicable results for your area.

Imagine you are a business owner and you want to drive foot traffic into your location. You have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, and keep it up to date and well maintained. You also have Google AdSense set up to run search and display ads and have them targeted to your local area. Now you are ready to take your advertising to the next level. By linking your GMB to your AdWords and enabling location extensions, you have the option to start advertising directly into these local search results.

First announced in 2016 and rolled out in various forms through 2017, Google’s Local Pack Ads (also known as Local Search Ads) have begun to effectively integrate themselves into online advertising. Oddly enough, while these have become increasingly popular in America, we are just starting to see these sorts of ads show up in the Canadian marketing scene.

Google touts Local Pack Ads as having 3 key benefits…

Google's Local Pack Ads

Increasing Visits to Your Business

This is can be an awesome advantage for restaurants and boutique shops that want to able to target the foot traffic in their area or a home service that needs to be accessed on a tight time frame. A lot of our shopping has moved online, and while this can be an amazing everyday convenience, it does have its limitations. While a customer might research a big ticket item online, at the end of the day, going into brick and mortar store can be necessary. When these kinds of purchases happen its important for your customers to know you are in their area and ready to serve. Being listed before organic listings can help ensure your business is getting the impressions that might otherwise be lost.

Encourages Communication with Convenient Contact Options

On both Mobile Search and the Google Maps App platforms, the local search results have prominent call buttons that allow the customer to easily contact your business from the search results page. Note that this call information is linked directly to your Google My Business Listing, so its vital that this information is up to date. Additionally, this information is not trackable through Google Analytics as you might assume after working with call extensions within AdWords. This information is instead available to track through your AdWords account under click attribution. While this option is not available on Desktop, those customers instead have the option to click through to your website’s home page. Clicking through the ad will bring them to your GMB Listing, which then makes contact information available.

One-Click Overview of Your Business

When the client clicks on your ad, instead of being automatically linked through to your website, it will open your Google Business Listing. It allows the customer to get an overview of your business at a glance. Your location, hours, starred reviews, and the map are shown, as well as sections for Q&A, peak hours, and photos. The option to click through to your website and get directions are also available. This is the chance for the customer to get to know more about your business, and in particular, how your business interacts with its community.

While what Google has to say is true, its important not to let the flash of a new advertising option run away with our imagination. Its still a relatively new feature, and there are some outstanding questions on how quality score and keywords effect ad auction and position. This is a great new opportunity, and they are uniquely positioned to reach customers that are lower in the purchasing funnel, like customers that know what they want or need, and are now looking for a place to purchase it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these ads are in their element when it comes to businesses that are looking to capitalize on spur-of-the-moment transactions. It’s also important to remember that the success of Google’s Local Pack Ads hinges on the businesses interaction within their GMB account. Are the hours up to date; are reviews being replied to; are the questions being answered; are there recent photos and updates? You need to provide the customer with a good experience when they go to interact with your listing, because in some cases it might be the only online interaction they have with you.

At the end of the day, we should be viewing Google’s Local Pack Ads as a fantastic added feature, and not a new marketing strategy. If you already use both GMB and AdWords on a regular basis, it is a great opportunity to capture more advertising space in your immediate proximity. Interested in learning more about the benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads? Get in touch with us at Strathcom to learn more.

Think Auto 2017

Google Think Auto 2017
Toronto Centre for the Arts, September 7, 2017

This past Thursday, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Google Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Although the venue changed from the usual scene at Massey Hall and the direction of the event was slightly different by not having individual dealers out (check out our blog on the upcoming Think Dealer events!), the content was useful and provided a different perspective on our ever changing Canadian car buyer market. Continue reading “Think Auto 2017”

Google Externship

Last week, Strathcom Media had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive 2-day “Google Externship” with Googler, Caitlin. As a first-time Edmonton-visitor, Caitlin was pleased to learn more about our Canadian culture and hear that Edmonton (yes, just Edmonton) was hosting 9 sold-out Garth Brooks concerts!

During her time with us, she was able to share her expertise of Google products and optimizations in order to help us improve some of our AdWords accounts. In addition to doing deep dives into specific accounts, she also provided us with insider tips and tricks on how to improve efficiency in our daily tasks and shared new insights and different ways to use Google products.Close-up view of Google apps on an Android smartphone, including Chrome, Gmail, Maps.

We all know the importance of Google and its impact on our daily lives. Whether it’s to learn more about a topic or to settle an argument, anyone can just “Google it” and find everything they need. In fact, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and the use of search engines is expected to increase by another 15% in 2017. Additionally, 84% of new car buyers and 68% of used car buyers use Google in their shopping journey. Also, 75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search results, hence the importance of advertising.  As a Premier Google Partner, Strathcom understands how to get you noticed on the search results page.

Our ad operations and sales teams greatly benefited from Caitlin’s visit and we are now refreshed and ready to smash your advertising  goals out of the park!

La dernière nouveauté de Google : L’extension Click-to-Message.

Plus tôt cette année, Google a annoncé une nouvelle fonction bêta qui permet aux annonceurs de développer leur stratégie d’acquisition multicanale avec une fonction SMS.

Selon Google Consumer Survey, 65% des clients préfèrent se renseigner sur un produit ou service par le biais d’un message. Par conséquent, ce ne fut qu’une question de temps avant qu’une telle extension soit développée. Après quelques mois de tests, Google déploie actuellement l’extension click-to-message.

Lorsque l’internaute clic sur l’icône, l’extension ouvre une application SMS qui permet d’envoyer un message directement à l’annonceur. Cette extension permet également à l’annonceur d’afficher un texte pré-remplis à partir du clic, réduisant l’effort requis par l’utilisateur.

Atteindre le bon client, au bon moment, sur le bon canal numérique. C’est le défi que doivent relever les concessionnaires automobiles.

Aujourd’hui, les chiffres révèlent que les consommateurs veulent pouvoir contacter une entreprise par SMS. Cette fonctionnalité est donc capitale pour s’adresser et mieux communiquer avec vos clients mobiles. Qu’attendez-vous ? Développez votre relation-client grâce au click to message !

click-to-message

Think with Google – Online Video Planning

Camera lens with lense reflections.

The Think with Google resource gives us online video planning tips for success with online videos. The first tip is to be mobile-minded. Google’s research found that viewers who watched an ad twice on mobile had – on average – a significant lift of 23% in unaided brand awareness, and 47% in unaided ad recall.

Think with Google also suggests to put YouTube alongside TV. But for most small to medium businesses, this might not be as easy as it would be for big-box businesses. So what’s the alternative? Put YouTube alongside Facebook. Not only are you adhering to the first tip, but you’re also choosing to advertise on a platform where people spend their time watching videos. When was the last time you watched a video on Facebook? The answer is probably yesterday or when you were on your coffee break.

Facebook is also more measurable than TV because you can track conversions from pixels and generate leads right from Facebook through their lead ads objective. In addition to the ability to generate leads, you can also track performance and measure key performance indicators to see if it’s all living up to your expectations.

online video planning tips

You can read the referenced Think With Google content here. If you would like more online video planning tips, check out or previous post about YouTube or give our Online Marketing Team a call; and don’t forget to ask about how you can get $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html

Build a Desktop-Focused Campaign in a Mobile-First World

Yes, you read that correctly. Implementing a desktop-focused campaign can get you a better CPA – not alone, though.

Close up of elegant young business men standing against the wall and checking their mobile phones.

Every day, users search on the go with their mobile devices. You never know where people will be, so you can’t lock down one postal code or small area around your store. People search from everywhere, which is completely different from a desktop search. That’s why we need to be able to focus on mobile and desktop separately, and by making both a desktop-focused campaign and a mobile-focused campaign, we can achieve this.

AdWords accounts should be taking advantage of the ability for device segmentation. You should have campaigns that focus on both desktop and mobile search. You can do this by adjusting campaign settings so the mobile bid adjustment is set to -100%; this will make the entire campaign’s ads and keywords never show on a mobile device.

The next step is to clone that campaign and set up mobile-specific ad extensions, bids, and ad copy (and don’t forget landing pages if you don’t have a responsive website). This ensures that your keywords only activate the mobile ads in this campaign.

Now you have one campaign bidding for desktop and mobile at the same time and can focus your ad copy to speak to mobile users. In addition, you can see the value come from each device-segmented campaign at a higher level, whereas before you’d need to look at a segmented view in AdWords, which can be a bit of a mess to look at.

For more information, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter!

Should You Use Responsive Ads?

In addition to Expanded Text Ads (ETA’s) Google has also recently released Responsive Ads – are they right for your business?

Depending on the website, you can feature different combinations of your Responsive Ads. A short headline with the description, a long headline and a description, or a short/long headline. All this means is that your ad will have more opportunities to reach your target audience while they spend their time online. Note that long headlines and description lines are 90 characters, while the short headline is 25 characters. They also allow for branding, since Google allows you to upload a logo and an image.

Increase your brand's awareness by including your logo

One concept to think about when using responsive ads is the number of characters you use in the headlines and the description lines. The possible combinations would mean that your ad will take on ad spots where your ad would make no sense without a concise message in the headlines. Additionally, because of the lack of control (i.e. telling Google an ad can only show if the description line shows), Google might feature your description but only half of it – due to the size of the ad. In other words: don’t say more than you need to!

Another point is that Google can’t show you previews for every type of ad , so the creative you come up with might not meet your expectations on different websites. It all heavily depends on where the ads are shown. I suggest controlling this by finding strong performing placements/websites where they show and excluding mobile apps at the campaign level.

Consider how to target the mobile market

At the end of the day, you should take advantage of responsive ads since they offer more than Google Text Ads. However, like anything else in an AdWords account, monitor them closely. You can let Google find strong performing websites, but rein in control right away when you find them. Don’t let these responsive ads run rampant! As soon as performance dips for an extended period of time let Google find better performing websites or change your creative and repeat the process.

Why Should You Hire an Agency to do Your AdWords?

Focus on your business knowing your advertising campaigns are in good hands!

Our Google Certified Paid Search Analysts have gone through extensive training internally, and are constantly learning new best practices, developing best practices for the auto industry, as well as investing in education and resources to make sure you succeed. Not only are we Google Certified for Google products, we are also well equipped to advertise on your behalf on other advertising platforms (Facebook & Bing).

Get an AdWords campaign that's tailored for your business

Continue reading “Why Should You Hire an Agency to do Your AdWords?”

Double Serving

When working with clients that switch from another provider, we frequently notice that the old provider never actually cancels/ends the clients account and leaves it running… BONUS (Free AdWords) BUT in this case it can cause a ripple effect for the dealer and the new provider.

Not cancelling your original service can cause issues down the road

Continue reading “Double Serving”

Expanded Text Ads Best Practices

Expanded Text Ads (ETA's)

As of July 26th, Expanded Text Ads (ETA’s)  officially rolled out for advertisers everywhere. With up to 50% more ad space, text ads will now consist of 2 Headlines, an 80 character description line, and 2 display URL paths. With all of these new additions, how can we properly optimize these ads for the best performance? Here are 3 things you should be doing in your ETA’s to generate the best results:

1) Still include a standard text ad in the mix

Although standard text ads are expected to go extinct by October, you shouldn’t neglect the past format just yet. If you have a standard ad that is successful at generating qualified leads for your company, keep it in the mix with your ETA’s so you don’t lose out on proven leads.

2) Include the Call To Action (CTA) in one of the headlines

With the standard format, 25 characters was only enough for a headline indicating what your product or service was. Now with 2 headlines, you can now encourage customers to engage with your ad right when they see the ad. Don’t bury your CTA in the description line.

3) Optimize for clicks or conversions

Picking the right ad rotation is crucial in maintaining optimal campaign performance. By rotating for clicks or conversions, we can be sure that the ETA with the higher likelihood of desired performance will be shown more frequently.

ETA’s are a historic innovation coming from Google AdWords. If you are interested in how your dealership can start introducing ETA’s to your strategy, contact Strathcom Media today!

How Mobile-Friendly Are Your Ads?

Mobile search has become a way of life for consumers. In fact, Google proclaimed that 2015 was the first year that saw more searches being done on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops combined. Not surprisingly, more and more people conduct their research online before making a purchase, and automotive customers are no different. Buyers are now Googling vehicle brands, reading reviews, comparing models, and visiting dealership websites before finally deciding on which vehicles they’re interested in and where they will be purchased.

Customers are spending more and more time on their smartphones

Continue reading “How Mobile-Friendly Are Your Ads?”

How Should I Target My Location?

If this question has never crossed your mind, it’s a good thing I’m asking it.

There are many ways to target one city or location, but some methods are going to be much more effective than others. It also depends on the size of your budget. Obviously the larger your budget, the more you can target in regards to location.

Geotargeting helps grow your business

So let’s consider your budget. Ask, “What locations can I effectively target with my budget?” Asking the right questions will move you one step closer to targeting more effectively. On top of that, if you are planning on expanding your location targeting, can you still afford to target that many locations with your current set of keywords? The last thing you want is for campaigns that are providing a strong ROI to be in the hot seat when you open up the location targeting because they become limited by budget.

Once you have the available locations you’re able to target with your budget with the current set of keywords (or the select few you’ve chosen), you can ask “Is this a radius target or specific target?” In my opinion, you should always be targeting specific locations if Google allows you to. Heck, if you can target individual postal codes within a location, do that! Only use a radius targeting zone if you can’t target specific individual towns or communities.

Choosing the right geotargets is critical

But why?

The reason is, if you know exactly what kind of performance data comes from each individual zone, you can make smart bidding decisions. Pay less for less qualified traffic. Pay more for more qualified traffic. Or you can simply make the decision to no longer actively target that location.

There is definitely some leg work to figure out this kind of information to make more informed decisions. If you need some help, or want even more advanced strategies contact one of our Online Marketing Managers for more helpful insights or advice.

The Importance of Top Positions on Mobile

 

Untitled1

Do you like this Google search situation for your ads?

You should. Unlike with desktop, where you have 4 “on the top” search positions available to you, with mobile devices, you have only 2 positions (3, if you’re lucky). If you aren’t in the top positions, you’re missing out on big opportunities. Your mobile presence is important.

When you’re not in the top positions for mobile, you’re like a store in a strip mall, with an Open sign in the window–but you’ve placed the front door in the back.

Now that is just traffic that we’re referring to; you could be missing out on other opportunities as well. Being in the top positions means you get to leverage your ad extensions. If you’re not there, you may as well own a store, but have no showroom.

Untitled2

Being in these top positions also puts you in an influential position. When you’re there, if there’s room for another ad, Google can decide to throw in a third sponsored ad. And if you and the other advertiser take the top positions, there’s a unique opportunity. When we add ad extensions (which perform well), Google will push out a third position, expanding your ad real estate. What’s the point? A higher click-through rate. More clicks means more traffic. More traffic means more opportunities for leads.

Finding the Difference Between Mobile and Desktop Visitors

Since Google has announced the types of online moments most relevant to a customer, we need to understand what our market is doing on our websites. The sooner we can deliver the information they want, the more useful we become to our users. One of the ways to identify these online moments is to dive into Google Analytics.

mobile users

Here’s a case for leveraging Google Analytics:

In an initial look at one of our clients, we found that one of the differences between mobile users and desktop users was  page views on certain pages.

What else did we find?

A lack of page views and a higher bounce rate on mobile for the Build and Price page and the Our Dealership/About Us page.

What does it mean?

If clicks could vote, they wouldn’t vote for those pages. It’s not that users don’t care about those pages, it’s just that they’re browsing with a different intent than if they were on desktop. So where did these users go? Most mobile users ended up exiting the website on inventory pages. They found the information they wanted, then left.

This means we should cater to what mobile users want and don’t want. Knowing this information, we’re not going to create sitelinks or set landing pages for content which isn’t useful or relevant to mobile users. Doing that doesn’t help the client.

Mobile optimization requires a different perspective and approach, and Google provides the tools needed to make decisions for mobile optimizations. The analysts at Strathcom can identify those optimizations which benefit Paid-Search performance and your company’s objectives and goals.

Conquering Mobile Conversions Part 1: The Moments That Matter

Going into 2016, Google reported some big changes in the way consumers are researching and purchasing online. Google has reported that 86% of research is done on mobile, and 52% of these searches are done during work hours. It’s pretty clear we are shifting to a mobile driven world, when we consider these additional stats: we are checking our phones 150 times, and spending 177 minutes on our phones a day.

Customers are spending more and more time on their smartphones

Continue reading “Conquering Mobile Conversions Part 1: The Moments That Matter”

YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC

It was YellowPages in the Library with the Candlestick!

A couple months back, Alexandre Brabant posted his experience helping a client decipher what was going on with their Ad Words campaign being run by the Yellow Pages Group, what he found was they were employing some shady techniques to increase the amount of money they were receiving for running the campaign – all behind the customers back. This gave us the idea to give you, the reader, some questions to ask your Yellow Pages rep or any rep who is running Ad Words on behalf of your business.

Continue reading “YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC”

Turn Even More Website Visitors into Leads

Advertisers love the ability to follow around potential customers with remarketing ads because it’s a great reminder to customers of their ever growing list of wants, as the advertiser patiently waits until your will power is at its lowest and for you to finally return and make your next purchase. You may even be running these images ads for your own dealership.

Today, this is how most people search for new vehicles.

Now, what if I told you that you could have this same stalking ability but get your business in front of audience that is actively shopping for your products a second time? No more passive approach to remarketing, patiently waiting until a user is ready to continue down the purchase path. You can skip the waiting and now entice previous website visitors when they’re actively on the hunt again. How can this be? Well…

Continue reading “Turn Even More Website Visitors into Leads”

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.

Continue reading “Dynamic Remarketing 101”

What is your provider counting as a lead?

At Strathcom Media, we know how important it is to track how many customers are submitting forms through your website or calling your dealership directly. So, unlike other providers that report website visits or clicks as leads, we report actual leads.

Tracking actual leads means collecting the important information your dealership needs to increase sales and determine the effectiveness of your campaigns. That’s why we always include Lead/Conversion Tracking in our clients’ Pay-Per-Click accounts.

 

google

Lead/Conversion Tracking provides you with the data you need to make educated decisions about your dealership.

 
Continue reading “What is your provider counting as a lead?”