Google Think Auto 2016: Full Review

For those of you who need more than a brief summary of think auto here is the big one, enjoy.

Google Think Auto 2016

This year, Think Auto was held in the historic Massey Hall. While the venue was definitely cool, the seats left something to be desired. The event featured a lineup of well known Googlers that took turns presenting different topics. Think Auto followed a similar path to previous years and updated a lot of the data points. There was a strong message presented again this year that OEMs and dealers are not living up to what the customer wants. One dealer group executive who attended the event told me he wasn’t quite sure he liked Google presenting itself as “the supreme overlord telling us how shitty we are at our jobs. We sold more cars than last year didn’t we?” Anyway, his words, not mine.

Sam Sebastian, the managing director of Google Canada, opened the event with a discussion about change which really set the tone for the whole day. Due to the fact that there are a lot of stats at Think Auto, I am going to use a lot of bullet points, this will make it easier for you if you are only looking for the numbers. Continue reading “Google Think Auto 2016: Full Review”

Google Kitchener-Waterloo Breakfast Highlights

Baristas, hidden rooms, a cyborg moose, oh my!

cyborg moose at Google Kitchener-Waterloo

This week I had the privilege of visiting the newest and coolest Google office, located in Waterloo, to learn how dealers can capitalize on  their  fixed ops departments.  Here are just some of great stats that Google shared in their presentation:

  • $19 billion is spent annually on automotive parts and service in Canada
  • 80% of consumers who service their vehicle at your dealership are 2 times more likely to make a purchase from your dealership
  • Parts and Service queries peak in October and November

We also got to see some great stats from this year’s Think Auto Study:

  • 55% of buyers use their smartphones to research vehicle models while on the lot of a dealership
  • 56% of buyers purchased from a dealership with whom they had no previous relationship with
  • 77% of buyers are looking for vehicle promotions
  • Online video has a positive influence of 53% on car buyers in the market

For this particular breakfast, we were able to go on exclusive tour of the office along with our Golden Ticket contest winners. We will have another blog post including photos and some video of the office, so stay tuned! And to stay in the loop about our upcoming contests and Google events, please subscribe to our newsletter. Hopefully you can join us next time!

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”

What’s New in Waterloo? Google!

Google WaterlooWe were honored to be one of only 16 Google Partners invited to come and spend the day at Google’s latest and greatest office in Canada’s tech hub – Waterloo, Ontario.  This is one of the many perks that we get as a Premier Google Partner in Canada.  The day was packed with insightful speakers, great content, exclusive training, lots of food, and a tour.

If you were not aware, we are giving away 6 trips in September to this very same office where you will be treated to a similar experience – click here for details and to enter.  You will not be disappointed if you win!  

So what did we learn? A lot!  We are going to break this down into three additional posts.  One on Google’s brand new Expanded Text Ads, another on every business’s favorite source of frustration: Google My Business, and finally, one on What’s New with YouTube.  

A little about the newest Google office first.  It is in an incredible building that was built in 1918 and was actually a former rubber plant.  It houses approximately 500 Googlers with the capacity for about 500 more.  These engineers don’t work on Canadian specific projects either; they work on big ticket items like Gmail, Chrome and the Ads Infrastructure.  Like all Google offices that I have had the pleasure of visiting, it has wicked food at the main cafeteria, mini cafe’s on all floors, a cyborg moose (what’s more Canadian tech?) a gym with a climbing wall, nap pods and a whole lot more.

Google Waterloo - CafeteriaGoogle Waterloo - Cafeteria                    Google Waterloo - Cafeteria

What did we learn? For this post I am going to focus on two speakers, the individual posts will take care of the rest.  First up was Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas.  Ben spoke about how Google focuses on the ‘whole problem’ and works from that perspective.  If someone using Google can’t spell, it’s a Google problem.  If the internet is not fast enough, it’s Google’s problem.  This type of thinking has lead to great developments like Google Suggest (you know when Google suggests searches before you are done typing) and Google Chrome, a way faster and way better internet browser than what was available.  Further to looking at the whole problem, he spoke about 10X and moon shots – essentially the big, big wins that will transform your business, maybe even your industry.  Google considers these types or products over small iteration.  This is how we get self-driving cars, contact lenses to measure insulin levels for diabetics, and project Loon (balloon powered internet for the remote parts of the world).

Google WaterlooAfter Ben we heard from Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, or the big boss.  Sam provided us with an unbiased look at what Google is trying to accomplish in Canada – mainly diversify away from search advertising.  He spoke candidly about ad blocking and that one solution will be for Google and Premier Partners like us to build better ads.  One comment that he made was that in 10-15 years every business will be a software business.  He provided examples from big banks and agencies and how software is starting to be at the core of all we do.  Whether he is right or wrong, I am going to learn how to code.  The last concept he shared that really resonated with me was about Yahoo’s sale to Verizon for ~$4.8B.  Yahoo was valued at more than $100B at its peak in 2000.  What happened to the other $95B?  No one knows exactly, but it is this type of event that constantly reminds him (and perhaps it should all of us) that we need to be a little bit paranoid about the next start up.  It is this paranoia that needs to drive us to hit our 10X goals that Ben outlined, to stay in business and not lose 95% of our value.

Overall it was a great day and it is always an honor to be invited to such an exclusive event.  For more information on the day and all the training we received, check out our three other blogs on the event:   Expanded Text Ads, Google My Business, and  What’s New with YouTube.


Duncan Cochrane

Strathcom Media, Your Premier Google Partner!

These days, it seems that everyone is a Google Partner. Google has recently revamped their partnership program, and we are excited to announce that Strathcom Media is now a Premier Google Partner – the highest possible partnership level! So, what does this mean, exactly? Premier Google Partner

It means that Strathcom Media has delivered strong client and agency growth. Google awards this status to small-medium sized businesses that are experienced in managing large campaigns.

What does this mean for our customers? First, it means that you can rest assured that we know what we’re doing when it comes to making the most of significant AdWords investments. It also means that Strathcom is going to have more Executive Business Trainings that will make us more knowledgeable and able to share more insights and recommendations with you!

For more information about our partnership with Google and how you can benefit from this partnership, drop us a line at (780) 433-8844 or!


No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!


Ads & Modifers & Audiences, Oh My!

Google’s annual livestream event was held on Tuesday, May 24th and, as always, we find ourselves in store for some great new features within the AdWords product. Advertisers can look forward to even more mobile-centric features like device bid modifiers, new ad formats and enriched location ads in Google Maps.

One of the most exciting announcements in this week’s livestream, Google has brought to light a complete redesign of the standard text ad on the Google Search network. With the new Expanded Text Ads, advertisers will get 50% more space for text with description lines expanding to 80 characters and the introduction of an additional 30-character headline. That’s right, we’re going to have two headlines to showcase products. With initial performance reports stating an increase of up to 20% in click through rate, this new ad format is sure to change the Search network as we know it.


Google didn’t just stop with at the text ads when they were redesigning things. Image ads on the Google Display Network can also expect to have a face lift. With efficiency and mobile phones in mind, we will now be able to create responsive image ads. With a headline, short description, image and landing page, Google will create the perfect image ad based on the website your ad is show on. This will allow for a more seamless production of creative while ensuring that users are shown the most appealing creative.

responsive google-built display ads for mobile

While on the topic of redesigns, it was also mentioned that advertisers can expect to see a completely redesigned AdWords interface over the next year. With an updated look and better showcase of important metrics, we can look forward to an interface that will stage data in an easy-to-digest format allowing us to save time when optimizing accounts.



Next up, the introduction of device bid modifiers. “But wait!” you say, “I thought we already had device bid modifiers?” We do, kind of… Currently, we have the ability to set bid modifiers to increase or decrease bids on mobile devices only. We can tell AdWords that we’re willing to spend up to 300% more for a mobile click, or alternately, bid down the device up to 100% if we want to stay away from cell phone users. This feature will now be expanded to include the ability to adjust bid modifiers not only on mobile devices, but also on tablets and desktops with a total of 900% increase of bids. This will give us more control over each device, ensuring we only spend money where performance is strong.

According to Google’s stats, 30% of mobile searches are linked to a location which is growing 50% faster than general searches on a mobile device. That’s a lot of eyeballs looking for your business and Google is helping advertisers capitalize on this through the launch of new local search ads. With new, enriched business location pages, companies can stand out from the crowd with a branded pin, promotions of in-store offers and even the ability of browsing product inventory; all from the business page. Three quarters of searches looking for a local business lead to same-day in-store visits, these enhancements are geared towards helping drive that foot traffic even more.

Last, but definitely not least: remarketing! Everyone knows the importance of remarketing and the incredible performance it can bring. Google announced they were bringing similar audiences to the remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) product. This is big news as advertisers have been drooling over this feature in the display network for ages. The ability to target highly qualified users based on mirrored behaviors matching your past website visitors opens your reach to a once untapped potential customer pool.

Google has become a dominate force in the online world for a reason; their ever-evolving product line always ensures both advertiser and user are presented with the highest level of quality and service in the market and this livestream provided us with a small look at what’s in store for us in 2016 and onward.