Great Hosts, Better Events: Google Toronto & Strathcom Media present Google Connect Premier

interior of googles toronto office

In today’s modern world, what with all of the online-dating and microwave dinners, certain habits—good manners if you will—have fallen by the wayside in favour of instant gratification. Why go see a movie when you could just open up Netflix? Hell, just the other day I heard a commercial over the radio for a certain fast-food chain’s app where you could pre-order your food so you “wouldn’t have to wait” for it. Pardon? It’s fast food. Call me old fashioned, but if you can’t wait the 45 seconds after pulling up to the window and paying for your burger—you’re probably a bigger part of the problem than the solution. But I’m getting sidetracked. My point is, when someone shows these good manners and old fashioned values, it sticks out. So when our friends at Google’s Toronto office offered to host us, and a few other industry leaders, we jumped at the chance. Continue reading “Great Hosts, Better Events: Google Toronto & Strathcom Media present Google Connect Premier”

Connected in Calgary!: A Recap of Our Google Partners Connect Event

On Tuesday, October 16th we had the absolute pleasure of hosting our Connect with Google event in Calgary, Alberta at the beautiful venue The Baron—and connect we did! We had a chance to meet (and have a beverage or two) with local dealers, as well as listen to a few great presentations. Continue reading “Connected in Calgary!: A Recap of Our Google Partners Connect Event”

Google Partners Connect Calgary | Presented by Strathcom Media & Google Canada

photograph of calgary with text superimposed, reading Connect with Google

We’re having a party, and you’re invited! Well, it’s more of a conference than a party, but by the time all is said and done you’ll be ready to cut loose—at the bar and at your dealership.

Join the Strathcom Media team, as well as our friends from Google (we’re a preferred partner, just sayin’ *brushes dirt off shoulder*), at The Baron in Calgary—and see first-hand how the Canadian automotive industry has and is changing, and how you can not only keep up to the changes but leverage them to be a more successful dealership. Because the goal is to sell more cars, right? Continue reading “Google Partners Connect Calgary | Presented by Strathcom Media & Google Canada”

Decoding The New Consumer

Being a Google Premier Partner gives Strathcom access to events held by Google across the United States and Canada, and we got to take part in one such event in Vancouver on March 1st called “Decoding The New Consumer.”

With Google trainings and events, much of the info is about the data they’re willing to share about the trends they see in today’s consumers, and to no ones surprise, today’s consumers want accurate info and they want it now! Today, consumers are 80% of the way through their car-buying journey before they ever step into a dealership, so being in those moments to provide the consumer with what they are looking for can make or break your sales.

One bit of info I was surprised to see was that Google searches which contain “near me” – after years of increasing – are going down in frequency. Why? Because people expect Google to know where they are, so they don’t feel the need to say “near me.” If they search “Pizza,” they expect Google to know where they are, and show them the best option near them – no need to type it anymore. This is an ongoing trend Google is seeing where people are acting more natural with search; instead of ‘Googling something’ they are asking Google the same way they would ask their friends, which is outlined beautifully in this Google Home ad:

With the decrease in people searching “near me,” Google is seeing a 100% increase in people searching “where to buy.”

Next, Jason Fohlstrom took us through what Google and their A.I./Machine Learning arm DeepMind (they have an office here in Edmonton) are working on. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two buzzwords you’ve probably heard somewhere in the last few years, but most people don’t know that A.I./Machine Learning already play a huge part in all our lives. They will affect 33% of all the world economic markets (that’s $24,000,000,000,000 – yes TRILLION!) in 2018. You’ve probably heard of it in use mostly with Google’s self-driving car project Waymo, trying to learn how to drive itself without causing an accident or killing someone. It has now driven over 5,000,000 miles completely on its own. This A.I./Machine Learning is actually available to everyone running AdWords today, whether it be through a/b ad testing, which AdWords will do by default with the ads in an ad group, and also through data-driven attribution, with which Google will be able to tell you which steps of the buying process should get the credit for a sale. This is better than giving all the credit to the last click in the process or through a linear model (which Strathcom uses) to give credit to all steps within the process. Smart Display Campaigns let you put in some creative, text and headlines, and your target cost per acquisition/lead, and Google will create the ads, figure out who would be the best people to show them to, and change the creative on it’s own as it gets more data on what the user is reacting to. They also announced targeting by life events, knowing who is going through a targetable life event like marriage, buying a car, graduating from college, etc, so we can show your ads to those people.

In the blink of an eye, Google can analyse 70,000,000 signals to show the right ad to the right person at the right time, which would be impossible without A.I and Machine Learning.

Decoding The New Consumer

Lastly, we had a workshop session where we saw how we could better pull audience data to create better audience lists, an audience list being a list of users who we can show specific ads to. One thing that was apparent from this session is that the journey is fragmented; people are not all taking the same road when it comes to purchasing, and the more signals we can collect, the better. At the event, Google announced that Map data will now be included in the in-market segment data, so when google A.I. is looking for the best person to show your Ford ad to, they can see that people search for a Ford dealership in Google Maps and opt to show that person your Ford ad. Another great stat Google shared was that 80% of a user’s time is spent outside of search. We know search is usually the main driver of leads, and that needs to be the first place an auto dealer should be, but considering only 41% of users will actually contact a dealership prior to visiting it, it’s also important to diversify your online advertising portfolio and get what you want to sell in front of the right person at the right time, even if it means that person isn’t going to send you a cold hard lead. What better place to do that than the second largest search engine, YouTube! YouTube has always been known as more of a branding play; you can’t expect to get many leads from it, but it is a platform that lots of consumers use in their journey, including for car test drives, car reviews, car walk arounds, etc, so if you want them to find your business, you should be there.

Google made another announcement at the Decoding The New Consumer event, and that is they will now have CPA bidding for YouTube, which means we can set a target cost per lead, that Google will try to reach using A.I.. You have to be reasonable with it though; if you say you want to have a cost per lead of $2, it’s not going to work. You should start with what you would be happy with as a cost per lead (which should be a little less than what the lead would be worth to you) and then Google will work toward that as well as work toward lowering that.

Many of these insights will be shared on eventually, so keep an eye out there and here on the Strathcom blog too for more updates on what’s happening in the online advertising industry!

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!

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!


St. John’s Automotive Event: Grow Your Business with Google Experts’ Advice!

Join us and Google on November 25th in St. John’s to learn all about how to make your business stand out online in the modern Canadian auto industry.

Strathcom is teaming up with Google to host this free Google Automotive Event just for you and your dealership! Specialists from Strathcom and Google are here to help you with your business’s online goals.

Strathcom specialists are offering 1-on-1, private consultations on topics like search engine optimization (SEO), SEM and website optimization! And Google experts are giving presentations on the latest trends and innovations in the automotive digital landscape.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 @ 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Yellowbelly Brewery
288 Water Street
St. John’s, NL
Canada A1C 5J9


  • 1:00 PM: Guest arrival and lunch
  • 1:30 PM: Google Keynote
  • 2:30 PM: Strathcom Presentation & Optional Workshop Sessions
  • 4:00 PM: Event Ends

RSVP ASAP! Book today to claim a spot, as seating is limited and space is filling up. We’ll see you there!

Google LiveStream Event hosted by Strathcom Media in Calgary on Sept. 30, 2015


Learn how to boost your dealership’s profits with online marketing by joining us at Strathcom’s fourth FREE Google livestream event on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in Calgary, AB. Almost 90% of consumers use Google to search for products and services, so you won’t want to miss out on this rare opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

We’ll be joined by Matt Lawson, Director Google’s Search Ads Marketing, and Fred Vallaeys, Google AdWords Evangelist, who will answer your questions and teach you how get the most out of online marketing.

Bring your notebook, questions, and an empty stomach (a hot breakfast will be served!).

Click here to RSVP and get more information. Hurry! Space is limited!

Event Announcement: Google Breakfast Vancouver, June 18th

bun styled as car on plate

VANCOUVER, BC – The Google Breakfast circuit will soon be stopping for a bite in Canada’s west coast. It’s a chance for dealers in B.C. and Western Canada to learn about the latest trends and innovations from the digital automotive world, straight from the insiders at Google Canada.

The 3-hour event will take place the morning of Thursday, June 18th, at Vancouver’s gorgeous Chambar Restaurant.

So bring your questions! The speakers will be available for private consultation following the event.

Click Here for More Information and to RSVP — Space is Limited!


Strathcom Hosts Google Partners Digital Breakfast

Strathcom is pleased to have hosted our Google Partners Event, where we welcomed automotive dealers from across Ontario to the Google Canada Offices in Toronto. We started the day by pairing a delicious hot breakfast with a little networking, settling ourselves in for two presentations on Automotive Digital Marketing.

Kim Rellinger from Google Autos reminds attendees how their online demographic is evolving.


First up, Kim Rellinger from the Google Autos team. She began the talks with her presentation, “Finding Your Customers Online,” and discussed new data trends and insights from the Canadian digital automotive space. Kim provided some interesting new statistics and surprising updates to how Canadians are interacting with advertisers during the buying process. During the very engaging Q&A portion of Kim’s presentation, prizes were handed out including a stainless steel, Google-branded French press coffee maker. Most attendees returned to their offices sharing swag including Strathcom water bottles, USBs, & Google notebooks and pens.

It’s all in the game: Strathcom’s Duncan Cochrane shares the promising idea of scalable pre-roll YouTube videos for dealers.


Next up, Strathcom’s President, Duncan Cochrane, presented “Expanding on the Fundamentals.” For his talk, he discussed how to leverage online basics to make the most of your advertising spend, as well as key new trends car dealers can take advantage of in the digital landscape to rustle up more leads. Strathcom also unveiled our scalable YouTube pre-roll packages, allowing even the smallest of dealerships to compete in the video advertising game.


The lucky dealers were then extended with an exclusive offer for attending. To wrap up the day, Strathcom & Google team members were available for any further one-on-one questions.


We had a great time and want to thank everyone who came out to join us!


Please stay tuned as we will be hosting future events in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg, with more cities being announced this fall. Want a part of it? Contact us to learn more.

Strathcom Media’s Tony, Liza, & Trish taking in the Google Breakfast in matching SMI t-shirts.

Google & Strathcom in Toronto


Google and Strathcom have joined forces to give Canadian automotive dealers all the answers in a special one-day event coming to the greater Toronto area in London, Mississauga and Vaughan Ontario.

Book Now:

London, ON – October 22 Mississauga, ON – October 23 Vaughan, ON – October 24

Few auto dealers in Ontario are taking full advantage of the most effective means of online advertising like Google Adwords, YouTube and remarketing. It’s time for your dealership to pick up the slack and become an online leader and sell more of your inventory online.

The new Google Partner program  has already made it easier than ever for businesses to learn and implement online marketing tools, but sometimes that isn’t enough.


There are questions that many managers and even owners are too intimidated to ask like where your money goes when someone clicks on your online ad, or what re-targeting or re-marketing is. If you want the answers, then this is the event for you.

Representatives from Strathcom and Google will discuss:

  • The difference between a good website and a bad one, and why your website should be the number one marketing priority
  • The do’s and don’ts of vehicle merchandising
  • How to turn website visitors into leads
  • What is paid search, re-marketing and display advertising
  • What happens to your money when you advertise with Google
  • How YouTube advertising works
  • How to measure what works and what doesn’t work online using Google Analytics

You can catch this one-day event on three days and locations:

London, ON – October 22 Mississauga, ON – October 23 Vaughan, ON – October 24

Reserve your spot now, as space is limited.

A Memorable 3 Days With Google

I love Google

As a benefit of being a Certified Google Partner, we had the pleasure of spending 3 full days with Google back in July. Here is a breakdown of what we did and what we learned:

July 23, Vancouver, Rosewood Hotel Georgia – Google Partners Event

Strathcom attended the Google Partners event in Vancouver. It was a day full of informative presentations on the future of marketing, mobile and video. Google Partners including Strathcom were paired with top Google product experts who shared great information and statistics.

For example, who knew that:

  • Less than 5% of businesses today are taking advantage of mobile marketing to its full potential.
  • 54% of today’s buyers are turned off of brands that have poor or non-existent mobile websites.

July 24, Kelowna

On Wednesday, James Freeland of Google and Strathcom’s own TOAST host Stu Bendall took off to Kelowna for a tailor made and private information and training session with a Strathcom client. At this first-of-its kind event, Strathcom’s client had direct access to James to ask questions and learn more about Google – straight from Google. We are already excitedly planning future private events with Google and our clients!

July 25, Strathcom’s Edmonton Office

On Wednesday, James Freeland from Google made his way to Strathcom HQ located in Edmonton, AB.  James presented to the Strathcom team on internet video marketing strategies. Did you know that Canada is the #1 country in the world in online video consumption? As a Google Partner, Strathcom Media is always looking to improve our knowledge and education of the latest trends and products that Google is using and this was a great opportunity.

Our clients have important questions, so we thought we would get them answers from the source. We posed James the 5 most common questions that we get regarding online advertising in the Canadian automotive space:


For your convenience, the video has also been broken up into individual questions that you can watch in our newly redesigned Video Library.

We hope to have the opportunity to attend more of these events in the future for the benefit of our clients and our staff. Thanks to Google for putting on a great event!