You Ask We Answer: Paid Search

pay per click lolo

Welcome to a brand-new installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*still waiting on that production budget, Bill*). We know navigating the vast tapestry of the internet can sometimes be difficult and a little overwhelming, which is why we host our weekly webinars for you to up your online savvy without the negative, thick-framed glasses-wearing, man-bun connotations that come along with it! 

For today’s webinar, we asked our Director of Online Advertising and Home Alone aficionado, Nathan Leverette, to answer any of your questions and concerns regarding Paid Search (as the organic search specialist writing this blog begrudgingly sat and watched in the corner while we recorded). We’ve embedded the webinar video below, along with a transcription of everything we discussed so you can follow along below!

Continue reading “You Ask We Answer: Paid Search”

How To Avoid Scammers

Scam sign

We’ve all had it happen to us at one point in our lives; a deal too good to be true, a stranger that was just too nice. And there is a name for those people scammers! Scammers have been around for a long time, and will continue to operate in their shady ways if there are people and businesses around to scam. Often, if you have an online business, these scammers appear in the form of 3rd party companies claiming to be from Google and claiming they can improve your search ranking (or offer services that Google already provides for free).  Not only is this frustrating for small business owners, but Google isn’t too happy about it either. Continue reading “How To Avoid Scammers”

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!

10 YouTube Fundamentals

Google sign

We were lucky enough to attend Google’s Video Ignite event at the New York Chelsea office. It was a great event packed with a ton of useful content that we would like to share with you!

Video has been gaining popularity for quite some time now; video even had its own section at Think Auto this year, which was a first. Most of us would agree that we would rather ‘watch’ the internet as opposed to ‘reading’ it, but how do you become successful at utilizing video? Karolina Chodkiewicz, Senior Strategic Partner Manager, YouTube Content Partnerships North America with Google was so kind as to share the top 10 fundamentals of YouTube:

  1. Shareability
    Does your video appeal to users in a way that will encourage them to share you video? Having great content is key, and here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a strategy for your video: is it topical, is it valuable, and is it relatable?
  2. Conversation
    Is there an element of your video that speaks directly to your viewers? This could be content added in the main video or as supplementary content. Think of calls to action and video descriptions!
  3. Interactivity
    Are you able to incorporate your viewers into your content? Are you able to spark a conversation in the comments section and get them involved with what you’re doing?
  4. Consistency
    This is probably the hardest fundamental: updating your video content regularly. We all get busy and forget to make time. Having a schedule and specific video format in place will be key. You also want to make sure you’re portraying the right personality and voice in all of your content.
  5. Targeting
    Do you have a clearly defined audience? You can set your targeting at the video level, show level, and even channel level. Targeting your videos will give you more opportunity to speak to different audiences.
  6. Sustainability
    If the audience loves it, can you make more of it? Meaning, if you spend $40,000 on a video that everyone loves, do you have the resources to keep making videos to that level? Can you continue to hire the right crew for your video?
  7. Discoverability
    Will your content be found? Not every video can go viral, but are you choosing topics that are trending or evergreen (like how-to and DIY videos). Go check out google.com/trends to kick-start those creative juices!
  8. Accessibility
    Can every single video be appreciated by a brand new user or do they need to sit there and watch multiple videos to understand what you’re trying to get across? If you want your content to be shareable, you will want to make sure it’s accessible as well.
  9. Collaboration
    Is there a way to feature guest stars? More and more viewers are relating to YouTube Creators as being more like them compared to traditional celebrities. This means that they take their opinion seriously!
  10. Inspiration
    Is the idea for this video coming from a genuine place of passion and does it fit your overall brand? You want to create unique content that aligns with your brand identity and excites your viewers!

Karolina and her team researched the top performing YouTube channels and found that they all incorporated a combination of these 10 fundamentals which were key to building their success. We’re not suggesting that you need to incorporate all 10 of these items in every single video, but keeping 2 – 3 in mind is definitely a good place to start.

If you’re looking to get some videos created and would like some help coming up with a strategy, don’t hesitate to give our team a call!

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?”

Auto Service, Maintenance & Repair in Canada: Google Webinar Recap

Strathcom had the privilege of attending a webinar recently put on by Google and Mintel that focused on the issues and opportunities that exist for Canadian dealerships’ parts and service departments. Here are some key takeaways from Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst at Mintel.

parts & service department

The Issues

Canadians seem to be a little neglectful when it comes to vehicle maintenance! Mintel’s report shows that 19% of consumers bring their vehicles in for service just once or twice a year. Further to this, only 17% bring in their vehicle when there is an immediate problem. Whether it be financial barriers, scheduling barriers, or other barriers, consumers seem to be very hesitant to bring their vehicle in regularly.

There is also a strong presence of DIY (Do It Yourself) customers. About 10% of customers perform basic maintenance service on their own.

The Opportunities

  • Recent vehicle sales are up
  • Future sales projections are up. As millennials now represent 21% of the Canadian population, they are the most likely generation to purchase a new vehicle

This represents a great opportunity for service departments as these recent and future vehicle sales need to be serviced.


How to leverage this opportunity? What should dealerships focus on?

No surprises here…offering good customer service is a must. According to the findings, key components of exceptional service include:vehicle maintenance and service

  • Decreasing waiting periods
  • Having a mechanic or a repairman available
  • Offering free shuttle service
  • Offering a complimentary loaner car
  • Seamless spending: Assuring the shortest possible purchase path – challenge the convention with mobile technology and craft a payment process that makes it easy for the consumer
  • Making it easy to book an appointment – ask yourselves what prerequisite information is actually required. Are there ways to decrease the length or forms to make it more likely for consumers to submit the booking online?
  • Help owners track cost of ownership

Other ways to generate business from these opportunities include:

  • There is space for the service industry to leverage referral business generation. For example, UBER leverages digital referrals by offering a bonus to those that make the referral and those that receive the referral. Possible rewards could include a free car wash, or a discount, for example.
  • Consumers are also looking for tools that provide the reward / punishment system to help them better themselves. For example, just like Fitbit badge, digital achievements are acquired for achieving objectives.
  • Drive organic traffic by taking photos of your service and tagging photos to drive awareness among your customers’ networks. This is a great way to establish and expand on relationships on the digital space.
  • Attract the DIY customer by providing a high-level service class. This will facilitate relationship-building and rapport with the consumer.
  • The DIY customer can also be more price sensitive. Counter this by offering time sensitive promotions while the service bay isn’t heavily occupied.
  • Leverage YouTube advertising as DIY customers often consult YouTube for instruction on how to maintain their vehicle.
  • Perform efficient mobile marketing that will drive traffic with location based, long-tailed keywords
  • Customer service is still king: repeat business relies on good customer service

For more information, give us a call today! And for access to future webinars, subscribe to our newsletter!

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.

Thanks,

Duncan Cochrane

Win A Trip to Google’s Newest & Coolest HQ!

golden ticket google

We have all heard the rumors about the perks of working at Google. Thanks to movies like The Internship and shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, the curiosity surrounding the inner-workings of Google are reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. If you have always wanted to get a firsthand look at working for the Search Engine giant, great news: Strathcom Media has your Golden Ticket to Google!

We are giving away 6 all-expenses-paid trips to Toronto and Waterloo! Strathcom and Google will pay for everything, you’ll be our VIP.

  • golden ticket googleWe’ll fly you to Toronto for one of our Google Breakfasts at Google HQ
  • We’ll transport you to Waterloo for a tour of Google’s newest & coolest HQ
  • We’ll look after all of your accommodations & meals
  • We’ll also set you up with a swag bag packed full of all kinds of Google and Strathcom merchandise
  • You’ll also get One on One Time with a Google-Certified team member

 

Google’s Kitchener-Waterloo location opened in January of this year and – according to one of our Google reps – is the coolest location they have opened yet! The trip is September 21-23, and the contest is running until the end of August. Enter Now! And for access to more opportunities like this one, subscribe to our newsletter!

golden ticket google

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  info@strathcom.com!

 

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.

livestream

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.

 

livestream

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.

New Mobile Stats from Google

Google-Partner-Logo

As one of Google’s exclusive partners, Strathcom is invited to exclusive training sessions, and  we were lucky enough to attend another recently at Google Canada in Toronto. During this session, we learned about how Mobile is changing the digital landscape. Don’t worry; I made sure to take lots of notes so I could report back on some highlights I found quite interesting!

  • There are over 4 billion searches on Google each month in Canada, alone
  • 80% of mobile searches happen where a computer is otherwise available
  • 75% of mobile searches make a conversion within 1 hour
  • 30% of online purchases are made from a mobile device
  • 41% of mobile searches are goal-oriented
  • 77% of mobile searches lead to an action

With more Google searches taking place on mobile devices than on computers, it’s obviously important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly or -responsive—so much so that Google has now designated mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for search engines. Consider the “moments” that customers can be influenced to buy a car, book a service appointment.

If you have any questions regarding responsive- and mobile-friendly websites, or for more fun statistics regarding the automotive industry or search trends, check out the rest of our blog or contact us today!

Mobile-Moments-2

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 Announces New Features to Get You More Leads

Google Adwords

Google held their highly anticipated AdWords Livestream this morning, announcing the new innovations and features they will be rolling out with to help you use their products better as a marketer and become more efficient at the digital advertising game.

Strathcom was there for all the action, and here are 4 key takeaways of Google’s announcements:

1. It’s Not About Devices

We keep hearing about the importance of mobile—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Consumers are constantly connected, and the average person today owns four digital devices and spends 60 hours each week consuming content across platforms.* In this multi-device world, the way people use desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones is being blurred. This means that people don’t think about which device they’re using—they just expect the right content to appear seamlessly wherever they are ready to engage.

People are Living their entire lives online.  ~Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords

2. App, App Baby!

Half of today’s roll-outs were related to applications (apps) and promoting engagement. AdWords advertisers will be able to reach prospective customers based on the type of apps they have on their mobile devices, how frequently they use these apps, their in-app purchases, and their app download history. (So, if you are big car guy, and you have some automotive-related apps, you might see an ad for an app that helps you find local gas prices.)

Google has also unveiled App Promotion Ads, so you can target users while they are browsing YouTube on their cellphones.

3. Welcome to the Big Show

Larger AdWords agencies have always had an edge because of their big budgets. This has allowed some agencies, like Marin and Acquisio, to have thousands of accounts and use third-party bid management platforms. Google announced that now all businesses running numerous campaigns (whether a few dozen or several thousand) will be able to take advantage of enterprise-class tools like bulk actions (location targeting, ad rotation, etc.), automated bidding, and advanced reporting.

4. Estimated Total Conversions

This was originally announced last year, but basically it is a way of gauging the efficiency of your digital advertising using phone calls, app downloads, web conversions, and eventually in-dealership visits. It has been reported that Google was experimenting with using smartphone location data to track offline store visits and tie them back to ad exposures on mobile devices, a huge opportunity for car dealers when this is finally rolled out of the testing phase. More updates are sure to come soon.

What Does it Mean for You?

Strathcom Media stays ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends and updates, so you can relax and watch the leads roll in. Today’s additions will be able to save time, money, and increase overall conversions for your account by allowing our PPC Specialists to spend more time pulling greater insights from the data and optimizing your campaigns.

Not currently using AdWords? Get $300 FREE from Strathcom by emailing sales@strathcom.com.

 

*Nielsen, February 2014.

Q&A With Google Adwords Expert at TOAST Vancouver: What We Learned

Toast Online Automotive Sales Techniques in Ontario We know that not everyone could make it to our special TOAST + Google session in Vancouver on May 21, but it’s not every day that we get the story straight from the source. Read on for the key points of our Q&A Session with Google Adwords Expert Kristoffer Sorensen, and our take on how it affects your car dealership online: Speaker Background: Kristoffer Sorensen

Google's Kristoffer Sorensen Google Representative for Ann Arbor, Michigan (Greater Detroit Area), AdWords Expert and developer for Google’s online marketing strategies for Search, Display, YouTube and Mobile platforms.

“Consumers are not brand loyal anymore”

  • I am on my fourth car and fourth brand myself. With loyalty at a minimum, you can’t count on customers to come back to your dealership. You have to work for them, and improving your online presence will help.
Car buyers aren't brand loyal anymore like this guy.

“We live in a multi-screen world”

  • People are always connected, and they do most of their research online. Take that family standing on your showroom floor: they could be researching a vehicle from their phone right now. How do you know they aren’t on a competitor’s website?

Only 20% of shoppers actually buy the first vehicle they research – Google/Compete/Polk Cross-Shopping Analysis, July 2012

Provide your customers with all of the information they need on your own site and they will be less likely to walk onto a competitor’s car lot. This is  why having a mobile website, especially when other dealerships don’t, will give you an edge.

Mobile websites are important

 

“Customers use 18 different sources of information”

  • That’s a lot for your sales team to stay on top of, which is why you should put the information that your customers need on your website.

Car reviews, vehicle information, and even reviews of your dealership may influence their decision to buy a vehicle from you. Having information readily available online will keep customers on your site and attract them to your dealership.

“It is still not too late to be early”

  • Did you know that Roger’s still does not have a mobile site? Get out ahead of your competitors by embracing new technology. It’s better to be an early adopter than the last one to the party.
Rogers doesn't have a mobile site!

“Customer interest never closes” 

  • Over 35% of automotive searches occur when the dealership is closed. Even if your dealership is closed and your staff are on holiday, your online showroom never closes for business.

“Searches for Auto Dealers are up 42%”

  • That is just in one year, between 2011 and 2012. With more and more people searching online, now is the time for your dealership to take advantage of this growing industry and capture the market while it’s fresh!
Online car shoppers

“Serve people the right ad at the right time”

  • If I’m drinking my morning coffee while reading the sports section and come across a car ad in the newspaper, it is unlikely to grab my attention (unless it’s particularly clever). But if I’m sitting at my computer and type in “What car should I buy?” into Google, there’s a good chance I will click on one of the first few websites at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) offering information on the subject. If your dealership is in those first few results, then I am one step closer to walking in the door.

For the record, “What car should I buy” is a real search phrase that many people have entered and that your dealership could capitalize on:

Keep an eye open for upcoming TOAST sessions and gain more valuable insights into how your car dealership can succeed online! While this was the first time that a Google representative has joined us, we don’t believe it will be the last. Duncan Cochrane & Michael Fisher