Dealers Asked, Google Listened: Google’s 2017 Dealer Playbook

GOOGLE’S DEALER PLAYBOOK IS HERE!

2017 Dealer Playbook

If you attended any of the Google Think Dealer events this fall, you know that Canadian dealers have been asking for a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Google for years, and it is finally available. Based on Canadian automotive data, whether you are a beginner looking to do the bare minimum, or a seasoned pro looking for how to stand out online, The Dealer Playbook breaks down exactly where you should be spending your marketing dollars.

You can download the Playbook here, and if you have any questions just ask your friendly neighborhood Premier Google Partner, Strathcom Media.

To learn more about the Dealer Playbook, there is still time to register for Google Think Dealer in Vancouver and Calgary , and we will be publishing a blog summarizing everything we learned at these events. Stay tuned!

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW

For those of you who enjoyed the brief highlight reel we released in September on Google Think Auto, here’s the full review. Enjoy!

Google Think Auto 2017

In September, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The scenery of the event was different and so was the direction of the event. Instead of focusing on the four phases of the car buying journey, there was a ton of data presented on the the buyer’s persona. If you don’t remember what the four phases are, check out our 2016 recap of Think Auto for a good refresher. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW”

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.

The focus of this year’s event was on buyers falling into three main buckets:

  1. First Time Buyer “The Newbie” – represents 20% of the Canadian car buying market
  2. Brand Loyalist “The Loyalist” – represents 37% of the Canadian car buying market
  3. Brand Switcher “The Switcher” (or the promiscuous as they like to call them) – represents 43% of the Canadian car buying market

Here are some highlights of this year’s study:

  • Video continues to be the hot topic going into next year, but the conversation has changed from OEMs being simply present, to being present in the right way and getting in front of the right audience.
  • The Newbies and the Switchers are the top two buyers heading to YouTube, but they are watching different content. The Newbies are focused on expert and peer reviews of vehicles while the Switchers are watching on the road and test drive videos.
  • On average, Canadian car buyers:
    • Will visit 2 dealerships (down from 3 last year)
    • Are in the market for 57 days
    • Will consider between 2 and 4 brands
  • 80% of car buyers said that digital will reduce the number of visits to a dealership, meaning they are using online resources to be more efficient
  • 54% of car buyers said that they will not contact the dealership before going there
    • This means that you have to WIN online to win the in-person visit!
  • Google will be hosting Think Dealer events across the country to present more dealership specific information

We will have a  complete summary to follow with more detailed info and stats, stay tuned!

Think Dealer 2017 Events

Think Dealer 2017 Events

If you haven’t already heard, Google changed up their Think Auto event this year. Instead of bringing everyone across the country to the centre of the universe…Toronto… they decided to bring their wealth of knowledge across the country and host Think Dealer specific events in 5 cities between October 12th and November 9th. Lucky for us, we were still able to check out Think Auto and you can read up on our quick summary of the event here!

The goal of Think Dealer is to bring the latest industry stats and innovations to a location near you. The team from Google will be presenting their latest findings on what you can do at the dealership level to reach, engage and drive car buyers to your dealership!

Our team will be jet setting off to 4 of the 5 Think Dealer events (sorry Montreal) and we’d love to see you there. Here are the dates and locations:

  • Montreal – October 12th
  • Toronto – October 17th
  • Halifax – October 19th
  • Vancouver – November 7th
  • Calgary – November 9th

If you’re interested in attending one of these events, we would be happy to sign you up! Please reach out to info@strathcom.com and we’ll take care of the rest. If you’re looking for some more information, head to https://events.withgoogle.com/think-dealer-2017/. Or if you would like to attend Think Dealer in either Toronto or Vancouver but don’t want to splurge on a plane ticket and hotel room, enter our contest and we will not only foot the bill, but also hook you up with Strathcom, Facebook, and Google swag!

We look forward to seeing you at Think Dealer!

Advertising in the Age of Ad-DHD

People are busy. With work, family, social media, and a plethora of other distractions it is getting more and more difficult for advertisers to get people to notice their ads; let alone retain people’s attention long enough for their ad to actually be recalled. Think of it as a kind of ADHD… Ad-DHD.

As people's attention spans decrease, their ability to recall ads does too.

 

According to Google, users who watch ads for more than three seconds are more likely to recall, recognize and consider your brand. This may not sound like a long time, but to keep someone’s attention for more than 3 seconds is a lot more difficult in this day and age.

In a recent Google Livestream, Google talked about the new currency: time. Google also discussed how the Old Mantra was ‘get the customer to the dealership‘ and the new mantra is ‘bring the dealership to the customer‘. So, how can do you bring the dealership to the customer?

By personalizing your message

Advertise to your potential customers based on their interests, inventory they viewed, their demographics, and where they are in their sales journey. It’s the next best thing to saying “hey, so-and-so, I have your dream car in stock, come buy it!”

The most effective and affordable way to create personalized ads is through Facebook. Over 18 million Canadians are on Facebook every single day, and Facebook has more information about everyone than you can imagine. Not only that, but it takes 38.5% longer to fill out a form on a mobile device – time that people do not have – but with Lead Ads on Facebook, users can click on your ad (for a test drive, for an oil change, etc.) and the form will pre-populate with information that Facebook already has about that user. And speaking of saving time, we have built out an integration that allows your Facebook leads to automatically be sent to your CRM.

We’ll generate the leads for you, all you have to do is sell them a car.

Facebook advertising is just one way you can bring the dealership to the customer. If you want to learn more about personalization and how it can be used to generate more leads, drop us a line today!

3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google

In a recent edition of Google Best Practices they laid out the difference between auction-time quality and the 1-10 quality score. Regarding your quality score, here are 3 things that matter:

  1. The User’s Device
  2. Relevance
  3. Performance on Related Keywords

Hands typing on laptop computer - there are several misconceptions about quality score on Google

I don’t think that there is anyone out there that can argue that these factors do not effect your quality score. But here are some factors that, contrary to some opinions, do not matter:

How You Structure Your Account

This article says it best by saying “If it doesn’t affect user experience, it shouldn’t affect quality or Quality Score”. Accounts should be set up in the way that you can best manage and optimize them.

Running Your Ads in Other Networks

If your goal is to drive more traffic, targeting the Google Display Network or Google’s Search partners in your AdWords account won’t affect your ad quality on Google.com.

Your Ad’s Placement on the Page

I want to highlight, underline and bold this sentence: Your ad’s placement on the page does not matter when it comes to ad quality. Having a high position on the page might have some benefits, but at the end of the day it does not necessarily effect the ROI of your ads. As mentioned in a different article by Search Engine Land:

“I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been contacted by both clients and prospects with the statement, ‘Company XYZ is above me. We’re better than them, and we need to outrank them.’

OK… let’s take a beat and wrap our heads around what’s really being said here. While the statement seems logical, what is actually being said is:

Company XYZ is above me for the phrase I looked up. We’re better than them, and we need to divert all energies away from pursuing ROI goals and focus on one single vanity phrase.

What we need to remember is that none of this is actually about ranking for a specific phrase. In fact, the goal of our efforts is not rankings at all, but rather revenue. I don’t know about you, but if there were higher revenue from ranking in position 21 than position 1, I’d be working hard to get all our clients to the top of page three”.

All any advertiser wants is for their advertisement to result in a sale. Whether that advertisement is number one or number three on the page does not matter as long as it doesn’t negatively effect user experience and it converts.

So there you have it; 3 things that matter and 3 things that don’t according to Google. If you need more information about how you can succeed on Google or anywhere else online, drop us a line today!

4 Ways to Make Your Mobile Site Better, According to Google Best Practices

In the latest article from  Google Best Practices, Google gave 4 Tips for a Frictionless Mobile Experience. Not all of their tips necessarily apply to the automotive industry, but these are 4 simple ways to make your mobile site better.

Woman using tablet at night, visiting a mobile site

Make it Responsive

Even in 2017, there is a chance your site may not be truly responsive. In order for your site to be responsive, it must automatically adapt to every screen size: desktop, tablet, mobile, and every variation in between. Here is a quick and easy tool you can use to see if your site is responsive or just mobile-friendly.

Make it Quick

We have all visited (and left) sites that took too long to load. Find out what your load time is on both mobile and desktop with Google’s Page Insights Tool.

Make it Pop-Up Free

Pop-ups are to a website as retail employees are to a clothing store. If you are like me, you want to get in the store, get what you are looking for, and get out. Having someone approach me to let me know what the deals are can be helpful, but the more I am approached with offers the harder it makes it for me to just get in and get out. The same is true for pop-ups. I know you want to let them know about everything you have to offer, but the more things you have popping up on their screen, the harder it is for them to get to the ‘Schedule A Test Drive” form.

Make it Easy

Google titles this section Reduce buying friction, and provides ways for advertisers to make the checkout process as easy as possible. Right now this doesn’t completely apply to the auto industry, but I’m sure if you look there is friction in your buying process.

For example, how often do you check that the urls on your ads direct users to the right landing page? Are any of the links on your site broken? When was the last time you secret-shopped your own site to make sure your users aren’t running into any errors? These types of things can create friction in the buying process and make it more difficult for shoppers to get what they are looking for.

 

A Future Without Passwords?

"My password 123456" written on a paper with marker.The idea may seem far-fetched, but Google has already begun testing an alternative to the traditional alpha-numeric password.

Imagine being able to unlock your devices, profiles, personal accounts and much more without ever having to touch a keyboard. As it stands, the average consumer now has an average of 100 passwords to remember, and this number is continually on the rise. Google began the project, “Abacus”, with the intention to develop new indicators for users to use as passwords.

Abacus plans to kill passwords off not with one “secure” replacement, but by mixing multiple weaker indicators into one solid piece of inventory which collectively work to prove your identity. Beyond the obvious biometric indicators, such as face shape, smile and voice recognition, the program also hopes to incorporate some lesser known measures of identification (the way you move, swipe the screen, and hold the device, for example).

As separate entities it would be foolish to rely on any of these factors as security measures, but when combined they collectively serve as a measure that is 10x more secure than a single fingerprint.

Soon these features will be made available to third parties for testing, and some Android devices will have this as a beta option by the end of the year!

What IS Attribution Modeling?

Ever wonder why the conversion data in your Analytics account is different from AdWords?  That is because of attribution modeling. An attribution model is a rule or multiple rules that are assigned to different touchpoints in a conversion path.  Consumers may interact with multiple touchpoints during their purchasing journey. Attribution models help marketers develop a better understanding of how to optimize their website and online advertising to facilitate a consumer’s conversion path. There are 6 Attribution Models: Last Click, First Click, Linear, Time Decay, and Position-Based.

Google Analytics

Last Click Model

The last click model gives all credit of the conversion to the last ad and the corresponding keyword. This model is best suited for when your advertising goal is to attract people at the moment of purchase, or your sales cycle does not include a consideration phase. This is the default model in AdWords.

In the automotive purchasing journey, car shoppers experience many touchpoints before they commit to a purchase. According to Google, a consumer can have over 900 digital interactions over a 3-month period. By only tracking with the last click model, we are missing out on the hundreds of interactions before the final conversion.

First Click Model 

The first click model gives all credit of the conversion to the first clicked ad and keyword. This model is helpful when tracking initial brand awareness. If you are trying to build your brand, this model will help track when your customers are first exposed to your brand.

Linear Model

The linear model gives credit of the conversion across all of the touchpoints in the path. For example, your Paid, Organic, and Social channels will all equally contribute to the conversion. You will use this model if you want to maintain a presence with the customer throughout the entire purchasing journey. All of your campaigns are equally important during the buying process.

Time Decay Model

This model gives more credit to clicks that happen closer to the time of the conversion. If a customer clicked on your Facebook ad a week ago and never converted, but converted an hour after clicking your paid search ad, your paid search ad will be given more credit to the conversion than the Facebook ad. Advertisers who run short promotions will find this model most useful to give more credit to interactions that happened during the days of the promotion.

Position-Based Model

Position-based model gives 40% of the credit to the first and last clicked ads, and spreads the remaining 20% across all other touchpoints. Advertisers who use this model value the first interaction that introduced the costumer to the brand, and the last interaction that lead to a sale.

Fractional conversion credits are available to accounts that follow an attribution model that attribute fractional credit for each conversion across multiple clicks. The fractions are represented as a decimal such as 0.33 or 0.5 to give an accurate representation of the credit of the keyword or ad.

At Strathcom Media, our advertising experts have the skills and the tools to track all of the necessary touchpoints to understand your consumer purchasing journey. Interested in making the most of your online advertising with attribution modeling? Contact our sales team today to get started on a smarter way to advertise online!

How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?

While there is a good chance that your dealership is currently running a Paid Search Campaign, there are still (surprisingly) a good portion of dealerships that aren’t.

There can be many reasons for deciding not to: lack of marketing dollars, lack of expertise, lack of knowledge, lack of time, etc.

Nowadays, it goes without saying that businesses have a plethora of digital marketing options to choose from, but I’d like to make my case on why dealerships can’t afford not to be running a paid search campaign. Continue reading “How are You Not Running a Paid Search Campaign for Your Dealership Yet?”