HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Marketers are making the mistake of not integrating search and social strategies, or choosing to ignore social all together. Keynote speaker Jason Dailey of Facebook’s US Agency Development team stressed the importance of running a social campaign along with search ads, and how to properly run the content together.

To no surprise to anyone, mobile is the leader in performance marketing channels, and is the key platform to integrating search and social. Jason mentioned that people are on their phones from when they wake up to when they go to bed, and are less distracted by things around when consuming content on their smartphones (as opposed to TV).

The key to integration is recognizing that search and social advertising have the same outcomes, but with different signals. On social media, we can identify our audience based on their profiles and engagement, but cannot identify their intent online. Paid search allows us to discover our customer’s intent with keyword targeting, but cannot identify who they are as a person. Integrating social and search brings us to the middle ground of the two to execute a successful online advertising campaign.

Making Sure Your SEO & SEM Get Along

My favorite session of the week was keynote speaker Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive. Wil brought an exciting insight as an SEO expert on how paid listings should complement organic. As PPC analysts, it is so easy to forget why customers are using Google, and focusing too much on getting them in our sales funnel.  His key take way was optimizing for the real world, and making sure you answer the customer’s question. If your organic or paid listings don’t help the customer, another source will. A true example below shows that both ads on the top of the page have no mention of the price of a Toyota Rav4, and the answer is provided by a non-dealer website.  Making sure ad copy or ad extensions match the “why” of a consumer’s search will improve the quality of traffic SEO and SEM listings receive."how much is a rav4?" typed into Google Search

It would be difficult for me to include everything I have learned in a single blog post. HeroConf 2017 was a great experience and provided so much insight into how to succeed in PPC in 2017. Can’t wait to return next year in Austin!

The Blurred Line Between TV and YouTube: what it means for advertisers

As more and more people turn to YouTube for their entertainment, it is getting more and more difficult to track exactly how many viewers a TV program gets. For example, I think everyone has watched – or at least heard about – Saturday Night Live’s skit in which Melissa McCarthy impersonates White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. We all know SNL airs on NBC on Saturday nights (duh), but is that when and where you watched it? Or did you watch it on YouTube?

Watching YouTube videos on smart TV with home media sharing technology.

In a recent Think with Google article, Google discussed how more viewers are watching TV programs on YouTube, and even casting what they are watching on YouTube to their televisions. According to their research, adults are 5x more likely to prefer online platforms over cable TV.

In another Think with Google article, they discussed how programs like ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on the Late Late Show with James Corden – despite being a successful TV program – frequently gets more views on YouTube than on TV.

“The blurred lines of video consumption have changed the way success of any TV show should be measured. That’s particularly true for us since we originally air after midnight. We’re in the relevance business. The first thing we do when we come in in the morning is look at how our videos performed on YouTube. Our executive producer, Ben Winston, says, ‘The overnight ratings just tell us who managed to stay awake past midnight. The YouTube numbers tell us which bits flew.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Case in point: Viewership of ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on YouTube regularly eclipses viewership on the show itself.”

So what does this mean for advertisers? It could mean that the money being spent on TV ads (about $72 billion last year) could be better suited for YouTube. This is one reason that YouTube is now rolling out a Web-TV service called YouTube TV. For just $35/month, customers can sign up for a package consisting of about 40 channels. It has also been speculated that YouTube TV will get about 2 minutes of ad time per hour to sell to advertisers.

It also means that Google’s targeting methods can now be utilized in the TV space, and Google can now sell their advertising in the network ad slots that would have typically gone to cable operators. But Google is insistent that they are not trying to take money away from TV, they just want to play in the TV space.

Will you sign up for YouTube TV if it comes to Canada? Will you be willing to spend $35/month? Let us know in the comment section!

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!

Car Parts & Service: The Auction Your Dealership Is Missing Out On

The hard truth: winter is coming. And with winter, comes white walkers snow and ice that require consumers to switch from their summer to winter tires. Car parts and services search queries happen year round, but many queries see huge seasonal peaks that your dealership should be capitalizing on.  With the looming seasonal change upon us, is your dealership ready to face the long night?

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The Changing Face of Television Advertising

Watching TV used to be a common practice; Thursday evenings were reserved for watching your favorite weekly drama, and who can forget buckling in for an hour of intense reality gameshows like Survivor on Monday nights?

How we watch TV has changed
The television game has changed drastically over the last few years. With a smart phone in every pocket and access to the internet almost anywhere, keeping up-to-date with who’s heart was broken on The Bachelor, or which super car was driven on Top Gear no longer depends on getting to your TV in time.

Thanks to technologies like PVR and On Demand programs, viewers are still loyally tuning into their favorite programs except now they can watch what they want, when they want. For advertisers, this means there are even more ways to reach consumers and advertising on TV can still allow advertisers to be there for that part of the customer’s journey.

We know that companies like Expedia, Netflix, and Facebook (and Strathcom) have developed ways to personalize user experiences. My Netflix looks different than your Netflix because of their algorithm. Expedia will show me different hotels than it will show you based on what each of us viewed on their site. Strathcom can personalize the way your website appears based on the location and/or the pages clicked by the user. So how can advertisers adopt this strategy when promoting their brand through TV? Google has answered this question with Addressable Advertising.

Advertisers can now target specific households
Advertisers can show different ads to different households while they are watching the same program. This form of advertising lets the advertiser scale down to show the most relevant and interesting content to the viewer. In other words, you can share your message with only those that are most likely to be interested in your ad.

With any new technology, there are going to be challenges. There were some concerns about the ability to achieve accurate measurement and implementation with Addressable Advertising. However, with the launch of DoubleClick Dynamic Ad Insertion, Google has seen a huge advancement in how to achieve reliability in measurement for this new form of advertising!

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Benefits of Vehicle Descriptions

Vehicle descriptions are a big part of user engagement on a website. Users are more likely to click and on a car when they see a write up that points out why they should buy that car. So what really grabs a viewer’s attention? CAPITALIZED LETTERS? Listing an essay size amount of package options that can turn a reader cross eyed? All these ideas are outdated and consumers skim over them without a second glance.

So how can your write ups engage consumers?

vehicle descriptions

Continue reading “Benefits of Vehicle Descriptions”

Pokémon Go for Car Dealerships

Pokemon Pikachu Squirtle Strathcom
Gotta catch ’em all… will this bring you more leads?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last week, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Pokémon Go – the latest viral app. The idea is that users explore their surroundings to hunt and capture Pokémon. People chase the cartoon creatures at “pokéstops” and “gyms” plotted on a customized version of Google Maps, navigating to their real-world locations using their smartphones. As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users, (for comparison, at its peak Candy Crush reportedly had about 20 million daily active users). Nintendo’s new virtual reality smartphone game  has only been officially released in the United States, but Canadians are managing to play the new Pokémon game through a couple different workarounds.

It’s even one of the top searches according to Google:

2016-07-15 3-36-09 PM
Top Google predictive search results for “What is”

One thing to look at with the advent of any new technology or social platform, is what is the impact for advertisers? Pokémon Go is a free app, but users pay in data. The developer behind Pokémon Go is planning to allow retailers and other companies to sponsor places on its virtual map.

“There are several ways that we see the potential for significant monetisation of Pokémon Go by Nintendo, and one of them is certainly the potential for paid advertising or paid deals that encourage players to come to a particular building or store. It is a huge opportunity,” said Atul Goyal, analyst at Jefferies.

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic, which developed Pokémon Go, hinted that similar advertisements would soon be coming to Pokémon Go.

Alongside in-app payments, “there is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations”, Mr. Hanke said, where companies “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic”. Advertisers are charged on a “cost per visit” basis, similar to the “cost per click” used in Google’s search advertising, he said.

Pokemon Go has taken over
Pokemon Go has taken over

Some car dealerships & local businesses have already found that positioning a pokestop on their premises has driven a rush of traffic. According to the New York Post, one pizza restaurant in Queens saw business increase 75% after buying a $10 in-game power-up that lured Pokémon to its location.

Robert Drews of Mile High Motors implemented a program to reward players. He created a Facebook graphic to promote oil change discounts, with savings that correlate with your level on Pokemon Go (Level 5 = $5 off, Level 10=$10 off etc). Within the hour he had over 32 shares and 125 likes. Creative dealers could also open their service departments as hunting grounds, or see if their location is a “Pokestop” and use that to buy lures and entice customers to visit.

Pokemon Go could become a very powerful advertising tool in a short amount of time. Since this technology is so new, jury is out on the financial impact, but we cannot wait to see how progressive dealers use tools like this to bring in more business.

Automotive Marketing: 4 Strategies to Drive Leads on Mobile

The shift to mobile is happening and there is no doubt that consumers are making most of their purchasing decisions based on searches from their mobile device. According to a U.S. study, 4 out of 5 car shoppers use their phones in the purchasing process, and 63% of shoppers are still shopping on mobile while at a dealership. With 86% of consumer research being done online, how does your dealership stand out in a mobile-driven world? Here are some mobile-driven strategies to help your dealership win mobile moments.mobile

1.    Calls are the Most Important Conversions

Before shoppers visit a dealership in-person, they’re likely going to make a phone call instead of using email, chat, text, or social media. 60% of car shoppers would use a “call” button if it were available in a search ad. Call extensions should be a standard feature to your mobile ads, but making sure your call extensions are running during your operating hours, and are tracking Call Forwarding numbers will drive your dealership phone leads.

Optimizing your mobile site to allow phone calls can also increase your dealership’s mobile performance. If you are only tracking form completions from your mobile site, you could be missing half of your website conversions.

2.    Target Automotive Keyword Trends with Mobile Ads

Thanks to search term reports, marketers have easy access to the search terms that are rising in the mobile landscape. Since 2015, there have been two keyword trends that are increasing in popularity in mobile auctions:

  1. Price Searches: more shoppers are searching for the prices of their vehicle of interest on mobile. By targeting “MSRP” and price keywords, you can help shoppers make quick decisions regarding the vehicle they’d like to purchase.
  2. Near Me Searches: 80% of searches for “car dealership near me” were made on mobile. By enabling location extensions, you can appear on the top results for shoppers looking for the nearest location to them.

3.    Target On-the-Lot Shoppers

Shoppers carry their mobile phones everywhere they go. Even once a shopper arrives at the lot, they are still comparing price and inventory with other local dealerships. Here are the strategies you should use to target on-the-lot shoppers:

  • Run geotargeted ads for your dealership, and your competitors
  • Use ad copy emphasizing savings and inventory
  • Include call extensions so customers can quickly connect with your team

4.    The Power of Facebook

Canadians spend one out of every four minutes of their time spent on mobile surfing Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is effective in the consideration phase of the customer journey since targeting includes options such as vehicles of interest, current vehicle, life events, and many more. Utilize Facebook ad formats and targeting to reach your customers where they are the most.

Mobile marketing can provide your dealership with plenty of strategies to drive sales offline. Don’t let your dealership fall behind on the shift and contact the experts at Strathcom Media at 1 (888) 914-1444.

Facebook Is A Must-Have Advertising Platform

In March 2016, Google came out with a case study that highlights how the modern car buying process predominantly involves digital interactions, 71% of which occurred on mobile devices. In November 2015 they stated that 1 in 4 car buyers turned to mobile every day to do research on vehicles prior to purchasing. Google’s 5 big moments should be something all digital marketers think about, which is why I think Facebook is an advertising platform that will strengthen any marketing efforts if executed properly.

Facebook advertising can help you generate more credible leads.Facebook has over 1.65 billion monthly Facebook users1 and that number grows each year. On average, users spend approximately 20 minutes on each Facebook session2. In Canada, about 21 million people are on Facebook and about 16 million of those users are on Facebook every day. Just the sheer amount of daily users should be enough to consider advertising on Facebook, and we haven’t even gone into the features and tools that help you get more leads and engage potential and past customers. Not to mention, you’ve probably heard more than once that everyone is always on their phone. Well, 1 out of every 4 minutes spent on mobile is spent on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Connect with potential customers via Facebook and InstagramIf you want to compete and get ahead of your competitors you should be where people spend their time – Facebook. Not only will people be familiar with your brand, but the people who are truly interested in purchasing will interact with you on Facebook. How, you ask?

  • Your ads can generate website or page traffic which can result in a lead.
  • Competing to engage with people interested in makes or models outside of your own.
  • Facebook allows users to fill out a form directly on the app or website.

The third point should stand out the most. Facebook has lead ads that allow users to fill out a form quickly through Facebook. You don’t even need to worry about a form being too long. Facebook pre-populates their info reducing the time it takes a user to fill out a form. Which means you get all the information you need to get more qualified leads.

Want the best strategies and optimizations for Facebook and Google? Contact one of our Strathcom Online Marketers to learn more.

Statista
Fast Company

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?”