Facebook’s Heart Will Go On – Facebook Newsfeed Changes

Facebook newsfeed changes

The Titanic didn’t change directions easily. It changed directions almost reluctantly, because A) it was an ordeal to maneuver such a large vessel, and B) the staff didn’t want to cause concern among the wealthy elites on board (and I don’t have to tell you how that worked out; James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster probably handled that already). This example is an apt metaphor about how surging ahead blindly in a straight line, without planning far ahead for directional changes, can be the downfall of a large organization. In a recent statement from its founder, Facebook essentially said they’re changing directions, and they aim to avoid such a fate. Here’s what you can expect from recent Facebook newsfeed changes…

Time Well Spent

Facebook will often casually roll out cosmetic changes, to the mild and temporary frustration of users, but typically does not make major changes to the framework. So why the announcement? In keeping with the Titanic example, they must be observing something the rest of us can’t see – a distant iceberg that can be avoided in the future by acting now. Opinions on this bit of news vary. To the average user, the promise of improving the user experience sounds good. Speculation from some is that Facebook has observed a concerning trend of certain demographics dropping off in their time spent on the platform, and therefore they feel the pressure to, as Zuckerberg puts it, “making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” In other words, cater the experience to users, not to advertisers. Therefore, it raises questions for advertisers. Zuckerberg’s comments could imply that advertising will have less of a presence, and hinder the ability of companies to find and engage their customers effectively. But would Facebook really choose to scare off their investors if it was that simple?

For the average Facebook user, the idea behind this is simple; that users will see more of what they actually care about, which to some people implies less ads. Some people have assumed that it means, for example, instead of every 5th post being an ad, it will be every 7th slot, thus decreasing the total ads you are exposed to as you browse. But this is not the case. What Facebook is trying to avoid is the frustration some users feel when they view their newsfeed and see a bunch of posts that they care little about. We’ve all had the puzzling experience where we see things in our newsfeed such as: a friend you barely know liked an article from a business that you don’t care about that was posted by some other friend of theirs who you don’t know at all. That feeling of “I don’t care about this” is exactly what every digital content platform wants to avoid for their users.

Interaction is the New Engagement

Facebook has several ongoing measures to combat this type of negative user experience, such as the ability to un-follow people while remaining accessible as contacts, the option to “see less” of particular types of posts, and the ability to choose which of your friends whose posts you’d like to prioritize. All of these tools have been deployed because Facebook wants you to enjoy, and find value in, browsing their product. If you enjoy it less, obviously you’ll use it less, right? These tools are great ideas, and they are accessible as consumer-facing features. However, Facebook’s major update in question has more to do with the back end; the algorithm which determines what to show you without your direct input.

Speaking to our partner support reps at Facebook, our first question was whether this update could entail a decrease in available ad real estate (inventory, as they call it). The answer is that the opposite is actually true. Between newsfeed, right column, messenger, audience network, etc, plus a steady increase in total users, there is no shortage of ad placements available. What is more affected is the potential reach of organic posts, particularly those of businesses. Things like comments and shares on a post are going to be weighted more heavily than simple reactions (such as likes, or the other array of emotions available at the push of a button).

Strathcom Can Help

To reiterate these Facebook newsfeed changes: ads will still be shown. From an advertising perspective, this update is not a reason for concern. It is, however, a reminder of the importance of organized, regularly maintained, strategic, managed advertising campaigns. The best Facebook business pages have outstanding organic content, plus a healthy advertising strategy attacking multiple levels of the marketing funnel. Relying simply on organic posts will be less and less effective as Facebook endeavors to show its users more of the organic posts that they want to see and interact with, not just the organic posts that businesses want them to see. If you are of the belief that your business’s organic posts have sufficed so far, and you don’t see the need for an advertising plan, let’s just say you may not have noticed the iceberg damaging your Titanic, but don’t be surprised when you start to take on water and your Facebook traffic sinks.

Inquire about these recent Facebook newsfeed changes or about an online advertising package with Strathcom, and while we can’t literally make you “the king of the world”, we can at least keep your online presence afloat.

If you haven’t read it already, here is Mark Zuckerberg himself explaining the genesis of this change and the theory behind it.

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!

Use Messenger Ads to Reach Your Target Market

People already spend time on Messenger interacting with the businesses and brands they love, and now with Facebook’s Messenger ads, they will have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab.

Man typing in Facebook Messenger

These ads will include:

  • Messenger ads – found in the home tab of Messenger. When people tap on an ad, they will be sent to the destination chosen during ads creation; this can be your website or a Messenger conversation.
  • Click to Messenger ads – take full advantage of the personalized nature of messaging by driving people to a conversation after they interact with the ad in Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.
  • Sponsored messages – allow businesses to re-engage with people who have started a conversation with them.

With more than 1.2 billion people using Messenger, it is another powerful platform for you to reach your potential customers. If you don’t believe us, check out this recent Business Insider article that gives three examples of companies that were able to generate huge results from Messenger campaigns. One example was Tommy Hilfiger: during Fashion Week NYC this year, they found that 3.5 times more was spent through Facebook Messenger than any other digital program.

To find out more about Messenger and other ad methods available with Facebook, visit the Facebook Business website and check out our case study, or drop us a line today!

Boosted Posts are Bullshit.

There is no mincing words here: boosted posts are bullshit.

It’s definitely an enticing idea, sure – you get that notification that gives you a little digital pat on the back that the Facebook post you made earlier is performing better than 75% of the posts on that Page, and you can boost it for $X and reach up to blank-thousand more people.

And that’s when you mark the notification as read, and step away from the computer. Don’t click on it, don’t pick a number of days to boost it for, and don’t plug your credit card in.

We can give you any number of answers as to why it’s a bad idea, but here’s the only one that matters:

Boosting that post is not going to be the difference between selling another car or booking another service appointment, and is therefore not going to affect your bottom line.

I repeat: Stop wasting your money on things that don’t affect your bottom line.

frustrated marketing agency
This is the face I make when I see a business has been boosting the same post for any extended period of time.

Boosting posts is intended to increase the number of people who see, like, comment on or share a post on your page. Its sole purpose is to increase engagement for small businesses (which car dealerships aren’t), and the reason to want to increase engagement is to build a community that will regularly want to interact with you and purchase from you on the same regular basis. Boosting posts isn’t Facebook advertising – it’s paying to stroke your own ego.

The average Canadian purchases a new vehicle every 2 years†. With car dealerships, maintaining a regular organic (as in, not paid) social media presence is a key part of long-term customer retention and building brand, but it is not a definitive call-to-action to make a customer decide to purchase a car from you today. And I promise you – the boosted picture of a smiling customer standing next to their new car at delivery (that they then shared with their friends, and you received the residual likes and other engagement metric bump up from) is also not that call-to-action.

If you missed out on the webinar we hosted with Facebook last month, Nimalan Bala, the Client Solutions Manager at Facebook’s Automotive Dealer Solutions, echoed the same sentiment.

“The vast majority of your marketing dollars should be spent on your business’ objectives for building lead ads and driving traffic to your website, because again – your website is a great property. You spend a ton of money building ads and building your website, and there is no other competition on your website. There is only you. And how are you using that data, how are you using the website? Focus more on that.”

Your dealership should have a clear set of marketing objectives, and your money should be spent strategically to help accomplish those objectives. If you’re looking at paid social media (which is a great option), Facebook offers a multitude of ad types that can generate leads directly for your dealership so that you can sell cars, target customers nearby to come into the store to take advantage of service or parts promotions at your dealership, or view your dealership’s inventory directly from the comfort of the app they’re spending the most time in. Our team can show you any number of options or ideas that might fit your budget (and with Facebook advertising, it doesn’t need to be a huge one). But if you want to advertise on Facebook, it makes the most sense to do it in a way that you can measure, manage, and monetize. “Likes do not pay the bills – sales do”. (Noah Kagan)

†http://canada.autonews.com/article/20170406/CANADA/170409873/survey-finds-62-of-canadians-in-mood-to-buy-a-new-vehicle

Recommended for You

If you have ever shopped on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Expedia, you are likely familiar with the concept of recommendation marketing. However, you may not know just how effective this type of marketing is. In fact, Amazon’s recommendation engine generates 35% of their revenue and according to an article on Fortune.com:

“Judging by Amazon’s success, the recommendation system works. The company reported a 29% sales increase to $12.83 billion during its second fiscal quarter, up from $9.9 billion during the same time last year. A lot of that growth arguably has to do with the way Amazon has integrated recommendations into nearly every part of the purchasing process…”

Cropped photo of man using credit card to make payments Recommendation marketing is essentially upselling 2.0. Companies like Amazon, Expedia and Netflix track what you view and use an algorithm to determine which additional items you are likely to purchase/watch. A humorous example of this is the drug dealer example; when someone looks at a scale on Amazon, Amazon recommends a vaccuum-sealed storage container, rolling papers, and a spice grinder because these are items that are frequently purchased together.

How can auto dealers incorporate recommendation marketing?

One way is Dynamic Remarketing. This type of remarketing shows potential buyers ads based on the inventory they viewed on your site. For example, if someone viewed a Ford Explorer, you could show them ads for some other Ford Explorers in your inventory or other models that people tend to also look at; like the Edge, for example.

Another way is Website Personalization and Geo-Fencing. With these tools you can set rules that change the images, messaging and CTA’s on your site based on where the user is located and/or which pieces of inventory they viewed. If the user is a student at the local university, you can recommend vehicles under $10,000, for example.

young people view car ad

A third way is with lookalike audiences on Facebook. Lookalike audiences are when your CRM list is uploaded to Facebook and Facebook advertises to those that share similar characteristics to your current customers. Similar to how Netflix recommends shows to you based on what your Facebook friends watch.

If you want to get started on recommendation marketing or would like to learn more about any of these tools, drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter!

Every Country is the Best at Something…

When one thinks of Canada, what is one normally reminded of? Hockey? Maple syrup? Saying ‘sorry’ too much? According to a recent study, Canada is known for personal freedom. But if you look at the study, you will see that before personal freedom was listed, Canada was known as  the country that is on Facebook the most! At first I found this result to be surprising, but it turns out that Canadians are online and on Facebook more than any other country.

what every country is known for

So why is Facebook still not being utilized in the automotive industry? Why are millions of dollars still being spent on print ads when Facebook, Canada’s personalized newspaper, is where everyone is looking?

If you are not advertising on Facebook, now is a great time to try it out. If you start a campaign with Strathcom today, you will receive $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend.

To find out more, give us a call or sign up for our newsletter!

Facebook Visits Strathcom Media!

Facebook logoSome of our friends at Facebook dropped by our office to share some information about their products as well as to answer some of our questions. First, they shared some of their statistics from the latest quarter:

  • There are 1.8 billion people on Facebook worldwide and 550 million people on Instagram.
  • In Canada, there are 22 million people on Facebook and 17 million of those users are daily users.
  • there are 3.1 million apps available on the App Store and 82% of time spent on apps is only spent on 5 of them; the most time is spent on Facebook.

One question that we asked Facebook was: “what benefit does advertising on Facebook have over ‘boosted’ or ‘sponsored’ posts?”. This depends on what your goals for online advertising are. If you want Likes, Shares, and Facebook Friends, boosted posts are what you are looking for. If you want leads and to sell cars, Lead Ads on Facebook are what you are looking for. If you are unsure of what the difference is between boosted posts and lead ads, here are some examples:

Example of a Lead Ad on Facebook
Example of a Lead Ad
Example of a boosted post on Facebook
Example of a Boosted Post

Now what everyone really wanted to know: What advantages are there to advertising on Facebook that you won’t get on traditional search engines – even Google. Facebook was pretty transparent on both the benefits and shortcomings of advertising on their platform. Search engines are the perfect place for a dealership to get in front of their customers at the last possible second of the purchase journey; keyword-based searches drive high-intent clicks and conversions. While Facebook doesn’t offer keyword-based search ads, they do offer something that (we think) is even better, identity-based targeting. Facebook wouldn’t share their secret sauce with us but it turns out Facebook doesn’t use the traditional cookie-based tracking that most people are used to when attributing actions or generating targeting buckets. Through their technology, Facebook is able to track their users through their actions and behaviors on the platform. Your likes, comments, uploaded photos, hashtags and more are all used to to help Facebook determine exactly who you are and what you’re interested in. Because they don’t use cookies, there’s no risk of lost data when a customer switches between devices or clears their browsing history. This revolutionary identity tracking algorithm takes the typical interest targeting accuracy from 62% to an astonishing 92%!

It’s not just how Facebook targets customers that helps win over our hearts. Facebook is Canada’s biggest media channel with the average person spending an average of 50 minutes a day scrolling through news feeds, profiles and groups – think of all the possible eyeballs on your ads!

If you’re as excited about Facebook advertising as we are, it’s time to consider adding it to your advertising repertoire. It’s not just for sharing cat videos or baby pictures. Facebook is a powerful website traffic and conversion driver that everyone should be taking advantage of. Get started with Strathcom today and receive $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend!

WHY SHOULD CHRYSLER DEALERS USE STRATHCOM?

Strathcom Media is one of a few Chrysler Digital Certified Providers in Canada, but what makes us the number one online advertising provider for your dealership?2017-Chrysler-300

We are a recognized Canadian Premier Google Partner. Why is working with a Google Partner better?

Google Partners are well-versed in all things AdWords and must continuously meet Google’s standards to maintain partner status. Being a Premier Google Partner means Strathcom employees have certifications that are current and they are on top of the rapidly changing developments in Paid Search. This means we offer a competitive advantage to our clients and that you are receiving the highest quality customer service.

Being a Premier Google Partner also allows Strathcom to test Google’s beta features. When Google releases a new application or update, Strathcom gets to take part in beta programs before it is available to the general public.  This means that your dealership can leverage the advantages gained by using Google marketing features before your competition even has access to it!

Google encourages ongoing experimentation and requires Strathcom to demonstrate that we are actively doing split testing on ads to ensure the use of different keywords and messaging. A Google Partner that doesn’t continue to maintain Google’s standards can have their badge removed.

We are also a Facebook Preferred Marketing Partner, which – similar to being a Premier Google Partner – means that we have access to more insights and access to more training from Facebook. In fact, on December 3, we will be co-hosting a webinar with Facebook to discuss ways that Chrysler and other FCA dealers can take advantage of the slick tools that Facebook has to offer. If you are a Chrysler dealer, you can register for this free webinar here. If you are not a Chrysler dealer, we will be hosting Facebook webinars with other OEMs in the future, so stay tuned!

2017-chrysler-pacifica-first-drive-review-car-and-driver-photo-665923-s-450x274Aside from being a Premier Google Partner and a Facebook Partner, what sets Strathcom apart from other companies? First, Strathcom is focused exclusively on the Canadian automotive industry. Our knowledge and experience gained in this industry over the years allows us to know firsthand how advertising online has changed and we have adapted with it. With our knowledge, we can help you improve the results you are getting online, get an edge online in the  automotive industry, generate more leads and increase your brand awareness.

We also offer transparent monthly reporting on account performance, such as impressions, clicks and conversions. Our Paid Search analysts hand write a monthly report which outlines achievements and recommendations for your account. Reporting data is pulled directly from your Adwords and Google Analytics accounts – which you will also have full access to!

The best part? We are a Chrysler Digital partner that can help you claim co-op dollars through online advertising. Not sure what you need? Work with us to customize a campaign to your dealership. Mix and match Social Media, Search, Display, Remarketing, and even Hyper (re)Targeting packages until you get exactly what you want.

For more information, please visit: http://www.strathcom.ca/chrysler/ and register for our Facebook Webinar for FCA Dealers.

How Your Dealership Can Take Advantage of Facebook’s Messenger v1.3 Platform with Click-to-Message Ads

It’s time to start considering Facebook Messenger as a powerful tool in your advertising arsenal. The recent update to Facebook Messenger adds a lot more functionality to the platform and allows advertisers to start 1-to-1 conversations with your target audience straight from their news feed.new Facebook ad platform

Live conversations with News Feed Message Ads

Messenger ads allow you to use Facebook’s powerful targeting features and connect directly with prospects, your competition’s followers, or previous customers. Once a chat is started you can connect directly with users and have an in-depth 1-1 conversation. Or if you want to get more complex, you can run a “chatbot” to walk the user through a series of steps and provide useful information. Companies like Burger King are even using Facebook Messenger to take orders!

Follow up automatically on previous conversations

Forget your email list, sponsored messages now allow you to follow up with your target audience and remind them about sales, events, and relevant information. This allows you to keep the 1-1 conversation going with anyone who has engaged with you on messenger previously. The best part is that sponsored messages show up exactly like a traditional Facebook Message in the same chat window.

Share chats and get referrals

Users can even choose to share chats with friends, allowing your ad to go further and reach more people. For example, opting into your coupon for a “20% off oil change” or “$500 trade-in credit” and sharing the chat with their friend. Or you could follow up with someone who recently purchased or serviced at your store and ask them for a referral, the user shares the chat and their friends can connect with you.

 

Perfect for your dealership

These new features couldn’t be a more relevant solution to your dealership. Starting live conversations straight from an ad and being able to follow up much like an email list is exactly what dealers need to engage with car buyers on Facebook. You could promote a highly targeted sale with a coupon ad, deliver the coupon through chat and engage users through a live conversation and even set an appointment with the user. The user can share the same chat, invite another friend to your promotion and you can automatically follow up later with them through a message at a later date.

If you want to be one of the first to try out the new platform and find out how you can receive $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend, give us a shout today!

Worldwide Digital and Mobile Ad Spending is on the Rise!

After eMarketer’s latest update to their 2015-2020 forecast, the key points put focus on the growing spend and digital and mobile’s impact.

They are now predicting that ad spend is going to rise faster than previously expected. Having grown to $550.51 billion, global ad spend saw an increase of 7.2% in 2016. Digital ad spend is set to climb 20.3% to 194.60 billion for 2016. The increased jump is due to the recent Summer Olympics in Rio followed by the US presidential election.

From 2015 to 2020 ad spend growth is expected to maintain between 5% and 9% increase per year. eMarkerter also expects that by 2020 $724.06 billion will be invested in advertising.

Consider how to target the mobile market

Continue reading “Worldwide Digital and Mobile Ad Spending is on the Rise!”