Having Issues Generating PPC Leads? Review These Great Ideas

Surprised man looking through a magnifying glass

Every aspect of your business is important, and you want to see a return on every dollar you spend—whether you’re a small, mom & pop business or a giant multinational. This includes your online advertising. While it can be disheartening when you don’t see the results you’re after, keep your head up! We’ve got some tips and tricks that’ll help you generate more online advertising leads.   Continue reading “Having Issues Generating PPC Leads? Review These Great Ideas”

To OEM or Not to OEM? That’s the Advertising Question

William Shakespeare in period clothing sitting in school desk with laptop computer shrugging at viewer.

As an automotive dealer you’ve got a lot to worry about. No doubt, when it comes to your business’ online advertising you’ve got a keen interest in sharing the most effective message that’ll have the most impact in service of your business goals—to sell cars. At your dealership, you’ve got a certain idea of what your business is. It has a certain voice, a certain persona that you want online users to get acquainted with; it resonates with your audience and eventually prods them to trust you with their business. But what if you’re not satisfied with the message or advertisements pushed on you monthly by your OEM? Maybe you think their incentive message is too weak? Perhaps too generic? If you run the incentive advertising of your manufacturer, are you simply settling for creative that doesn’t do your business justice? It’s a fair concern, and one that deserves serious consideration. This post delves into the question of “why” run OEM incentive advertising, and questions whether individuality in your advertising, at this level, might not be the hill to die on. Continue reading “To OEM or Not to OEM? That’s the Advertising Question”

Finding SEM-o: When You Can’t Find Your Search Ads

disoriented clownfish searches for his paid search ad frantically

I tend to walk around randomly during phone calls. A few years ago, I realized this as I saw my reflection in the glass patio doors and saw myself walking along the top of the couch. No idea why, but I’m at peace with this. I even move around absentmindedly on short calls, such as activating a new credit card, which I had to do recently.

I called the bank to complete the process, and after a few questions confirming my information, the rep completed the task and was very helpful throughout. I prepared to hang up and stop parkouring around my kitchen when she suddenly launched into an aggressive sales pitch for multiple other products offered by the bank. Identity protection, credit limit increase, insurance coverage – you name it, she was selling it. Continue reading “Finding SEM-o: When You Can’t Find Your Search Ads”

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”

Look Closer… Seeing the Difference Between Ads & Organic Search

Closeup of the word SEARCH on binary code on a computer screen.

“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” – Morpheus, The Matrix (1999)

I had to get up from the computer and take a walk after realizing that, at the time of writing this, The Matrix is almost 20 years old. It was a game-changer which has stood the test of time, much like another entity which is around 20 years old: search engine advertising (abrupt segue, I know). Continue reading “Look Closer… Seeing the Difference Between Ads & Organic Search”

Cool (or Creepy?) Ways to Target Your Audience

Red apple pierced by an arrow.

Ever wonder why after you’ve look at a pair of shoes online, you’re continuously haunted by ads for that store, or similar products? This is the beauty, and precision, of advertising in the digital world. And while many people have an issue with this invasion into their online privacy, whether this is a real or perceived invasion, platforms like Facebook and Google only have the users experience in mind. Collecting information about the unique interests of an individual and their tendencies creates a more tailored experience. If you like shoes, it would make more sense to see ads about shoes rather than furniture. If your search history reads like a new-age grocery list, with kombucha and faux-leather shoes and tofu — do you really want to see ads for a burger spot? Continue reading “Cool (or Creepy?) Ways to Target Your Audience”

Are Your Ads Mobile-Friendly?

Women hold the phone to enter the code to get a discount from the store. The concept of providing marketing services on the internet for easy access to information.

We’ve all heard it before, “the world is going mobile”. But that’s old news. As a matter of fact, the world is not going mobile — it’s already there (and that’s not just my opinion either). According to a recent study done by comScore, Canadians spend 59% of their total internet time on their smartphone. That’s an average of 3,927 minutes per user per month, and counting!

If you’ve got a website, you’ve probably got the mobile side covered, right? Site speed and responsive layouts are pretty well a mandatory feature if you want to reach (not to mention engage) as many visitors as possible.

But how about your ads? Are they also mobile-friendly? Continue reading “Are Your Ads Mobile-Friendly?”

What? There Are Other Competitors Advertising?

shocked and angry man at laptop

How to Compete When the CPCs Are High.

In the automotive marketing industry every day is a battle.  Just as it’s a battle as a consumer to find the perfect car; from navigating the internet, wondering if you can trust your friend’s recommendations that he or she claims will get you the perfect car, or just wondering where to begin.

One question emerges more than most when advertising digitally, “How the #%@$ do I get to be #1, or how the #%@$ can I compete against the top guns that are ranking #1?”

Well gosh, we thought you would never ask! Over the next few minutes we may change your life, by that we mean that we may teach you something new that will help in your future digital marketing efforts.

 What exactly is a cost-per-click?

Continue reading “What? There Are Other Competitors Advertising?”

The Key Benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads

Think of the last time you were out and about and found yourself in need of a good or service. Maybe you weren’t familiar with the area or just wanted to find the closest location. Our first instinct is to Google the answer, and with the Local 4-Pack, you are able to see at a glance a map with a selection of results for your area. In just a few clicks, you are connected with hours, directions, contact information and reviews. Clicking through on any of these results or on the More Places link sends you through to a larger map of your area and a fuller listing of applicable results for your area.

Imagine you are a business owner and you want to drive foot traffic into your location. You have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, and keep it up to date and well maintained. You also have Google AdSense set up to run search and display ads and have them targeted to your local area. Now you are ready to take your advertising to the next level. By linking your GMB to your AdWords and enabling location extensions, you have the option to start advertising directly into these local search results.

First announced in 2016 and rolled out in various forms through 2017, Google’s Local Pack Ads (also known as Local Search Ads) have begun to effectively integrate themselves into online advertising. Oddly enough, while these have become increasingly popular in America, we are just starting to see these sorts of ads show up in the Canadian marketing scene.

Google touts Local Pack Ads as having 3 key benefits…

Google's Local Pack Ads

Increasing Visits to Your Business

This is can be an awesome advantage for restaurants and boutique shops that want to able to target the foot traffic in their area or a home service that needs to be accessed on a tight time frame. A lot of our shopping has moved online, and while this can be an amazing everyday convenience, it does have its limitations. While a customer might research a big ticket item online, at the end of the day, going into brick and mortar store can be necessary. When these kinds of purchases happen its important for your customers to know you are in their area and ready to serve. Being listed before organic listings can help ensure your business is getting the impressions that might otherwise be lost.

Encourages Communication with Convenient Contact Options

On both Mobile Search and the Google Maps App platforms, the local search results have prominent call buttons that allow the customer to easily contact your business from the search results page. Note that this call information is linked directly to your Google My Business Listing, so its vital that this information is up to date. Additionally, this information is not trackable through Google Analytics as you might assume after working with call extensions within AdWords. This information is instead available to track through your AdWords account under click attribution. While this option is not available on Desktop, those customers instead have the option to click through to your website’s home page. Clicking through the ad will bring them to your GMB Listing, which then makes contact information available.

One-Click Overview of Your Business

When the client clicks on your ad, instead of being automatically linked through to your website, it will open your Google Business Listing. It allows the customer to get an overview of your business at a glance. Your location, hours, starred reviews, and the map are shown, as well as sections for Q&A, peak hours, and photos. The option to click through to your website and get directions are also available. This is the chance for the customer to get to know more about your business, and in particular, how your business interacts with its community.

While what Google has to say is true, its important not to let the flash of a new advertising option run away with our imagination. Its still a relatively new feature, and there are some outstanding questions on how quality score and keywords effect ad auction and position. This is a great new opportunity, and they are uniquely positioned to reach customers that are lower in the purchasing funnel, like customers that know what they want or need, and are now looking for a place to purchase it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these ads are in their element when it comes to businesses that are looking to capitalize on spur-of-the-moment transactions. It’s also important to remember that the success of Google’s Local Pack Ads hinges on the businesses interaction within their GMB account. Are the hours up to date; are reviews being replied to; are the questions being answered; are there recent photos and updates? You need to provide the customer with a good experience when they go to interact with your listing, because in some cases it might be the only online interaction they have with you.

At the end of the day, we should be viewing Google’s Local Pack Ads as a fantastic added feature, and not a new marketing strategy. If you already use both GMB and AdWords on a regular basis, it is a great opportunity to capture more advertising space in your immediate proximity. Interested in learning more about the benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads? Get in touch with us at Strathcom to learn more.

Last-Click Attribution is Fake News

The Stats: Conversion Rates, Goals & Assists

My personal favorite Wayne Gretzky statistic? If you take away all his goals and just count his assists, he would still have more total points in the NHL than any other player’s goals and assists. Combined.

It is worth noting, however, that a certain ageless wonder named Jaromir Jagr might just make this fact obsolete, depending on how much longer he can evade the chapped, grim clutches of Father Time. Especially remarkable, however, is that while highlighting the baffling number of career assists tallied by Jagr, the Great One remains the all-time leader in goals scored. It’s therefore safe to say that not all of his records are threatened by the mullet-icon. Continue reading “Last-Click Attribution is Fake News”

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: Continue reading “3 Misconceptions About Ad Quality According to Google”

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?”

Click-to-Message Ads: Starting Conversations Even Quicker

The latest and greatest from Google AdWords: Click-to-message ads.

Earlier this year, Google announced a new beta that would allow advertisers to augment their search ads with an SMS feature so customers could send the business a text message. With Google Consumer Surveys reporting that 65% of customers would rather learn more about a product or service through a message, it was only a matter of time before such an extension was developed. After a couple of months of successful testing, Google is now rolling out click-to-message ads out globally.

So how do these click-to-message ads look? Google played around with a couple different layouts throughout the beta testing and promises to keep testing different layouts, but it looks like the final layout has the feature sit at the bottom the ad, accompanied with a custom call-to-action.

Click to Message Image

When a customer taps the message icon on their phone, the texting feature of their phone is opened with a pre-populated message (as set by the advertiser) to help streamline conversations even further for the customer. For those who are looking to send a more creative message, the customer will also have the opportunity to edit the message before sending it off.

Be sure you are catering to your mobile customers and take advantage of this stellar feature today. Stay tuned for some best practices and initial performance highlights!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html

Build a Desktop-Focused Campaign in a Mobile-First World

Yes, you read that correctly. Implementing a desktop-focused campaign can get you a better CPA – not alone, though.

Close up of elegant young business men standing against the wall and checking their mobile phones.

Every day, users search on the go with their mobile devices. You never know where people will be, so you can’t lock down one postal code or small area around your store. People search from everywhere, which is completely different from a desktop search. That’s why we need to be able to focus on mobile and desktop separately, and by making both a desktop-focused campaign and a mobile-focused campaign, we can achieve this.

AdWords accounts should be taking advantage of the ability for device segmentation. You should have campaigns that focus on both desktop and mobile search. You can do this by adjusting campaign settings so the mobile bid adjustment is set to -100%; this will make the entire campaign’s ads and keywords never show on a mobile device.

The next step is to clone that campaign and set up mobile-specific ad extensions, bids, and ad copy (and don’t forget landing pages if you don’t have a responsive website). This ensures that your keywords only activate the mobile ads in this campaign.

Now you have one campaign bidding for desktop and mobile at the same time and can focus your ad copy to speak to mobile users. In addition, you can see the value come from each device-segmented campaign at a higher level, whereas before you’d need to look at a segmented view in AdWords, which can be a bit of a mess to look at.

For more information, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter!

Should You Use Responsive Ads?

In addition to Expanded Text Ads (ETA’s) Google has also recently released Responsive Ads – are they right for your business?

Depending on the website, you can feature different combinations of your Responsive Ads. A short headline with the description, a long headline and a description, or a short/long headline. All this means is that your ad will have more opportunities to reach your target audience while they spend their time online. Note that long headlines and description lines are 90 characters, while the short headline is 25 characters. They also allow for branding, since Google allows you to upload a logo and an image.

Increase your brand's awareness by including your logo

One concept to think about when using responsive ads is the number of characters you use in the headlines and the description lines. The possible combinations would mean that your ad will take on ad spots where your ad would make no sense without a concise message in the headlines. Additionally, because of the lack of control (i.e. telling Google an ad can only show if the description line shows), Google might feature your description but only half of it – due to the size of the ad. In other words: don’t say more than you need to!

Another point is that Google can’t show you previews for every type of ad , so the creative you come up with might not meet your expectations on different websites. It all heavily depends on where the ads are shown. I suggest controlling this by finding strong performing placements/websites where they show and excluding mobile apps at the campaign level.

Consider how to target the mobile market

At the end of the day, you should take advantage of responsive ads since they offer more than Google Text Ads. However, like anything else in an AdWords account, monitor them closely. You can let Google find strong performing websites, but rein in control right away when you find them. Don’t let these responsive ads run rampant! As soon as performance dips for an extended period of time let Google find better performing websites or change your creative and repeat the process.

Expanded Text Ads Best Practices

Expanded Text Ads (ETA's)

As of July 26th, Expanded Text Ads (ETA’s)  officially rolled out for advertisers everywhere. With up to 50% more ad space, text ads will now consist of 2 Headlines, an 80 character description line, and 2 display URL paths. With all of these new additions, how can we properly optimize these ads for the best performance? Here are 3 things you should be doing in your ETA’s to generate the best results:

1) Still include a standard text ad in the mix

Although standard text ads are expected to go extinct by October, you shouldn’t neglect the past format just yet. If you have a standard ad that is successful at generating qualified leads for your company, keep it in the mix with your ETA’s so you don’t lose out on proven leads.

2) Include the Call To Action (CTA) in one of the headlines

With the standard format, 25 characters was only enough for a headline indicating what your product or service was. Now with 2 headlines, you can now encourage customers to engage with your ad right when they see the ad. Don’t bury your CTA in the description line.

3) Optimize for clicks or conversions

Picking the right ad rotation is crucial in maintaining optimal campaign performance. By rotating for clicks or conversions, we can be sure that the ETA with the higher likelihood of desired performance will be shown more frequently.

ETA’s are a historic innovation coming from Google AdWords. If you are interested in how your dealership can start introducing ETA’s to your strategy, contact Strathcom Media today!

The New Google Ad Formats are Here!

expanded text ads allow 50% more ad textWe are living in a mobile-first world, and Google is now making it easier to succeed in this mobile-first world. Back in May, Google announced some huge changes to their ad platform. To make up for the removal of right-hand text ads, Google introduced Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Display Ads. These new features are going live in AdWords today!

Expanded Text Ads will be optimized for screen sizes of the most popular smartphones in the market, and will feature two 30-character headlines and one 80-character description. This will give you almost 50% more text for you to highlight your products and services.

Google has also built Responsive Ads for the Google Display Network to help your ads adapt to all of the different screen sizes we use every day – your phone, your computer and your tablet. These ads will provide 25-character and 90-character headlines, a 90-character description, as well as an image and a URL. The best part? These ads will fit perfectly across any website or app across the Google Display Network.responsive display adsStarting October 26, 2016, standard text ads will no longer be available. Get ahead of the competition! To get started with Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Ads, contact us today!

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.

Expand Your Message with Expanded Text Ads

Since Google has removed right-side text ads, there has been a void in this advertising space. This advertising real estate will not be vacant much longer thanks to Expanded Text Ads. This is the first  significant change Google has made to their text ad template in 15 years, and as a top Google Partner, Strathcom Media has been given the opportunity to try out this new BETA template.

This new template is designed to improve how ads appear on mobile devices – which is a huge benefit considering how prominent mobile searches are becoming – but there are many other benefits to Expanded Text Ads. First, the area for ad copy will be nearly 50% larger, which means more room for you to create a longer headline in which you can highlight your products and services. Second, you will now be in charge of a new, second headline. Third, and most importantly, as a Strathcom customer your ads are going to show more prominently in the Google Search Results Page.

Expanded Text Ads

This second headline and larger ad copy means that you now get 30 characters in your headline instead of 25, and 80 characters in your description lines instead of 70 as shown below:Expanded Text Ads

 

For more information on Expanded Text Ads, feel free to give us a call at 1 (888) 914-1444, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!