Google Externship

Last week, Strathcom Media had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive 2-day “Google Externship” with Googler, Caitlin. As a first-time Edmonton-visitor, Caitlin was pleased to learn more about our Canadian culture and hear that Edmonton (yes, just Edmonton) was hosting 9 sold-out Garth Brooks concerts!

During her time with us, she was able to share her expertise of Google products and optimizations in order to help us improve some of our AdWords accounts. In addition to doing deep dives into specific accounts, she also provided us with insider tips and tricks on how to improve efficiency in our daily tasks and shared new insights and different ways to use Google products.Close-up view of Google apps on an Android smartphone, including Chrome, Gmail, Maps.

We all know the importance of Google and its impact on our daily lives. Whether it’s to learn more about a topic or to settle an argument, anyone can just “Google it” and find everything they need. In fact, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and the use of search engines is expected to increase by another 15% in 2017. Additionally, 84% of new car buyers and 68% of used car buyers use Google in their shopping journey. Also, 75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search results, hence the importance of advertising.  As a Premier Google Partner, Strathcom understands how to get you noticed on the search results page.

Our ad operations and sales teams greatly benefited from Caitlin’s visit and we are now refreshed and ready to smash your advertising  goals out of the park!

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.

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!

Google Kitchener-Waterloo Breakfast Highlights

Baristas, hidden rooms, a cyborg moose, oh my!

cyborg moose at Google Kitchener-Waterloo

This week I had the privilege of visiting the newest and coolest Google office, located in Waterloo, to learn how dealers can capitalize on  their  fixed ops departments.  Here are just some of great stats that Google shared in their presentation:

  • $19 billion is spent annually on automotive parts and service in Canada
  • 80% of consumers who service their vehicle at your dealership are 2 times more likely to make a purchase from your dealership
  • Parts and Service queries peak in October and November

We also got to see some great stats from this year’s Think Auto Study:

  • 55% of buyers use their smartphones to research vehicle models while on the lot of a dealership
  • 56% of buyers purchased from a dealership with whom they had no previous relationship with
  • 77% of buyers are looking for vehicle promotions
  • Online video has a positive influence of 53% on car buyers in the market

For this particular breakfast, we were able to go on exclusive tour of the office along with our Golden Ticket contest winners. We will have another blog post including photos and some video of the office, so stay tuned! And to stay in the loop about our upcoming contests and Google events, please subscribe to our newsletter. Hopefully you can join us next time!

Google Think Auto 2016

Google Think Auto 2016
Massey Hall, Toronto, September 8, 2016

Another edition of Google Think Auto is in the books and, as always, it was an insightful afternoon from the online powerhouse.  The theme of the event was change, but this always seems to be the case with technology.  Technology drives change and creates the expectation of change.  We have all been talking about Uber, Air BnB and Netflix for awhile now, but it still remains relevant to be cautiously paranoid about someone coming to our industry and turning it upside down.  We need to continue to push forward and effect change.

Speaking of change, this year Google made some changes to their Think Auto study. They expanded their study from 3,000 car shoppers to 5,000 car shoppers which means that they have deeper data than they have had in previous years. This was also the first year that Google included a dealer-specific segment.

Here are some highlights from this year’s study:

  • Online video is continuing to become more important for consumers but is still not being fully utilized by the auto industry in Canada. Since OEMs are not producing the content, it is up to individual dealerships to start creating the content that customers are looking for.
  • The average car buyer is making 3 dealership visits, but:
    • 40% visit one dealer only
    • 23% visit multiple dealers of the same brand
    • 37% visit multiple dealers and brands
  • Prices and Payments and Booking a Test Drive are pain points for customers
  • 65% of shoppers have emailed a dealer
    • About half of customers are not happy with the timeliness or the quality of responses
  • Google is going to have a Dealer Digital Excellent Award this coming year

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

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!

Google My Business

Google My BusinessThis week, Strathcom had the chance to tour Google’s new office in Waterloo as well as hear what Google has planned in the coming years by the head of Google Canada – Sam Sebastian – and also attend some training on Google products. As a Premier Google  Partner and the largest partner in the Canadian automotive space, we find this training invaluable. Getting information from the horse’s mouth allows us to keep our clients’ campaigns top performing, and gives us insight into new strategies we can use to progress them even further. Not to mention, we can ask about our clients’ pain points, and that brings me today’s blog topic: Google My Business.

Google My Business is not a product to be bought/sold, but it is a roadblock that all of our clients have to go through. Having a well maintained Google My Business account is vital for any business. People want to know where you are located, see photos of your business (show people that renovation you just invested $1,000,000 in, for example), what your phone number is, what time you open, what time you close etc., and Google is where they go to get this information; being a business owner, you want them to find, and you want it to be accurate. Most dealers have a Google My Business account, but it has sat dormant for a while. The information is wrong and no one knows the login to change it. Here are the steps to regain access to your existing Google My Business account so those potential customers out there can find you.

Step 1: Sign In To/Create Your Google Account.

Use the same email you think was used to originally create the account, if you don’t know, a general account should be used, not an individual employee’s personal account.

Google My Business - Sign In

 

Step 2: Search for Your Business.
Find your Google My Business account by clicking here and search your business name.

Google My Business - Search You Business

Step 3: Select Your Business or Add It.

Google My Business - Select Your Business

Step 4: Enter Your Business Details
Choose the “Car Dealer” category, fill out as much information as possible.

Google My Business - Enter Business Details

Step 5: Confirm Your Information

Step 6: Verify Your Business

This is where people usually get hung up. Google has a manual process for verifying your business. For most businesses, Google is important to customer acquisition. You can imagine how many shady business owners try to go after their competitors Google My Business account, so there is a way around this: Google will send a postcard to your business with a code on it to enter into your Google My Business account page. Make sure to let your receptionist know the card is coming so they don’t throw it out with the junk mail.

All your information is now complete and accurate and will be updated across all Google properties.

When we visit Google offices around North America for training or meetings, the mind set is always the same – if it’s the user’s problem, it’s our problem – and Strathcom shares that ideal. The dealerships that also share this logic will find far more success than those that don’t. So make your potential customers life easy, and action this blog. Someone is on Google right now looking for a car, will they find you?

What’s New in Waterloo? Google!

Google WaterlooWe were honored to be one of only 16 Google Partners invited to come and spend the day at Google’s latest and greatest office in Canada’s tech hub – Waterloo, Ontario.  This is one of the many perks that we get as a Premier Google Partner in Canada.  The day was packed with insightful speakers, great content, exclusive training, lots of food, and a tour.

If you were not aware, we are giving away 6 trips in September to this very same office where you will be treated to a similar experience – click here for details and to enter.  You will not be disappointed if you win!  

So what did we learn? A lot!  We are going to break this down into three additional posts.  One on Google’s brand new Expanded Text Ads, another on every business’s favorite source of frustration: Google My Business, and finally, one on What’s New with YouTube.  

A little about the newest Google office first.  It is in an incredible building that was built in 1918 and was actually a former rubber plant.  It houses approximately 500 Googlers with the capacity for about 500 more.  These engineers don’t work on Canadian specific projects either; they work on big ticket items like Gmail, Chrome and the Ads Infrastructure.  Like all Google offices that I have had the pleasure of visiting, it has wicked food at the main cafeteria, mini cafe’s on all floors, a cyborg moose (what’s more Canadian tech?) a gym with a climbing wall, nap pods and a whole lot more.

Google Waterloo - CafeteriaGoogle Waterloo - Cafeteria                    Google Waterloo - Cafeteria

What did we learn? For this post I am going to focus on two speakers, the individual posts will take care of the rest.  First up was Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas.  Ben spoke about how Google focuses on the ‘whole problem’ and works from that perspective.  If someone using Google can’t spell, it’s a Google problem.  If the internet is not fast enough, it’s Google’s problem.  This type of thinking has lead to great developments like Google Suggest (you know when Google suggests searches before you are done typing) and Google Chrome, a way faster and way better internet browser than what was available.  Further to looking at the whole problem, he spoke about 10X and moon shots – essentially the big, big wins that will transform your business, maybe even your industry.  Google considers these types or products over small iteration.  This is how we get self-driving cars, contact lenses to measure insulin levels for diabetics, and project Loon (balloon powered internet for the remote parts of the world).

Google WaterlooAfter Ben we heard from Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, or the big boss.  Sam provided us with an unbiased look at what Google is trying to accomplish in Canada – mainly diversify away from search advertising.  He spoke candidly about ad blocking and that one solution will be for Google and Premier Partners like us to build better ads.  One comment that he made was that in 10-15 years every business will be a software business.  He provided examples from big banks and agencies and how software is starting to be at the core of all we do.  Whether he is right or wrong, I am going to learn how to code.  The last concept he shared that really resonated with me was about Yahoo’s sale to Verizon for ~$4.8B.  Yahoo was valued at more than $100B at its peak in 2000.  What happened to the other $95B?  No one knows exactly, but it is this type of event that constantly reminds him (and perhaps it should all of us) that we need to be a little bit paranoid about the next start up.  It is this paranoia that needs to drive us to hit our 10X goals that Ben outlined, to stay in business and not lose 95% of our value.

Overall it was a great day and it is always an honor to be invited to such an exclusive event.  For more information on the day and all the training we received, check out our three other blogs on the event:   Expanded Text Ads, Google My Business, and  What’s New with YouTube.

Thanks,

Duncan Cochrane

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!

Strathcom Media, Your Premier Google Partner!

These days, it seems that everyone is a Google Partner. Google has recently revamped their partnership program, and we are excited to announce that Strathcom Media is now a Premier Google Partner – the highest possible partnership level! So, what does this mean, exactly? Premier Google Partner

It means that Strathcom Media has delivered strong client and agency growth. Google awards this status to small-medium sized businesses that are experienced in managing large campaigns.

What does this mean for our customers? First, it means that you can rest assured that we know what we’re doing when it comes to making the most of significant AdWords investments. It also means that Strathcom is going to have more Executive Business Trainings that will make us more knowledgeable and able to share more insights and recommendations with you!

For more information about our partnership with Google and how you can benefit from this partnership, drop us a line at (780) 433-8844 or  info@strathcom.com!