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!

Does Your Website Reflect Your Brand?

How do customers remember your brand? What jumps out to your consumers and sets your company apart from your competitors? What are the benefits that set your brand apart from others? These are the types of questions people responsible for positioning brands focus on.

Continue reading “Does Your Website Reflect Your Brand?”

Homepage Elements with the Highest Conversion Rates

Conversion Optimization: probably the most important topic imaginable for building car dealership websites, and a topic we’d like to shed some light on. Here’s what we at Strathcom discovered during our tests for conversion rates!Print

A Call to Action is Like Asking for the Sale

You train your Salespeople to close the deal, and the same kind of logic behind that also applies online. There’s no denying the insane importance of a Call to Action (CTA), and knowing just when and where to ask for the sale is just as important. In our tests, we excluded clicks from top-level menus. Here are the stats:

The Most Clicked-on Webpages

  • New/Used Inventory – people like to browse, so let’s suggest taking a test drive, for example
  • Specials – let’s load this page up with incentives; that’s the idea here anyways, right?
  • Service Appointment

Highest-Performing Design

Button-style CTAs outperformed “image + text” CTAs. Main CTA buttons account on average for almost half of the clicks on a webpage, making them by far the most important CTAs to include.

Best Placement

The higher above the fold, the higher the conversions.


A Convenient Quick-Search Bar

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Users want to find what they’re looking for right away and if they don’t, they’ll go somewhere else. The stats:


One of the top-performing homepage elements to encourage conversions – we found in our tests that quick-search bars average around 20% of all site clicks.


  • Placement on the homepage doesn’t matter, as it’s consistently used wherever we put it – it’s just a matter of making it accessible
  • When placed lower on a page, users will actively scroll down to use it

A Ton of Links

One paragraph on the homepage could contain links to just about every other section of the site, giving readers an easy way of searching for and finding what they need. Stats:

Most Clicked-on Links

  • Contact Info/Location/Directions/Hours – some users are customers already, and they just want to find out where and when they can drop by, so let’s be sure they can find out easily
  • Book Service Appointment
  • View New/Used Inventory

Highest-Performing Design

Links with button styles, but ONLY when used sparingly – let’s be smart about how we use buttons.

For our testing purposes, “conversions” was defined as clicks which took a user to an internal webpage. We tested using heat maps, click maps, and Google Analytics data, and our tests were done over multiple sites with differing designs.

Three Things You Need to Know About the New Bing Network

From February 18, 2016 onward, Bing Ads will further empower individuals and organizations to achieve more. How are they going to do that?

Bing has been in Google AdWords’ shadow for quite some time. With Bing’s new network (and with you in mind, of course), they’re lined up for growth and success.


First, Bing has changed–and is still changing–the way we search. Let’s look specifically at Windows 10. In this latest version of Windows, you’re able to search for items right from your Bing-integrated start menu. It seems so simple. And that’s one of the reasons Bing has seen and will continue to see an increase in their searches–it’s so simple. Bing’s capabilities span across other devices, platforms, and partners such as the Xbox One, AOL, and the Wall Street Journal.

Second, Bing is setting up points of parity by remarketing the brand and offering an Ad Editor to Mac users for improved utility and usability. Bing wants to help you “Be There” during moments that matter, so these changes were no-brainers for ensuring advertisers had access to all the tools they might need with the Bing Toolkit.

Third, Bing’s statistics for search uniqueness are very attractive to individuals who love to test and then retest. Bing reports they get 1 in 3 of U.S. searches and 15 billion monthly searches around the globe. This number continues to grow. They even say 25 percent of clicks resulting from searches are exclusive to the Bing Network. This opens the door to so much more testing; for example, keywords that don’t work well in AdWords might be successful in the Bing Network.

Dynamic Remarketing 101

 Is it fair to expect to convert visitors on their first visit to a website? According to Hub Spot, approximately 96% of visitors that come to a website are not ready to buy….yet[i]. For the casual browser who is looking for more information, offering the visitor relevant information to keep them on your webpage for longer could mean the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Today, this is how most people search for new vehicles.

That being said, we all know that a certain percentage of bounce  is inevitable for any website out there, particularly when we are dealing with an extremely competitive landscape such as automotive marketing.

Continue reading “Dynamic Remarketing 101”

Poaching Customers Has Never Been so Easy with Gmail Sponsored Promotions

Google continues to roll out its ever-growing portfolio of services, introducing a unique advertising opportunity for marketers in the automotive industry. And they’re doing it through one of the country’s most used email services: Gmail.

The result is Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP). Now you can catch your customers at the breakfast table or on the bus each morning as they scroll through their messages, serving them up engaging, full-page ads and ensuring your business is kept top of mind throughout every step of the car-buying process.

There’s a lot of potential in this new concept. So let’s explore it some more…


A Little Primer on Gmail Sponsored Promotions

First off, how does it work? You start with just a small taste to intrigue the appetite. Advertisers get 125 characters to grab the attention of their targeted audience through GSP’s “teaser ad.” The teaser sits on top of the user’s inbox, includes a thumbnail image, a title, and a short description, and is the gatekeeper to a much more interesting and interactive advertisement: the full page “expanded ad.”

GSP Teaser Ad Example

What a teaser ad looks like to your customers


And now the main course, where you convert! The expanded ad is your chance to provide a persuasive and memorable user experience through your expert use of images, videos, and links to your website. This can be as simple as a standard image ad that can be found across the Google Display Network. Or, with a bit of coding and graphics knowledge, you can build something eye-catching that functions as a mini landing page, providing engaging information and a contact form.

(Don’t have coding or graphics knowledge? You know who to call!)

GSP Expanded Ad Example

Just one example of the expanded ad


What are even more impressive than the endless options in such a large, rich media ad are the ways in which you can target these ads across Gmail users. Gmail Sponsored Promotions uses the same targeting options as Google Display, singling out desired users based on filtered searches for interests, locations, and income-levels.

But it also has two additional targeting options that prove Google is the ultimate creep:

Keyword Targeting

It’s not poaching customers; it’s showing them better choices. Want to serve your ad to people who’ve already been in talks with other dealerships about getting information on pricing, or setting up a test drive? Keyword Targeting will let you do that; up to 500 unique keywords can be targeted and GSP will comb through the user’s 300 most recent emails to determine if they have had any correspondence related to your keyword or keywords of choice.

Domain Targeting

Determined to win customers over from a specific competitor? Through domain targeting, you can target specific websites found within the user’s inbox. This is great if you’re interested in getting the attention of users who may be receiving newsletters as part of a specific mailing list, or who might have a relevant website found somewhere in an email signature; just add the domain you’re interested in et voila! You’re now introduced to new potential customers.


Google continues to make it as easy as ever to reach potential customers with your message of choice. Contact Strathcom today to take advantage of Google’s Gmail Sponsored Promotions!

Google and Strathcom Media Gab About AdWords

As you might be well aware, Strathcom Media is a Google Channel Sales Partner. We work directly with a team from the world’s most popular search engine to ensure our clients receive all of the latest beta roll-outs, benefit from extensive audits and testing, and have access to the highest-level support.

Being on the Google Partners list comes with plenty of responsibility, and keeping our staff up to date on the latest innovations is key. So this week we welcomed Google to our office to meet with our Adwords Certified Team to learn more about what is coming down the pipe and what that means for our clients.


What’s Coming Up?

Target Ads by Household Income

Imagine if you could target Lexus or BMW ads to those in your area who make over $100,000 a year? Well soon you can. One of the most exciting features to enhance your AdWords Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the ability to target a user based on their estimated household income level and show them relevant ads. The income data is currently available in the US and provided by the IRS but should be rolled out in Canada by the end of 2014.

This also can work in the other direction: for instance, targeting middle- to lower-income neighbourhoods to show ads for subprime financing, first-time car buying, and anything thing else that might apply.


Google My Business Key for Local Search

The recent upgrade for Google Places to Google My Business will be an important factor during the next 6 months both for SEO and Paid Search. Make sure you have properly migrated your profile over to the new platform in order to ensure you capture these new benefits, such as location extension linking and enhanced map functionality for mobile.


Exciting New Google Events

Strathcom will be rolling out a series of events this year to give our dealers the inside track on the latest and greatest Google developments. Our first event this fall will be held at the Google Offices in Toronto, and it will give dealers a chance to ask questions and better understand what Adwords is and how you can use it to help grow your business. Google’s training team will provide the presentations. If you’re interested in registering for this free event, click here.

Get the Jist on Google From Us!

There’s much more coming out of the Google funnel, and we here at Strathcom Media are constantly evolving and trying new things like A/B Testing and UX Testing, always ensuring that our clients are on the cutting edge of the latest developments.

If you are interested in attending a joint Google-Strathcom event, or if you just want more information on Google products, please feel free to reach out to me at!

Is Your Dealership Leaving Co-Op Money on the Table?

Did you know that your dealership could have access to thousands of dollars in advertising cash that you’re not using?

Money on the TableMost dealers are aware they can get support from their manufacturer for spend on radio ads, print ads, and even television advertising. What some don’t know is that a portion or all of their digital advertising can also be covered too. This cooperative advertising, or co-op advertising, is a partnership between the manufacturer and a local dealership where the manufacturer shares the cost of locally placed advertising with the dealership.

Google Adwords is the new frontier in co-op advertising, and Pay-per-Click ads are powerful weapons in the successful marketer’s arsenal. Many brands were slow to get on board with search engine marketing (SEM) initially, but after seeing huge online advertising pay-offs for progressive companies like Ford, we’re seeing a snowball effect in the market for manufacturers like GM, Chrysler, Mercedes, and others.

“Many dealers are not aware that co-op advertising reimbursements are available not only for traditional media, but for digital marketing as well.” — Ralph Paglia, President at Automotive Media Partners.

In his article “Take a Free Ride,” Paglia notes how many manufacturers report that much of their co-op advertising budget goes unspent each year. Relatively few dealerships take full advantage of these programs.

How do you find out if you qualify for some of this free cash?

  • Contact your local Manufacturer Rep or District Manager. These programs often have very specific guidelines; walking through them in detail before selecting a provider is a must.
  • Some OEMs don’t have a formal policy, and will run co-op programs on a trial or case-by-case basis for well presented proposals. Work with a provider like Strathcom Media to put something together for them to review. The key is showing that this will be working to reduce your inventory and promote national offers, something every brand wants.
  • You won’t know until you ask! We currently submit co-op claims for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Ford, Lincoln, Kia, and Mazda stores. Your competition is definitely getting in on the action if you aren’t.

Contact Strathcom Media today to see if your OEM has a co-op program to take advantage of, and start increasing leads with someone else’s money!

Keyword Strategy for PPC: Baby Steps

Pay Per Click Word Cloud
We’re working on a new ebook about paid search advertising for car dealerships, but before it hits the digital presses we thought we’d give you a preview of what’s to come. If you’re setting up your first automotive PPC campaign, then there are a few things you will need to know, and keyword strategy is an important first step.

There are nearly endless combinations of ways that people can enter a search phrase in Google. That’s why, when you’re bidding on keywords in Google Adwords, you have the choice of three match types to determine when your ads show up on search results pages:

Video Via Google.

1. Exact Match

If you bid on an exact match keyword, a searcher will have to type in the exact same phrase (no more, no less) into Google before your ad will appear.

Say you bid for the exact match search phrase “chrome rims chevy ssr.” Someone would have to type that exact phrase into the Google search before your ad appears. If they typed “chrome rims chevy ssr truck,” your ad wouldn’t appear because of the additional word (truck).

2. Phrase Match

Phrase match is a little more forgiving. As long as the search phrase you bid on (in the exact order your bid on) appears somewhere in a user’s search, your ad will get served up by Google.

When you bid on “chrome rims chevy ssr” and someone searches “chrome rims chevy ssr truck,” your ad still has the potential to be served up.

3. Broad Match

Broad match lets you play fast and lose with your keywords, but just like a drunken gunman in the wild west, broad match can be dangerous because it isn’t accurate.

Synonyms, plurals, and singular forms of works all count in broad match. For example, if you chose broad match and someone searches “chrome wheels chevy ssr” they may still be served your ad.

Putting It Together

A successful keyword strategy uses broad match and phrase match keywords initially to bring in traffic for the purpose of testing which keywords are converting well, and then setting those proven keywords to exact match to filter out the qualified traffic.

Testing to further refine your keywords for qualified traffic is like panning for gold. You need to sift through a lot of poorly performing keywords to find the gold, high-converting ones, and then set those keywords to exact match.

If there’s one lessen you should take away before you pull out the guns, click off the safety, and start shooting keywords into your PPC campaign, it’s this:

Don’t be deceived by the quantity of traffic you’re getting with broad match keywords. Often you can be ranking for terms totally irrelevant to your business and wasting money.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use broad match—It’s just important to monitor what search queries are coming through if you use broad match, and to add negative keywords when needed.

We’ll cover more strategies, negative keywords, account structure, and metics for measuring performance in our upcoming PPC ebook. See you there!

Common Terms and Acronyms in the PPC World

What is Pay-Per-Click (PPC)? As a cost-effective way to get your website noticed online, PPC advertising allows you to place bids on keywords or keyword phrases that people are searching for. Every time someone searches for a keyword related to what you bid on in your PPC campaign, your ad has a chance of appearing at the top of their search engine result page (SERP) — and we all know it pays to be at the top of the page. The world of Pay per Click (PPC) and online marketing can be a confusing place, littered with terms and abbreviations that aren’t always explained. That’s why we put together this short glossary of key terms to make the world of PPC easier to understand:


Ad Position The order an ad appears on a page, especially in relation to where other ads are appearing on that same page. Typically, ads in positions 1, 2 and 3 show up at the top of the search results page, while ads in positions 4 and lower show up on the right-hand side, at the bottom of the page, or on the second page. Ad position is determined by Ad Rank. adposition Ad Rank Google’s formula for determining ad position – done by multiplying the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid by the quality score. adrank


Bid The maximum amount an advertiser is willing to pay each time someone clicks their ad. This is also referred to as the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) and can be adjusted at any time.


Click When a visitor ends up on a website by clicking on an ad on a search engine results page (SERP). Click-through Rate (CTR) Gages how alluring ads are to customers by calculating the number of times an ad is clicked divided by the number of times it is seen (impressions). CTR is a key indicator of account performance. Conversion When a website visitor completes the initial goal set by marketers (completing an online purchase, filling out a form, phoning a business, etc.). Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA) A bidding method that allows the advertiser to set a maximum that they’re willing to pay for a conversion. This is a feature of Google’s AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which is available to accounts that have sufficient conversion data to make this method effective. Cost-per-Cick (CPC) The amount an advertiser pays every time a visitor clicks a PPC ad for a keyword. We use terms such as average CPC, which is simply the CPC paid for a group of keywords in an AdGroup or campaign. Max CPC is set by the advertiser and is the maximum amount that they are willing to pay for their chosen keywords.


Destination URL The URL (Universal Resource Locator – think “”) where traffic generated by a PPC ad is sent to. This is set by the advertiser and can be changed or updated at any time. destinationurl Display URL The URL shown in the ad itself. It does not need to be the same as the destination URL, nor even be an actual URL on the advertiser or client’s website, but it does need to have the same domain. snapshot4


Google Display Network A collection of websites – that are not search engines – who have partnered with Google, YouTube and specific Google properties that display AdWords ads. They can be text, image, video, or rich media ads. google-display-network3


Impression How often an ad appears on a search result page or a site on a search engine’s network. Every time an ad appears on a Google search engine results page or on the Google Network, it counts as an impression (whether it is clicked on or not). Impression Share (IS) A percentage of the number of impressions received (how often a PPC ad actually appears for a related search query) divided by the estimated number of impressions that were eligible to be received. Eligibility is based on ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. Impression share can be network-specific (i.e. Search Impression Share and Display Impression Share for the Search and Display Networks, respectively). Impression share is like a pie, with all advertisers trying to grab the biggest piece.


Keyword Match Types: Google offers four match types and/or a combination of methods to help advertisers match their PPC ads and keywords to search queries: 1. Broad match is the default match type. Ads display when someone enters a search query that uses any of the words in a keyword phrase, or even words that are closely related, misspellings or plurals. 2. Modified broad match isa variant of Broad match. When a ‘+’ sign is placed in front of one or more words in a keyword phrase, the searcher must include that word in their query for the keyword phrase to trigger the related ad. 3. Phrase match: keyword phrases of this type can only trigger an ad when a query includes the keyword phrase in the exact order, whether or not the query has any additional words before or after it. 4. Exact match type trigger ads when someone searches for the exact phrase with no additional words in the search query. snapshot3


Quality Score An estimate of the relevancy a keyword has to someone searching the web. Three factors determine quality score: expected click-through rate (is someone likely to click the ad when they view it?), ad relevance (is the keyword closely related to the ad?) and landing page experience (is the page that the ad sends you to well-organized?). snapshot2


Search Engine Results Page (SERP) The listing of results returned by a search engine (e.g. Google) in response to a keyword query. It’s where you end up when you press ‘enter’ in Google search! SERPs are divided into Organic and Paid (PPC) results: SERP


View-Through Conversion When someone converts after seeing an image or media ad. This only applies to campaigns that are opted in the Google Display Network. This enables conversions without the need for someone to click on the ad first.

How to Create a PPC Landing Page

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) landing pages for lead-generating websites should focus on one goal: getting the user to submit a form. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact formula to building the perfect PPC Landing page. PPC Landing Pages need to be tested and tweaked according to what your customers want.


Outlining Your PPC Landing Page

Establish the Goals

What you are trying to accomplish? What do you expect the user to do when they get to the landing page (fill out a form, sign up, etc.)?

Look out for:

  • Competitors’ landing pages (what are they doing?)
  • New templates for ideas on how to design your landing pages (be innovative)

Target market

What type of user do you expect to visit your page? This will give you an idea of what information to include in your landing page.

Build custom landing pages for each ad group

If possible, have at least one landing page per campaign.

Don’t send traffic to the Home Page

Give users the path of least resistance to conversion!

Optimizing a landing page to increase leads:

  • Keep the page clean and easy-to-read. Don’t overload the user with unnecessary information. Keep it short and give them exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Make it easy for the users to convert. Include a simple form and an offer to entice the user to fill it out. The goal of a PPC page is to increase leads and build trust.
  • Clear calls-to-action and catchy text should entice users to convert.

A/B Testing

Use Google AdWords and/or Google experiments to collect data to refine your landing pages. The testing period should be at least a month (the more data, the better).

20 Quick & Dirty PPC Tips

1. Landing page headlines should match the ad that the user clicked to get there.

2. Make your call-to-action big and position it above the fold.

3. Use directional cues to focus attention on the call-to-action.

  • Examples include arrows or photos with subjects looking at the button.
  • Avoid being too flashy.
  • Where the call-to-action is below the fold, make the directional cue point to the bottom of the page.

4. A landing page should have a single purpose and thus a single, focused message.

5. Maintain congruence. Every element should be aligned conceptually with the topic and goal of the page.

6. Show the product or service being used in context.

7. Include your logo to keep the company top-of-mind for your users.

8. Edit to remove unnecessary content. Be brief.

9. Avoid visual clutter. Extravagant images and video distract from the main point of the landing page.

10. Minimize the page’s loading time. Avoid excessive images and clutter to keep loading times down.

11. Use relevant links. Not all users are ready to fill out a form. Give them additional options with links to relevant parts of your site.

12. Don’t fill the page with unnecessary links

13. Show social proof via indicators of your social status.

14. Test new ideas using A/B testing. Let your customers decide which message works best for them.

15. Provide an offer. This will entice users to fill out the form.

16. Include any type of recognitions or awards for your business: best in customer service, etc.

17. Use real testimonials for authenticity (if applicable and possible).

18. Simplify your copy using bullets. 

19. Form should be simple. We don’t need the users’ full profile. Ask for only the most important information and include basic information fields.

20. Keep it Simple and Clean! We need to grab a user’s attention in the first few seconds or they will bounce off the page. Remember, people have short attention spans.

PPC Design Example:

Motorland Enterprises GMC Savana - PPC LP

Why You Should be Remarketing Right Now in the Automotive Industry

It’s time to demystify remarketing advertising. It’s not magic. Nor is it some new form of alchemy to spawn gold from a few base elements. But it can still spellbind customers who would have otherwise left your website to go onto other exploits.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing, also known as retargeting, lets you send display ads to users who have visited your website and then left to browse the web. Through remarketing you can develop a personalized campaign that delivers display ads to people who have shown a particular interest on your website. For example, say you own a car dealership and a user is searching your website for a 2013 Nissan Sentra. If they decided to leave your website and browse the web, the same Sentra that they were viewing in your inventory could be delivered in the form of a display ad on another web page. This encourages them to return to your website and make the next step in the purchase process. Now doesn’t vehicle remarketing sound awesome?

Is Remarketing Right for You?

The answer is almost always yes! Remarketing is a great way to shift some of your print advertising budget to the online arena. You could compare it to cold calling a customer versus contacting someone who has recently inquired about one of your services. Users who have already visited your website and shown an interest in your products will be much more open to an advertisement inviting them to return. Statistics show that 95% of customers are likely to leave a site without making a transaction. Statistics also show that users who are the subject of remarketing or retargeting are 70% more likely to complete a purchase.

How Does Remarketing Work?

To start retargeting users on your website you put a piece of code called a re-targeting pixel on a specific part of your web site. As users visit this page, the code sends a tracking cookie to that user’s browser. As they visit other website, the cookie calls up display ads related to an offer or item that they viewed on your website. Google has a nice video description here: A variety of user actions can also be chosen to trigger the remarketing process, whether it’s a specific button or just visiting a particular page. The important thing to remember is that while remarketing will not bring new users to your website, it is still an important part of your online advertising effort. Your best chance for success is using a combination of tools to both bring in traffic and then retarget individuals.

Remarking vs. Retargeting Advertising: What’s The Difference?

Let’s get something straight: the terms “Remarketing” and ‘Retargeting” are essentially interchangeable. While some sources would like to tell you there are notable differences, when it comes down to it they are different titles for the same thing. Google generally refers to this type of advertising as remarketing, and Google’s word is gold.

How to Start your Remarketing Campaign

Strathcom Media offers fully personalized remarketing strategiesfor car dealerships. In our remarketing strategy we target more ‘sales ready’ users that are closer to performing an action on your website (say filling out any sort of form). By targeting users at this point of the buying process you can improve your conversion rates significantly and capture customers who almost have their foot in the door. What we offer:

  • A custom tailored Remarketing Strategy
  • Professional Advertising Design (Flash Ads or Static Images)
  • Monthly Ad Management (update Display Ads to match Dealers Monthly promotions)
  • Budget Management (to maximize traffic to the Site)
  • Lead Tracking

Don’t Frustrate Your Customers!

Remarketing is great, but it can go too far. To keep your customers from showing up on your doorstep with a lynch mob in tow, there are a few things to avoid if you want to keep them happy. Don’t let your ad frequency get out of control. Manage how many times your customers will be exposed to a banner in a 24-hour period. You should maintain a “healthy relationship” with your customers. Don’t let your ads become stalkers, following your customers around the internet wherever they go. It can get creepy. Give users a rest. Anyone can have too much of a good thing. If your customer has already purchased a product from you, give them a break from related ads for similar products and services. While your buyers shouldn’t be forgotten, they shouldn’t feel harassed either. Make it easy to opt out. It should be possible for your users to opt out of a campaign completely. Make an easy one-click solution either right on your ads or on your website.

Search Marketing Expo West – SMX West San Jose 2013

I’m off to the Search Marketing Expo West edition in San Jose California March 11th to 13th, 2013 and I’m ecstatic to be attending my first SEO conference. Having worked in the SEO industry since early 2010, it’s long overdue.

What is SMX?

The Search Marketing Expo is a conference for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) folks who have careers in the online marketing industry. It is three full days of over 50 sessions and keynote presentations. SMX West was created by the editors of Search Engine Land, a website that many search marketers trust to deliver credible information in the online marketing industry.

There are so many interesting sessions that I’m having a hard time deciding which to attend. My goal is to bring back the most benefits for our dealers, and I wish I could take in every single one of the talks!


SMX West Sessions

One of the talks I’m most excited for is “How To Groove To The Google Dance.”  It discusses Google’s many algorithim changes which on a near-weekly basis, and will help answer the age-old question of how to keep Google happy and save our dealer sites from the penalty list by using White Hat SEO tactics. The famous (in the SEO and SEM industry) Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land will be moderating this talk.

Another talk that intrigues me is “The Search Police: Matt & Duanes’ Excellent Search Engine Adventure” by the ever so famous Mr. Matt Cutts, the head of Google Spam, and Duane Forester, the manager of Bing Webmaster tools. Matt and Duanne will be sharing examples of what not to do on our sites and why. I’m going to ensure that I get a front seat for this talk, so I can totally nerd out.


Stay tuned for more blog posts on the conference and awesome SEO tactics and rules to help get your car dealership to rank and bring in more converting leads.

Google Tag Manager – Web code tracking management

Google Tag Manager to the Rescue!

Have you been drowning in a sea of code overload trying to keep track of your tracking codes on your website? If so, your savior has arrived! Google Tag Manager is a tool Google released this October to help manage tracking codes by keeping them all in one place. With this new tool you can enter and manage all of your tags in one location, and insert them onto your site with one little snippet of JavasScript code.

Monitoring the success of your website or Pay-Per-Click campaign wouldn’t be possible without strategically placed tracking codes placed on your website to see how users are landing on your site and where they visit before – hopefully – making a conversion by clicking a “contact us” button, or buying your product or service.

But implementing tracking codes can be a pain. Improperly implemented code can slow down your website and lead to inaccurate reporting data, and every time a new marketing tool comes out you have to retag many parts of your site. Often the worst frustration is waiting for a request to make it from a marketing department to IT – and by the time your tracking is set up, you could have missed out on valuable statistics that could have been used to improve your site and get valuable leads.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tool your Marketing department could view and add tracking code themselves? That’s where Google Tag Manager (GTM) comes in. With an intuitive user interface, it makes it easier for marketing managers to get the data they need, and even gives your markets the ability to tag live and publish changes in seconds.

GTM has a number of benefits:

  • You can add tags any time without waiting. It’s easy enough for marketers to make changes without having to bother IT.
  • Automatic error-checking and faster tag load times mean more accurate tracking data.
  • Templates make it easy to copy-past and auto-generate your code.
  • You have the ability to set rules to fire which codes you want.
  • Asynchronus tag loading means tags will load as they’re ready, and in parallel with other page elements. This speeds up your site and prevents the clashing of other tags.
  • Multi-account support and user permissions give large corporations additional flexibility

Learn about all of Google Tag Manager’s current features at Google.

How does Google Tag Manager work?

After you create a Tag Manager account you will be able to create accounts and edit permissions for anyone who will need to access the account. You can work with your IT department to implement the solution on your site, and in some cases all it takes is a single snippet of code.

You can define sets of tags and rules within Google Tag Manager. Once these are made live, users will receive an up-to-date configuration in their browser where the correct tags will fire. Tags are loaded more quickly as the manager loads them asynchronously, and the rest of the page will keep loading independent of the tags. No longer will a single poorly-performing tag limit your page loading performance.

Before you make tags live, you can view them in the preview and debug view of GTM. This allows you to check that tags are firing on the right pages and at the right time.

How to get started:

  1. Get your team involved: Talk to your marketing and IT teams and see if Google Tag Manager could benefit your business.
  2. Implement GTM: either have your IT team install GTM themselves, or hire an outside source to set up your webpage.
  3. Determine your goals for measurement: Decide what key elements you want to measure. With GTM you can easily change these elements in the future.
  4. Migrate to the new platform.

GTM plans to add additional tag templates as well as other elements including reporting on tag firing, support for A/B testing tags, and more.