On Tuesday, October 16th we had the absolute pleasure of hosting our Connect with Google event in Calgary, Alberta at the beautiful venue The Baron—and connect we did! We had a chance to meet (and have a beverage or two) with local dealers, as well as listen to a few great presentations.
We kicked off the day with Ryan D’Mello from Google sharing all of Google’s dealer insight data from their 2017 Think Auto study. Luckily for all of us, not only will the 2018 data be out soon but the respondent pool has grown by another thousand auto shoppers! Keep your eyes peeled for this data—we know we will be.
One of the concepts that Ryan spent time on —and shared tools for testing, in 3G and 4G— was site speed. Since Google is always looking out for the best interests of the searcher, site speed has become one of the benchmarks that they look at to determine a user’s experience. As a whole, automotive certainly struggles in the site speed category. Keep in mind results from the above testing tools are not automotive specific, but rather apply broadly across the internet. Strathcom, with our extensive collective experience working in and with the automotive industry, is completely aware of the challenges faced by dealership websites. This is why we’re currently working on several aspects affecting site speed and how it can be improved. One of our senior developers is actually writing a blog for our site that will be published next Thursday, touching on the ways in which site speed can be improved moving forward—often by doing more, with less. If you’re a current Strathcom client and improving your site’s speed is something that you’re interested in, watch out for next week’s blog, or contact your Online Marketing Manager.
Next up, we had our very own Nathan Leverette on hand to discuss the different advertising techniques that are working for dealerships—and some that just quite aren’t. One of his main points, was the importance of leveraging your customer database. Since no two dealerships have the same combination of people in their database, it’s an important asset that you can utilize. If you weren’t there, or are just looking for a refresher, some ideas you can use to leverage your database include:
- Targeting customers who bought new vehicles in the spring and summer with advertisements for your parts and service department, or winter tire sales, storage, and changeover.
- Excluding customers who bought new vehicles in the past year from your sales-related display and social media advertising, so that you’re not spending money on people unlikely to buy a new vehicle.
- Create a list of unsold prospects, and re-engage them with a why-buy message explaining the advantages of choosing your dealership.
- Targeting customers in the last year of their lease with information on new models and attractive residuals.
Last but not least, we had Jay Radke from r22.io really challenge us before happy hour with a riveting presentation on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Whether you’ve realized it or not, artificial intelligence is here; just take a look at the self-driving Edmonton Transit Bus cruising around the Henday, or the one zooming around the Calgary zoo for a couple of automotive examples. Jay spent a good amount of time talking about the importance of conversational artificial intelligence, and gave us a few examples to research, including Amazon AI, Facebook Deep Text AI, Einstein AI, and Google AI. He also shared a hashtag worth following, #FREEYOURDATA, which shares the latest AI advances pertaining to the automotive industry.
We want to thank everyone who attended or helped make this event happen, and we hope you can join us at our next Connect event. In the meantime, stay tuned to the Strathcom blog for further updates on site speed, and all things automotive marketing-related!