Worldwide Digital and Mobile Ad Spending is on the Rise!

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

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

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

Consider how to target the mobile market

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Do Car Dealers Still Rip People Off?

sleazy car salesman

If video killed the radio star, perhaps the internet killed the sleazy-car-salesman stereotype. Of course there are always going to be salespeople that only have their own best interest at heart, but thanks to the internet it is much more difficult for car dealers to manipulate a customer like they could back in the ’70s and ’80s. All a customer has to do is enter the information for the vehicle they want into Google and can determine right then and there if they are getting a good deal.

As discussed in an article from Dealer Bar, the auto industry is very unique in that, “As consumers, we don’t blink an eye when buying a couch or a shirt that brings in 50% or more profit to the retailer, but car dealers often struggle to make 4% off of a vehicle sold”. Of course dealerships are still making money, but this distinction is something that car buyers should consider.

This is great news for car buyers! We can now make more informed buying decisions and we should no longer feel so intimidated when visiting a dealership. I think as car buyers we can begin to view the process this way:

“They aren’t your enemy. You want to buy a vehicle and they want to sell one. Your goals are aligned.”

Amazon launches Amazon Vehicles

We are experiencing a new chapter in the world of automotive distribution with the launch of Amazon’s new online car shopping tool, Amazon Vehicles.

Amazon Vehicles can be regarded as a giant car configurator and data bank where all vehicles from the U.S. market from 1996 to 2017 are referenced.

Visitors have the ability to do a multitude of things. Each model of each brand:

  • Can be configured (finishes, versions, engines, colors)
  • Can be added to the visitors “garage”, grouping all saved configurations by the user.
  • Can boast a complete datasheet with all manufacturer’s suggested retail prices

 

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Why Should You Hire an Agency to do Your AdWords?

Focus on your business knowing your advertising campaigns are in good hands!

Our Google Certified Paid Search Analysts have gone through extensive training internally, and are constantly learning new best practices, developing best practices for the auto industry, as well as investing in education and resources to make sure you succeed. Not only are we Google Certified for Google products, we are also well equipped to advertise on your behalf on other advertising platforms (Facebook & Bing).

Get an AdWords campaign that's tailored for your business

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Auto Service, Maintenance & Repair in Canada: Google Webinar Recap

Strathcom had the privilege of attending a webinar recently put on by Google and Mintel that focused on the issues and opportunities that exist for Canadian dealerships’ parts and service departments. Here are some key takeaways from Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst at Mintel.

parts & service department

The Issues

Canadians seem to be a little neglectful when it comes to vehicle maintenance! Mintel’s report shows that 19% of consumers bring their vehicles in for service just once or twice a year. Further to this, only 17% bring in their vehicle when there is an immediate problem. Whether it be financial barriers, scheduling barriers, or other barriers, consumers seem to be very hesitant to bring their vehicle in regularly.

There is also a strong presence of DIY (Do It Yourself) customers. About 10% of customers perform basic maintenance service on their own.

The Opportunities

  • Recent vehicle sales are up
  • Future sales projections are up. As millennials now represent 21% of the Canadian population, they are the most likely generation to purchase a new vehicle

This represents a great opportunity for service departments as these recent and future vehicle sales need to be serviced.


How to leverage this opportunity? What should dealerships focus on?

No surprises here…offering good customer service is a must. According to the findings, key components of exceptional service include:vehicle maintenance and service

  • Decreasing waiting periods
  • Having a mechanic or a repairman available
  • Offering free shuttle service
  • Offering a complimentary loaner car
  • Seamless spending: Assuring the shortest possible purchase path – challenge the convention with mobile technology and craft a payment process that makes it easy for the consumer
  • Making it easy to book an appointment – ask yourselves what prerequisite information is actually required. Are there ways to decrease the length or forms to make it more likely for consumers to submit the booking online?
  • Help owners track cost of ownership

Other ways to generate business from these opportunities include:

  • There is space for the service industry to leverage referral business generation. For example, UBER leverages digital referrals by offering a bonus to those that make the referral and those that receive the referral. Possible rewards could include a free car wash, or a discount, for example.
  • Consumers are also looking for tools that provide the reward / punishment system to help them better themselves. For example, just like Fitbit badge, digital achievements are acquired for achieving objectives.
  • Drive organic traffic by taking photos of your service and tagging photos to drive awareness among your customers’ networks. This is a great way to establish and expand on relationships on the digital space.
  • Attract the DIY customer by providing a high-level service class. This will facilitate relationship-building and rapport with the consumer.
  • The DIY customer can also be more price sensitive. Counter this by offering time sensitive promotions while the service bay isn’t heavily occupied.
  • Leverage YouTube advertising as DIY customers often consult YouTube for instruction on how to maintain their vehicle.
  • Perform efficient mobile marketing that will drive traffic with location based, long-tailed keywords
  • Customer service is still king: repeat business relies on good customer service

For more information, give us a call today! And for access to future webinars, subscribe to our newsletter!

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?

The Google Click to Text Beta: What It Can Do For You

We all know the importance of mobile advertising strategies to generate phone calls to your business, but how about getting customers to text you as well?  Similar to the click to call ad buttons, Google is testing the ability for customers to send an SMS to your business. With a simple tap of the icon, Google will launch the customer’s primary texting app, with a prefilled message containing your business’ information, and a message you can control.

Google's click-to-text feature gives your customers a whole new way to communicate!

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No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!

 

Credible Alternatives to Google Adwords Advertising

Digital Advertising is becoming the new norm – this marketing channel has rapidly developed into a preferred advertising channel and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies love digital marketing because of its ability to be targeted, engaging and easily measurable. You know your outreach is going to people who want your information, you have the ability to reach your audience when they are on-the-go, and the metrics of digital advertising are built right in so you can see how the channel is adding value. Google is definitely the leader of the online advertising realm with millions of Canadians using Google every day to search the web.

 

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How Should I Target My Location?

If this question has never crossed your mind, it’s a good thing I’m asking it.

There are many ways to target one city or location, but some methods are going to be much more effective than others. It also depends on the size of your budget. Obviously the larger your budget, the more you can target in regards to location.

Geotargeting helps grow your business

So let’s consider your budget. Ask, “What locations can I effectively target with my budget?” Asking the right questions will move you one step closer to targeting more effectively. On top of that, if you are planning on expanding your location targeting, can you still afford to target that many locations with your current set of keywords? The last thing you want is for campaigns that are providing a strong ROI to be in the hot seat when you open up the location targeting because they become limited by budget.

Once you have the available locations you’re able to target with your budget with the current set of keywords (or the select few you’ve chosen), you can ask “Is this a radius target or specific target?” In my opinion, you should always be targeting specific locations if Google allows you to. Heck, if you can target individual postal codes within a location, do that! Only use a radius targeting zone if you can’t target specific individual towns or communities.

Choosing the right geotargets is critical

But why?

The reason is, if you know exactly what kind of performance data comes from each individual zone, you can make smart bidding decisions. Pay less for less qualified traffic. Pay more for more qualified traffic. Or you can simply make the decision to no longer actively target that location.

There is definitely some leg work to figure out this kind of information to make more informed decisions. If you need some help, or want even more advanced strategies contact one of our Online Marketing Managers for more helpful insights or advice.

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.

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Marketing Decisions Based on Data; Seems Simple, Right?

Every manager and business owner out there knows that marketing decisions often need to be made quickly, and so we often rely on our intuition to guide us.

The problem is that our intuition can easily deceive us. By not asking the right questions and by allowing emotion to permeate the decision-making process, it can become easy to make a decision that will negatively affect your company’s fortunes. Therefore, it’s important to have a system of predetermined guidelines in place to support our decisions. We should challenge our intuition and ask ourselves if there is data and evidence to back our marketing decisions.

Google, for example,  has proven to be very effective in this type of decision making. Google tested 41 shades of blue to confirm which would bring the highest click rate on their paid ads. As crazy as the study might seem, this campaign enabled the company to generate millions of additional dollars in profits.

Here at Strathcom Media, we often get the request to publish a “GET APPROVED FOR CREDIT” call-to-action (CTA) button on the homepage, despite extensive research showing this particular CTA is seldom clicked. This valuable homepage real estate is unnecessarily occupied. Take the time to monitor your analytics and discover what meaningful CTAs could be placed on the homepage.

marketing decisions

The same applies when choosing advertising mediums to leverage. There is no lack of advertising channels to choose from (Google PPC, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, print, radio, billboards, email, direct mail, flyers-the list goes on), but how do you choose the appropriate channels for your dealership?

Some marketing agencies are notorious for promising significant conversion and lead increases in an attempt to lure in gullible buyers with too-good-to-be-true promises. This stains an industry that can potentially yield a very high return on investment.

That being said, a wealth of information gives us a great advantage, enabling easier decision-making. A good agency will use informational reporting to create marketing accountability and evaluate their value. In a digital world, there are so many metrics that you can measure anything and everything! A competent account manager will be able to break the metrics down for you in a way that is both understandable and useful.

Keep in mind that not all data is defined consistently. For example, if a marketing agency is promising to increase your conversions or your leads, ask them to define what a qualified sales lead or conversion is. Having a common definition of a qualified lead is imperative to avoiding disappointment. A confident marketing agency will have a strict framework for what does and what does not qualify as a sales lead.

A good place to start is by asking the right questions to define your advertising strategy. Here are some sample questions to help you figure this out:

  • Who is your target market? It is wise to conduct some research and take a look at your analytics to find out what your age and gender demographics look like. This will influence your answers to the other question below. (If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) connected to your website, do so immediately, as this information is easily accessible and invaluable.)
  • How do your competitors execute their promotion strategies? This may also influence your choice of promotional activity. For example, many of our dealers are executing geo-fencing strategies to steal customers from other dealers. How will this affect the way you react, if you choose to react at all?

In summary: Strathcom integrates these methods so we can better know our clients, understand our market segment, and identify weaknesses and strengths of our digital strategy, and then ultimately take the guessing and intuition out of our decision-making process. You can too! At Strathcom Media, we apply these methods in our decision making to ensure our clients’ marketing decisions and advertising strategies are backed and driven by statistics, keeping their minds at ease.

Women & Automotive Conference 2016

26216112171_84a074277f_bWednesday, April 6 was the first annual Women & Automotive conference at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, presented by Cox Automotive Canada. Speakers at this event included Erin Elofson from Facebook Canada, France Daviault from AIA Canada, and our very own Trish Rowsell. The goal of this conference was to bring together both male and female automotive professionals to discuss the challenges faced by women in the industry, and this goal was definitely achieved. There were over 200 attendees from all facets of the automotive industry including OEMs, fixed operations, finance, sales and more. There were also informative panels with an impressive line-up of speakers including representatives from Facebook, Canadian Black Book, and General Motors.

25677529574_6a1d86dc09_bOne inspiring keynote speech titled ‘Creating a Pipeline of Female Managers’ was delivered by Maria Soklis, President of Cox Automotive Canada. She discussed how reputable studies have determined that companies with the largest performance gains are those that have a pipeline of female managers as opposed to a token female executive stuck somewhere on the corporate ladder.

photo_2016-04-08_15-52-02

Trish spoke about how dealers can remain profitable in lean economic times and gave them straightforward, relevant strategies that they could take back to the dealership with them. Using examples from her industry experience, she gave dealers realistic and effective ways to decrease marketing costs and still reach, or even exceed their sales goals.

Even though the automotive industry has come a long way, there is still a lot of room for improvement. At Strathcom, we definitely know the value of having an equal workplace. Over half of our management team are women, and 75% of our sales team are women. We hope to see the number of women in the automotive industry continue to increase this year as it has been for the past 10 years, and we look forward to seeing even more attendees at the Women & Automotive Conference next year – April 5, 2017!  26216110231_0c84dd2f3f_b

The New Google-Yahoo Search Agreement

Google continues to hold the lion's share of the search engine market.

 

After taking a break, Yahoo and Google are getting back together in a new, non-exclusive relationship.  Yahoo has revealed a three year deal with Google that will allow Google to supply search ads to Yahoo’s search results page.  The deal sets up Google to provide search results and ads for an undisclosed amount of Yahoo search queries. The ads will appear on desktop and mobile platforms.  The new deal comes long after Yahoo and Google ended their first search advertising relationship in 2004 when Yahoo decided to develop its own service, Gemini.

Still have questions about the deal? Here are several other things you need to know:

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Car Dealers Back To The Basics: The 4Ps of Marketing

One of the first things any business student would learn in their marketing class would be the famous 4P’s of marketing which can also be referred to as Marketing Mix, or the definition of marketing itself.

Digital Marketing is defined by the four P's

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GM Launches Online Used Car Sales Program

Buying a vehicle is about to get easier.  General Motors announced this week they will be launching a new online sales program to purchase factory owned Chevrolet, Buick, GM or Cadillac online.  Catered to buyers who prefer to shop online, shoppers will be able to choose a vehicle and a participating GM dealer and use the Shop-Click-Drive feature to purchase the vehicle.

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YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC

It was YellowPages in the Library with the Candlestick!

A couple months back, Alexandre Brabant posted his experience helping a client decipher what was going on with their Ad Words campaign being run by the Yellow Pages Group, what he found was they were employing some shady techniques to increase the amount of money they were receiving for running the campaign – all behind the customers back. This gave us the idea to give you, the reader, some questions to ask your Yellow Pages rep or any rep who is running Ad Words on behalf of your business.

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Turn Even More Website Visitors into Leads

Advertisers love the ability to follow around potential customers with remarketing ads because it’s a great reminder to customers of their ever growing list of wants, as the advertiser patiently waits until your will power is at its lowest and for you to finally return and make your next purchase. You may even be running these images ads for your own dealership.

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

Now, what if I told you that you could have this same stalking ability but get your business in front of audience that is actively shopping for your products a second time? No more passive approach to remarketing, patiently waiting until a user is ready to continue down the purchase path. You can skip the waiting and now entice previous website visitors when they’re actively on the hunt again. How can this be? Well…

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