Hero Conf 2019 Wrap Up

Gritty and Phanatic

“The City of Brotherly Love.” “The Birthplace of America.” “The Place with the Weird Sports Mascots.” Auspicious nicknames are befitting of Philadelphia indeed, and in this fine city did an equally auspicious event recently take place: Hero Conf 2019. We had the pleasure of attending one of the online advertising industry’s largest conferences, at which thought-leaders from all over the world gather to share, challenge, and provoke the eager minds of the equally global attendees. Featured topics were wide ranging, from cutting edge theories on consumer behavior to optimal campaign setup for up-and-coming advertising platforms such as Quora, Reddit, and Amazon (if you can even call them up-and-coming anymore). As with previous years, the conference was spread over several days, with the bulk of the sessions taking place over a 2-day, inspiring, information-crammed, PPC marathon – and we are happy to share a summary of some of the event’s themes and takeaways for you here!
Continue reading “Hero Conf 2019 Wrap Up”

Turning Pro: Strathcom Takes in Facebook Marketing Pro Expo

the screen at the facebook pro expo event

It was almost a day like any other, only that myself and another member of the Strathcom team flew to Toronto to take in Facebook Marketing Pro Expo–an event designed to showcase Facebook’s offerings to select advertising agency partners. Only the best agencies from all over Canada took in the half day event in the beautiful West Toronto event centre, The Glass Factory. In a move to improve the agency relationship, which will in turn improve the client relationship, Facebook introduced Facebook Pro: their new Marketing Partner program.

wall with #facebookproExpo written on it

How It Went Down

The event itself was a great opportunity for Strathcom to network with companies Facebook has partnered with to improve advertising on the Facebook platform. One such provider is Shakr, a tool that lets you build out multiple ads with different content seamlessly, utilizing a user friendly, what you see is what you get-style interface. Along with these networking opportunities, the event offered the chance to connect with Facebook creative consultants to discuss ad creation best practices, and to converse with Facebook engineers to discuss the platform (and any issues that our agency has encountered). While lots of companies claim they’re always trying to improve user experience, we were able to actively influence the platform–which should net you real results! There were several lectures that our team attended, broken down by agency business practices: creativity, technology, and customer relationship management).

Creativity

Some of the key takeaways from the creativity lecture were:

  • Facebook’s creative shop works with 7 million advertisers to support agencies. Facebook itself works with 5,000 advertising agencies.
  • On the advertising platform 4 million accounts use Instagram stories every day, and 3 million users are using Facebook and Facebook Messenger stories daily. If you aren’t already utilizing this tool, get on it.
  • Good creative makes people do three things: think, feel, and do.

Technology

From the technology lecture there was one standout highlight–the impact that attribution modelling can have on a business’ advertising strategies. Facebook Analytics will now show you more in-depth, key insights on your customers. You will be able to look at customer’s journey, and opportunities to reduce drop offs.

Marketing Science

Marketing science helps businesses grow by transforming marketing practices, grounded in data science. One of the key takeaways from this lecture was the measurement journey that a department –grounded in a scientific approach to marketing– would use to measure success. This journey to better marketing requires you to have the right mindset, to test assumptions, and to create a long-term strategy that leaves room for growth. Facebook’s suggested format for this is:

  • Track the correct metrics. If they aren’t furthering your business’ goals, you may not need to focus on them.
  • Understand the results that Facebook is currently driving.
  • Optimize Facebook; have it work harder for you.
  • Determine how Facebook fits into your media mix. Spend the appropriate time to see the appropriate ROI. How does something like cross-device behaviour impact your marketing goals (which will impact your future marketing decisions).
  • Inform your media spend with better data! This goes back to tracking the proper metrics, and making sure they align with your goals. How much of your budget is allocated to specific channels?

These are all decisions that will help to build a successful Facebook marketing plan.

Unfortunately, like the holiday season, the conference was short and sweet. By lunch we had been filled with knowledge and Facebook branded products, and we headed toward the exit. It may have only been a half day conference, but we’ll see the impact of what we learned playing out for a long time. Fortunately, there was a little time before our flight back to our snowy home of Edmonton, so the two of us took in the West Toronto streets and dined on delicious hot ramen. The perfect way to end a chilly 23 hours in Canada’s little NY.

conor in front of facebook expo pro sign
“I don’t know what to do with my hands!”

Connected in Calgary!: A Recap of Our Google Partners Connect Event

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. Continue reading “Connected in Calgary!: A Recap of Our Google Partners Connect Event”

Here’s a Call to Action For Ya!: Create Better Content

The text Call To Action appearing behind torn brown paper

My Takeaways From This Year’s Call-To-Action Conference

In our industry, more than others, we are consistently challenged to break through the noise and engage individuals in a way that converts them to customers. This means creating better content.

The 5th Call-To-Action Conference, hosted by Unbounce in Vancouver, BC, was full of insightful and actionable ideas about the ever changing marketing landscape. From AI generated pages to a step-by-step walk-through of landing page audits, there were new things to learn and relearn throughout the conference.

Here are my top takeaways:

Continue reading “Here’s a Call to Action For Ya!: Create Better Content”

MDA UnWorkshop Recap: All About Local SEO

Local SEO loading

I recently attended the UnWorkshop event put on by MDA for Edmonton and Calgary automotive dealers. The moderators for the event, Jay Radke and Michael Cirillo, keep these events more hands on and collaborative—and less about being presented to.

This event was focused on local SEO with Darren Shaw, founder of the Edmonton agency WhiteSpark, and he performed a live audit in each city for one of the dealerships attending. Darren focused on 5 key areas during his audit, Google My Business, Reviews, Citations, Website, and Links. Below are a few key takeaways from the conference. Continue reading “MDA UnWorkshop Recap: All About Local SEO”

There’s No Place Like… MozCon 2018

purple gradient background with M | Moz Con logo and text underneath reading "Exceptional speakers. Actionable tactics. Fist bumps for all."

It’s been a whirlwind of a month for me, what with travelling to Calgary, back to Edmonton, and then off to Grande Prairie for the FCA Roadshow— but July also includes my favourite reason to travel in the summer: MozCon. MozCon is a 3-day digital marketing conference in Seattle, WA that is hosted by Moz, a software-as-a-service business that creates SEO products. This was my fourth time attending this conference, and second favourite visit overall–only beat out by my first experience. Before we jump into my biggest takeaways for this year, I wanted to touch on my first experience (since I’ve never had really had a chance to talk about until now), so that you can understand why this particular conference really stands out from the rest. Continue reading “There’s No Place Like… MozCon 2018”

The 2018 FCA Digital Roadshow: A Recap

Pink wheeled roller derby skate

 

Why Local SEO Matters

It’s that time of year again! No, not for the Roller Derby Championship, but for the FCA Digital Road Show–which has been hitting cities since the beginning of April for all of their Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram stores. The Strathcom team was fortunate enough to tag along on five stops this year, hitting Barrie and Markham in Ontario, and Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie in Alberta. The purpose of these stops are to get all of the FCA Digital Vendors in one room to help educate and bring new topics to light for FCA dealers. In other words, it’s a bit like vendor speed dating–we each get a table, and the dealers strap on their (metaphorical) quad skates to rotate through, every 20 minutes, and have a more personal, one-on-one conversation with each vendor. Continue reading “The 2018 FCA Digital Roadshow: A Recap”

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW

think auto screen

June 21st has come and gone, and yet another Google Think Auto conference is in the books. Moving this hotly anticipated event from September to June was a solid choice by the Google team — can you blame us for thinking that? We live in Edmonton where it’s winter 10 months of the year and we were dying for some warm weather! Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW”

Google Think Auto 2018: A Quick Recap

Google Think Auto - Toronto Centre for the Arts, June 21, 2018
Google Think Auto – Toronto Centre for the Arts, June 21, 2018

June 21st was not only the summer solstice, it was also the day of Google’s 2018 Think Auto event. The scenery was a little different from the usual September setting, but we weren’t about to complain about the hot weather. Held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts for a second year in a row, the Google auto team did not disappoint with this year’s round of stats and insights! Continue reading “Google Think Auto 2018: A Quick Recap”

Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up

Hero Conf wrap up

The 2018 PPC Hero Conference (aka “Hero Conf” for those who prefer to abbrev) has come and gone, and we had the pleasure of traveling down to Austin to attend. As one of the largest online advertising conferences in the industry, Hero Conf attracted attendees from all over the world for a jam-packed three-day PPC marathon. With keynote speakers ranging from heavy-hitters such as Pinterest and Optmyzr, and breakout sessions hosted by some of the best and brightest minds working in the industry, obviously there’s no way to convey every detail of an event so rich in content and actionable information in one blog post. But we wanted to share snapshots of this year’s iteration, both in content and ambiance. Continue reading “Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up”

The 5 Best Showcases of the 2018 Edmonton Motorshow

Well, another year and another Edmonton Motorshow has passed us by, leaving a small hole in this author’s heart. For car-lovers, the excitement of actually seeing and touching the latest automotive machinery just can’t be replicated by the manufacturer’s “Build & Price” pages or endlessly trolling Kijiji for vehicles you in all likelihood will never own.

This year’s motor show was again a fantastic smorgasbord of economical hatchbacks, looming heavy-duty pickups, and ratified high-performance metal. Picking just five vehicles to represent the very best of the motor show was no easy feat, especially with the car enthusiast inside of me demanding I pick only the most powerful and most expensive machinery available.

Nevertheless, I’ve managed to shorten the list to just five vehicles that stood out from the rest for all the right reasons. So enough babble, let’s get down to business.

Continue reading “The 5 Best Showcases of the 2018 Edmonton Motorshow”

Facebook Summit Toronto 2018 – A Refreshing New Outlook on Facebook

Facebook Summit Toronto 2018

On March 28 in Toronto, specialists from across Canada came together for the annual Facebook Summit conference. It was a half day event which consisted of amazing speakers and great food – a full day of learning. After visiting multiple auto-related conferences, training and events, this was a refreshing change for this author as the conference had more of a general outlook about online presence, especially Facebook. Here’s what we learned at the Facebook Summit Toronto 2018 conference.

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We Came, We Saw, We Conquered – Auto Remarketing Canada 2018 Recap

Auto Remarketing Canada 2018 recap

Auto Remarketing Canada Conference is an annual event that brings together dealerships and vendors from across Canada to learn and network. It is a two-day event with sessions across various stages with multiple vendors offering their magical services. Strathcom Media had four people present at the event, with each of us trying to do a double duty of [wo]manning our awesome booth and attending sessions, and of course, one of our very own was speaking at the event as well. Here’s our Auto Remarketing Canada 2018 recap.

Continue reading “We Came, We Saw, We Conquered – Auto Remarketing Canada 2018 Recap”

Everything: Content & Social Event Recap – Training Day In the Motor City

Everything: Content and Social is an event put together by Digital Summit, a U.S.-based event company that specializes in marketing events throughout various U.S. cities. Strathcom attended this conference for two reasons: the first being it was close to Toronto, only four hours of driving; and the second being we enjoy learning and want to learn as much as possible from industry leaders in marketing. This was an eight-hour conference that occurred on March 23, 2018, with industry leaders from companies such as DocuSign, Best Buy, National Geographic, City of Detroit and Verizon speaking at the event. The event was set up in a two-stage format with speakers talking about various online marketing topics. Let me start this Everything: Content & Social event recap with the first thing I learned and that stuck with me from the conference: be relatable. Continue reading “Everything: Content & Social Event Recap – Training Day In the Motor City”

Dealer Huddle III – VIP Automotive Event Recap

Dealer Huddle III March 2018, Facebook Canada

Last week, the Strathcom team was honoured to not only attend Dealer Huddle III, but to also be on the speaking roster. This year’s Dealer Huddle Automotive Event was hosted at Facebook Canada’s head office in the MaRS Discovery Building in Toronto, On. Dealer Huddle is a VIP Automotive event focused on the future of Canadian Automotive trends, and it brought together an impressive list of speakers for a room filled with dealers and students from the Georgian College Automotive Business School.

The morning kicked off with an exciting presentation from Josh Bloom, Head of Autos for Facebook Canada. He really hit home on the importance of focusing on mobile and even stated that 80% of Facebook’s revenue is generating from mobile. Josh had some great examples of how to utilize video on Facebook and what to try to make it stand out on a busy newsfeed. The whole idea behind video is to connect with your audience — make it personal!

I was honoured to present at the Dealer Huddle Automotive Event and to go up right after Josh. Although his Wakanda dad-joke fell flat (if you don’t get the reference, please drop what you’re doing and watch Black Panther right now!), I was excited to showcase how dealers can put Facebook into practice. In this industry, we are inundated with data from both Facebook and Google and it can be challenging to know what you should do with it all. In my presentation, I was able to showcase how to make that data work for you. We went through a number of real-life dealership examples showcasing how you can use Facebook’s ad formats and unreal targeting tools to ensure you’re getting the right message in front of the right audience. If you’re curious to see those examples, shoot me an email – alecia@strathcom.com. Main takeaways from my presentation during this Dealer Huddle Automotive Event were to get creative, test absolutely everything and to find the right advertising agency to partner with to execute your strategies.

Mike Blackmore was up next to give us all a behind-the-scenes look at his experience in the automotive industry so far. If you’re curious as to what a marketing career in Auto could look like, Mike is definitely the person to talk to. He has a ton of dealership experience and has been the Chief Marketing Officer for the Harms since 2010. Mike showcased a number of tips for how to manage expectations, what a ‘normal’ work week might look like. and how he constantly works to stay relevant.

Networking is such a huge part of any marketing or Sales role and Logan Kierstead ran us through some great examples of how we can go about it differently. When we think of networking, I think everyone’s first reaction is to tighten up, clench their jaws and start sweating a little bit. It’s safe to say that it’s an uncomfortable exercise, so what can you do to get around it? Logan’s tips were to think of what you stand for (being confident, approachable, friendly, etc.), be patient, be consistent, and more importantly, be authentic. Utilizing platforms like LinkedIn are great for introducing yourself to new people and building valuable connections with others in automotive industry.

Dealer Huddle Automotive Event

After lunch, we had Adam Biesenthal from the Drive Auto Group run us through the importance of building the right team at the dealership. Some of the stats he shared were quite daunting, like how 39% of Sales Consultant jobs end in termination and the average tenure in the auto industry is 2.5 years, and yet it takes up to 3 years for an employee to reach their maximum proficiency. So what’s the number one thing you can do to change this? Have an onboarding plan! Instead of throwing a new Salesperson on the floor with little to no training and expecting them to sell 15 cars in their first month, show them the ropes, introduce them to the staff, and maybe take them for lunch on their first day. Do something different!

Speaking of that… Brent Wees was up next to give a killer presentation on Doing One Thing Different Today! Sounds easy, right? We all think that we’re multi-taskers, but really, we’re just half-assing a number of different projects all at once and talking about how busy we all are. Brent’s five tips during this Dealer Huddle Automotive Event were to:

  1. Research like the wind – ask yourself, can I Google this
  2. One day, one focus – no one can multi-task
  3. Stories, not selfies – take a quick look at your Instagram feed; what story does it tell?
  4. Be Authentic – everyone can see through the bullshit
  5. Understand the brand – the body of work you stand for and not the props you use

To finish up this killer day, we had none other than Brian Sencich to hit the stage. As the Auto Client Partner at Facebook Canada, Brian gets grilled with questions on the effectiveness of Facebook on a daily basis. Continuing with Josh’s theme of mobile, Brian showcased how your phone is no longer just a piece of technology, it’s a piece of consumer behavior. We’ve come a long way from the Danny Glover-Lethal Weapon days when we were walking around with the equivalent of a car battery just to make a call. Now we have more power with our two thumbs than we’ve ever had before. In the past, you could never say that you were able to sell your house the second day it was on the market because your realtor was smart enough to post it on Facebook and it was discovered by someone interested in the post as they were scrolling on their newsfeed while sitting on their couch at home. Mobile is what ties everything together for consumers and Facebook gives you the ability to connect with potential buyers on a different level. If neither of these focuses are in your 2018 plan already, then you are already behind!

Special thanks to Jay Radke and R22.io for hosting this great Dealer Huddle Automotive Event and bringing so many of us from the industry together. We hope to see you all out next year!

Interested in learning more about setting up a mobile strategy for 2018? Are you sad you missed out on this killer VIP automotive event? If you said yes, then reach out to info@strathcom.com to get more information and be added to our event invite list!

Decoding The New Consumer

Being a Google Premier Partner gives Strathcom access to events held by Google across the United States and Canada, and we got to take part in one such event in Vancouver on March 1st called “Decoding The New Consumer.”

With Google trainings and events, much of the info is about the data they’re willing to share about the trends they see in today’s consumers, and to no ones surprise, today’s consumers want accurate info and they want it now! Today, consumers are 80% of the way through their car-buying journey before they ever step into a dealership, so being in those moments to provide the consumer with what they are looking for can make or break your sales.

One bit of info I was surprised to see was that Google searches which contain “near me” – after years of increasing – are going down in frequency. Why? Because people expect Google to know where they are, so they don’t feel the need to say “near me.” If they search “Pizza,” they expect Google to know where they are, and show them the best option near them – no need to type it anymore. This is an ongoing trend Google is seeing where people are acting more natural with search; instead of ‘Googling something’ they are asking Google the same way they would ask their friends, which is outlined beautifully in this Google Home ad:

With the decrease in people searching “near me,” Google is seeing a 100% increase in people searching “where to buy.”

Next, Jason Fohlstrom took us through what Google and their A.I./Machine Learning arm DeepMind (they have an office here in Edmonton) are working on. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two buzzwords you’ve probably heard somewhere in the last few years, but most people don’t know that A.I./Machine Learning already play a huge part in all our lives. They will affect 33% of all the world economic markets (that’s $24,000,000,000,000 – yes TRILLION!) in 2018. You’ve probably heard of it in use mostly with Google’s self-driving car project Waymo, trying to learn how to drive itself without causing an accident or killing someone. It has now driven over 5,000,000 miles completely on its own. This A.I./Machine Learning is actually available to everyone running AdWords today, whether it be through a/b ad testing, which AdWords will do by default with the ads in an ad group, and also through data-driven attribution, with which Google will be able to tell you which steps of the buying process should get the credit for a sale. This is better than giving all the credit to the last click in the process or through a linear model (which Strathcom uses) to give credit to all steps within the process. Smart Display Campaigns let you put in some creative, text and headlines, and your target cost per acquisition/lead, and Google will create the ads, figure out who would be the best people to show them to, and change the creative on it’s own as it gets more data on what the user is reacting to. They also announced targeting by life events, knowing who is going through a targetable life event like marriage, buying a car, graduating from college, etc, so we can show your ads to those people.

In the blink of an eye, Google can analyse 70,000,000 signals to show the right ad to the right person at the right time, which would be impossible without A.I and Machine Learning.

Decoding The New Consumer

Lastly, we had a workshop session where we saw how we could better pull audience data to create better audience lists, an audience list being a list of users who we can show specific ads to. One thing that was apparent from this session is that the journey is fragmented; people are not all taking the same road when it comes to purchasing, and the more signals we can collect, the better. At the event, Google announced that Map data will now be included in the in-market segment data, so when google A.I. is looking for the best person to show your Ford ad to, they can see that people search for a Ford dealership in Google Maps and opt to show that person your Ford ad. Another great stat Google shared was that 80% of a user’s time is spent outside of search. We know search is usually the main driver of leads, and that needs to be the first place an auto dealer should be, but considering only 41% of users will actually contact a dealership prior to visiting it, it’s also important to diversify your online advertising portfolio and get what you want to sell in front of the right person at the right time, even if it means that person isn’t going to send you a cold hard lead. What better place to do that than the second largest search engine, YouTube! YouTube has always been known as more of a branding play; you can’t expect to get many leads from it, but it is a platform that lots of consumers use in their journey, including for car test drives, car reviews, car walk arounds, etc, so if you want them to find your business, you should be there.

Google made another announcement at the Decoding The New Consumer event, and that is they will now have CPA bidding for YouTube, which means we can set a target cost per lead, that Google will try to reach using A.I.. You have to be reasonable with it though; if you say you want to have a cost per lead of $2, it’s not going to work. You should start with what you would be happy with as a cost per lead (which should be a little less than what the lead would be worth to you) and then Google will work toward that as well as work toward lowering that.

Many of these insights will be shared on https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-ca/ eventually, so keep an eye out there and here on the Strathcom blog too for more updates on what’s happening in the online advertising industry!

DealerTalkX Toronto 2017

Another conference is in the books! DealerTalkX in Toronto took place November 16th in a very hipster and industrial venue called the Warehouse. Although it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, and our Uber might have dropped us off at the wrong door, the content presented made it well worth the trip.

DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse, Toronto, ON
DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse

The morning started off with an interesting presentation from Malte Kruger from Mobile.de which is Germany’s largest vehicle market. He spoke about the importance of reviews when it comes to a vehicle market place and how a German Audi dealership gained 1000 reviews in just 18 months. The key – ask! If you don’t ask for the review, why would your customers think to give you one? Continue reading “DealerTalkX Toronto 2017”