You Ask We Answer: Paid Search

pay per click lolo

Welcome to a brand-new installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*still waiting on that production budget, Bill*). We know navigating the vast tapestry of the internet can sometimes be difficult and a little overwhelming, which is why we host our weekly webinars for you to up your online savvy without the negative, thick-framed glasses-wearing, man-bun connotations that come along with it! 

For today’s webinar, we asked our Director of Online Advertising and Home Alone aficionado, Nathan Leverette, to answer any of your questions and concerns regarding Paid Search (as the organic search specialist writing this blog begrudgingly sat and watched in the corner while we recorded). We’ve embedded the webinar video below, along with a transcription of everything we discussed so you can follow along below!

Continue reading “You Ask We Answer: Paid Search”

Think with Google – Online Video Planning

Camera lens with lense reflections.

The Think with Google resource gives us online video planning tips for success with online videos. The first tip is to be mobile-minded. Google’s research found that viewers who watched an ad twice on mobile had – on average – a significant lift of 23% in unaided brand awareness, and 47% in unaided ad recall.

Think with Google also suggests to put YouTube alongside TV. But for most small to medium businesses, this might not be as easy as it would be for big-box businesses. So what’s the alternative? Put YouTube alongside Facebook. Not only are you adhering to the first tip, but you’re also choosing to advertise on a platform where people spend their time watching videos. When was the last time you watched a video on Facebook? The answer is probably yesterday or when you were on your coffee break.

Facebook is also more measurable than TV because you can track conversions from pixels and generate leads right from Facebook through their lead ads objective. In addition to the ability to generate leads, you can also track performance and measure key performance indicators to see if it’s all living up to your expectations.

online video planning tips

You can read the referenced Think With Google content here. If you would like more online video planning tips, check out or previous post about YouTube or give our Online Marketing Team a call; and don’t forget to ask about how you can get $500 in bonus Facebook ad spend!

Adjusting AdWords For Mobile Traffic

According to a Google study of mobile traffic, 96% of people use their smartphone to get everyday things done. To meet those needs, people will use search functions – the resource 87% of people turn to first. In moments of need, people turn to their smartphones.

Secondly, they found that 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in-store had turned first to their devices for information about that purchase. To tie it back to the previous finding, they found 92% of those who search on their phone made a related purchase.

So what does this mean for you?

This means that you need a strong mobile strategy. Smartphone owners utilizing searches are likely to make a follow-up action, and another after that, until they meet their needs. Having a strong mobile campaign in your AdWords will ensure you are taking advantage of this knowledge.

mobile traffic

What can you do to have a strong mobile campaign?

  • Mobile-only campaign
  • Mobile-specific bids – mobile bids are different from desktop bids, so why treat them the same?
  • Mobile-specific ads and extensions – with extended-text ads, you currently can’t make ‘mobile-preferred’ ads; however, the mobile-only campaign will make sure these ads show only on mobile devices. Use mobile CTAs as much as possible. If you have historical data on extensions (that’s good), use it as a starting point in optimizing your mobile campaign.

At the end of the day, your AdWords account should be built with a mobile perspective first. Need some advice about mobile traffic? Contact our online marketing team today!

Read the referenced Google material here:

Build a Desktop-Focused Campaign in a Mobile-First World

Yes, you read that correctly. Implementing a desktop-focused campaign can get you a better CPA – not alone, though.

Close up of elegant young business men standing against the wall and checking their mobile phones.

Every day, users search on the go with their mobile devices. You never know where people will be, so you can’t lock down one postal code or small area around your store. People search from everywhere, which is completely different from a desktop search. That’s why we need to be able to focus on mobile and desktop separately, and by making both a desktop-focused campaign and a mobile-focused campaign, we can achieve this.

AdWords accounts should be taking advantage of the ability for device segmentation. You should have campaigns that focus on both desktop and mobile search. You can do this by adjusting campaign settings so the mobile bid adjustment is set to -100%; this will make the entire campaign’s ads and keywords never show on a mobile device.

The next step is to clone that campaign and set up mobile-specific ad extensions, bids, and ad copy (and don’t forget landing pages if you don’t have a responsive website). This ensures that your keywords only activate the mobile ads in this campaign.

Now you have one campaign bidding for desktop and mobile at the same time and can focus your ad copy to speak to mobile users. In addition, you can see the value come from each device-segmented campaign at a higher level, whereas before you’d need to look at a segmented view in AdWords, which can be a bit of a mess to look at.

For more information, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or subscribe to our newsletter!

The Outranking Share Bidding Strategy & How You Can Use It

The Outranking Share Bidding Strategy, it’s meant to do one job: automate your bidding to outrank ads. But just what does that mean for you?

If you’re in a competitive market and you want to make sure you rank above your competitors, then this strategy might be for you. You simply identify the competitor you want to outrank, and then you set a maximum bid limit. You also set how much higher you want to rank above your competitor.

In the event that two competitors are engaged in outranking share bidding strategies against each other, the maximum bid limit will be the safeguard. The maximum bid limit will put a cap on how much to bid on a keyword when a competitor is also running an Outranking Share Bidding Strategy. This will prevent your CPCs from drastically increasing. Without the maximum CPC ‘safeguard’ in place, you should expect CPCs to potentially get a lot higher.

Outranking Share Bidding StrategyOne caveat to using an Outranking Share Bidding Strategy is that you should be prepared to raise your bids. This strategy might not meet your goals if the budget is limited.

In the auto industry specifically, don’t set this to an OEM if you are hitting your budget cap. This is especially important against competitors’ OEMs. The reason is that competitor OEMs often have a larger budget and are set up with a large bid to begin with. However, if you have room in the budget, then maybe this is something worth considering.

Another case for use of this bidding strategy is in mobile-only campaigns. Most times you will have a general idea of who is taking that first or second position away from you on a mobile device. Simply identify who the main competitor is, set the strategy with a large enough budget, and then sit and wait for the results!

Why You Can’t Afford to Skip YouTube

YouTube has about 16.6 million unique users in Canada; if you are not advertising your dealership on YouTube, you are leaving out this audience and these potential customers. Here’s why you shouldn’t skip YouTube.

Before you get into the reasons why YouTube is absent from your marketing portfolio, let me tell you that recent studies have shown that viewers retain 95% of information from video ads as opposed to just 10% from text ads. With advertisers being charged only when users watch their videos, YouTube is one of the most effective and cost-efficient channels to market your business and yet, surprisingly, is also one of the most underused channels in the automotive industry!

Users aren’t just watching videos, they’re also being impacted by them. About 70% of car shoppers say that YouTube influences their purchase decisions. YouTube lets dealerships reach new visitors who are not only interested in their business, but also eager to take action. With call-to-actions on video ads, YouTube also allows potential customers to connect with dealers to begin their car-buying experience. Studies show that 49% of vehicle shoppers who watch a YouTube video ad end up visiting a dealership.

Don't Skip YouTube
Don’t Skip YouTube

YouTube also allows dealers to remarket to specific audiences. This audience might include users who interacted with your ads and are much more likely to be receptive to additional brand messages. Remarketing can reach users who have already shown interest in your dealership and bring them to your website. By letting you reach your most valuable customers, this can lower your cost per acquisitions. And yes, we just touched on one of the reasons that should make YouTube very attractive to your dealership. It is highly cost-effective, costing you only pennies to get your message in front of interested buyers.

Google researchers found that 92% of vehicle consumers visit YouTube every month. With an eager and interested audience like that just waiting to be engaged by compelling offers and enticing visual messages, there are more than 16.6 million reasons why you should be advertising on the world’s second-largest search engine.

Start building an effective YouTube campaign with Strathcom Media today! Call our team at 1-888-914-1444.

Include Bing in Your Online Marketing Portfolio

As a Google Search Partner agency, Strathcom believes we have the highest standards in Google AdWords advertising. We apply the latest tools and strategies to maintain top-performing accounts. But often overlooked is our ability to provide excellent performance on the Bing Ads Network. Bing has grown quickly to become Google’s top competitor in the search engine market, so it’s important for your business to not overlook its potential. But which platform is the best for you? Look no further, as we breakdown some of the highlights of advertising with Bing.


Bing’s Ads Platform is Identical to Google AdWords

Setting up and maintaining your account on Bing is practically identical to Google. The same tools and metrics used to measure the performance of your AdWords accounts are also used in Bing. Plus, you are able to import your AdWords campaigns directly to Bing , so you won’t have to recreate campaigns that have proven performance. Bing also provides a similar tool to AdWords Editor, conveniently named Bing Editor, which allows you to make changes to your account offline.

Setting Monthly Budgets to Campaigns in Bing

A feature available exclusively to Bing is the ability to set your budgets to a dollar amount that will be spread throughout the month, as opposed to capped each day. This ensures that your monthly budget is spent accurately instead of being over/under-spent during the month due to your daily pacing.

Bing Ad Group Settings

Unlike Google, which limits settings on only the account and campaign levels, Bing allows you to make settings at an Ad Group level. For individual ad groups, you can set advanced settings such as geo targeting, language, and ad distribution. This means that if you would like to advertise your pickup trucks to rural communities surrounding your dealership, but the sedans within city limits, you can do that without having to create multiple campaigns.

Multiple Bid-Adjustment Options in Bing

Google AdWords gives advertisers the ability to increase/decrease bids for mobile devices, locations, and the time of day, depending on performance. Bing takes bid adjustments one step further and gives advertisers the ability to modify bids for tablets and smartphones, age groups, and gender. If you’re noticing that the tablet traffic indicates high interest in your SUV inventory from females between the ages of 35-49, then you can set bid adjustments to capitalize on the opportunity.

Still not Convinced?

If you’re confident that killing it on Google is enough for your online advertising strategy, think again. Compared to Google, there is very little competition in Bing auctions, meaning a lower cost-per-clicks, better average positions, and higher click-through-rates for similar content. Also, when you combine Bing’s 13% share of the search engine market with Google’s 71%, you can conquer almost 85% of available searches in your market. At Strathcom, we provide optimal advertising performance on both Google and Bing. Call our team at 1-(888)-914-1444 to find out how you can get started in online advertising!

Up Your Video Game with Facebook 360

Facebook 360The next big thing in vehicle walk-around videos won’t merely showcase your vehicle from multiple angles; it will flaunt the vehicle from every single one of the 360 degrees.

Introducing the brand-new, open-sourced Facebook 360-degree video camera!

Right now, even the most progressive dealerships in the country are using some sort of spinning platform with different areas where you can attach lighting for best results. This contraption raises the vehicle off the ground and spins the car so you can capture it from different angles.

The new Facebook 360-degree video technology will take consumers’ increasing demand for more photos and video to a whole new level with full 360-degree video. They are claiming this is the “best camera of its kind”.


The How & Why with Facebook 360-Degree Video:

The Facebook 360-degree video camera is built with 17 component cameras: 14 wide-angle cameras on a flying saucer, 1 fish-eye camera on the top, and 2 more on the bottom. Using web-based software and new techniques in filming, you’ll be able to “stitch” images together and bring your customer into the vehicle in a new way. Facebook has created a webpage with helpful tips and tricks, best practices, and success stories to help you get the most out of Facebook 360-degree video:

Facebook is saying they’re not interested in jumping into the camera-manufacturing space, so they’ll be putting the open-source designs on GitHub sometime this summer. There are a few other companies in this space that have designed versions similar to the Facebook 360-degree video camera, but so far, there has been no comparison of video quality between them all.

Nikon –

GoPro –

Nokia –

The future of video shows a clear path into 360-degree viewing and virtual reality. If you haven’t started doing videos of your showroom and dealership, get filming and give the people what they want! What are you waiting for?

In the meantime, check out some AMAZING Facebook 360-degree videos other industries are doing:

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.

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.

Continue reading “YellowPages Advertising: How Not To Get Ripped Off Running PPC”

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”

Changing The PPC Game with Google Customer Match

In the world of Google and PPC, there are currently only 4 ways you can target potential customers. These include:

  • Keyword searches
  • Past site Visitors
  • In-Market Audiences and;
  • Affinity Audiences

Recently, Google – in their infinite wisdom – decided to throw another targeting method into the mix and it is sure to float the proverbial boat of car dealers across the world.

Modern advertising involves targeting the individual.

Continue reading “Changing The PPC Game with Google Customer Match”

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!

Google Analytics Terms You Should Know for Your Car Dealer's PPC Campaign

If you know anything about search engine marketing (SEM),  you’ve probably heard of Google Analytics.

What you see in Analytics is a whole other world from Google Adwords, and includes useful information for marketers.

Following up from our last post on common pay per click (PPC) terms, here are some common Google Analytics terms that are useful for you to know in the context of advertising for your car dealership.



Average time on page

Self-explanatory and very useful in conjunction with other metrics. A low average time on a page combined with a high bounce or exit rate may indicate that what is being shown on the page is not appealing to the user. In terms of vehicle dealership sites, this suggests that there may be a better way to sort the listings so that more alluring vehicles appear first.


Bounce rate

The percentage of users who left your website without visiting another page on the same domain. There are many factors that may cause a high bounce rate:


  • Having a single-page website or a landing page that does not link to anything on the same domain

In this case, there is nowhere for the user to go but back to the search page or to exit their browser. If your goal is a lower bounce rate, try to have more links on your landing pages.

  • A missing tracking code on one or more web pages

  • A less-than-optimized site design

  • User behaviour in response to site content

If unqualified traffic is sent to a landing page it will increase bounce rate, which is why it’s important that your pay-per-click campaigns properly filter traffic. This makes bounce rate a good indicator of a PPC account’s overall performance.

Why is bounce rate important? By flagging pages where users are most likely to drop off and leave your website, you can pinpoint where you need to improve. If a particular vehicle inventory page has a high bounce rate, you can evaluate that page’s product description, images, or even see if the price is competitive enough.


exitExit rate

The percentage of users that leave your web page to visit a page on another domain. This is not to be confused with the bounce rate!

It’s perfectly normal for some pages to have a high exit rate, such as a confirmation page for a form completion. However, if a page that wouldn’t ordinarily have a high exit rate does indeed have one, it deserves a closer look.



Google Analytics’ version of conversions.

Goals are useful as measurable targets that can be used to measure objectives not covered by a traditional AdWords conversion.

There are four types of Goals:

  • Destination – the loading of a specific location, such as a thank you page. This most closely resembles an AdWords conversion.
  • Duration – a visit of a specific length of time
  • Pages or screens per visit – the number of pages or screens that a single visitor views
  • Event – the triggering of a specific action. For example, downloading Strathcom’s handy e-book on how to Winterize Your Car Dealership – check it out!

This is not, by any means, all that Analytics has to offer. From demographics to traffic sources, Google Analytics provides a far deeper insight into user behaviour than Google AdWords.

While AdWords performance metrics show what happened in a pay-per-click campaign, Analytics can indicate why it happened.

Choosing the Right PPC Agency for Your Car Dealership

In this day and age you will find hundreds of PPC agencies that guarantee overnight results and success to get you tied down to a contract.

Before hiring a new PPC agency, you need to check its background, expertise and reputation. PPC management is not an easy task. It’s not only about analyzing metrics or creating relevant ad copy; it’s also about developing an effective strategy to make your account shine.

Analytics Strategy

How do you know which agency is “the one”?

A great PPC Agency will always do the following:

  1. Take the time to explain how pay per click works. A good agency will make it a priority for you to understand and be part of the strategy.
  2. Prepare a proposal based on your goals. This should be unique and made according to your needs.
  3. Be clear on how they intend to market your dealership through PPC.
  4. Be 100% transparent. The agency should specify where the money is going to be spent.
  5. Communicate effectively with you in a timely manner.
  6. Assign a dedicated account manager to help you at all points of the process.
  7. Have a design and copywriting team to give your ads a unique touch.
  8. Be able to explain how they will measure success for your PPC Account.
  9. Be willing and able to provide references.

Evaluating Expertise

Ask who will manage and optimize your account. You want to make sure the agency has actual experts that live and breathe PPC. Ask about their level of expertise and if they are certified AdWords experts. You don’t want to end up with a junior account manager that will only waste your budget every month.

Make sure the agency you’re assessing is part of the Google Partners Program. Agencies have to complete certain requirements to get into Google’s trusted partner program:

  • Maintain excellent customer service
  • Adhere to Google’s best practices
  • Run a strong and successful AdWords business

This certifies that the agency is a trusted expert and Google approves of the work it’s providing or offering.

google partner

The Evaluation Process is all about asking the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. The more information you get on how your account will be managed, the more comfortable you will feel with the agency you end up selecting.

Do your homework. Research PPC basics. (You can read about some common PPC terms here.) You won’t be able to become a PPC expert overnight, but understanding the basics well help you better asses the quality of service a PPC agency can provide. 


1. Is your agency familiar with the auto industry?

There are hundreds of PPC agencies offering their services to any type of industry. Ideally you want an agency that is entirely focused on the automotive industry. This means the Account Manager and PPC specialist in charge of your account will be more in tune with your business.

2. Is the PPC specialist dedicated to paid search?

This should be a definite “yes.” The agency you choose must be able to provide an expert dedicated to Paid Search. PPC is complex, and needs a dedicated expert to give it their full attention. Be wary of agencies with a combined PPC/SEO expert, as a good agency will have a specialized expert for each individual service offered.

3. Do I get a full access to my account?

The agency should provide a login/password for you to check your account whenever you like.

4. Will I get a monthly report? Are these custom reports?

The answer to this question should also be yes. The agency has to provide a performance report that clearly shows the progress of your account. Ideally, reports should include recommendations specific to your dealership on how to improve the account’s performance.

5. Will you review and optimize my account regularly?

A great agency will create a plan to optimize your account regularly. A PPC account has to be closely monitored in order to constantly improve its performance.

6. Does your agency offer any type of training?

Find out if the agency you are evaluating has training that can help you understand how online advertising works and how your business will benefit from it.

7. What are the types of leads you track?

Forms submitted through Paid Ads should be the only thing tracked as leads. A lead is counted after the user has submitted all the information required in a form and has been directed to the “thank you” page. Some agencies will count visits to certain pages as leads. This is not a good practice, and is a red flag when selecting a PPC agency.

8. What other services do you offer?

It’s useful if your PPC agency offers other services such as website design and development or SEO if you are thinking of expanding your marketing strategy in the near future.

Remember, the PPC agency you pick will be managing your advertising budget. Selecting the right agency means you can rest assured that your money will be put to good use.

Contact Strathcom Media for a Free PPC Evaluation

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

PPC Marketing for Car Dealerships

The purpose of Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is to drive traffic to your website to sell a product or get a lead. It’s no different for car dealerships. In a perfect world, PPC ads will get a customer to come to your website, phone your dealership, and finally purchase a vehicle. Any break in that chain is an opportunity lost.

PPC Marketing Chain

How can a dealership get more leads and sales with PPC?

Paid search lets you bid on terms customers are most likely to search for. It helps you capture their attention and direct them to the specific pages where you want them to go. In the PPC world, these pages are known as landing pages and are one of the most important elements in a PPC campaign.


What makes a good PPC landing page?

Car dealer websites need several elements to ensure a successful PPC campaign, and each element is dependent on the efforts of the Webmaster, marketer and dealership alike:

1) Quick Loading Time

Every second counts. Studies show that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and a 1-second delay can cause a 7% reduction in conversions. People are not willing to wait for a finicky website. Google search also uses page-loading times to determine keyword quality scores and ad rank.

2) Product Images and Descriptions

New Arrival Vehicle Photos

No one is going to buy something without looking at it first. When dealerships list cars with no images or poor descriptions there is nothing to draw in a customer’s interest. Take the time to snap some pictures of the car you want to sell, and put some thought in how to describe it. The effort will pay off in spades.

3) A Clear Call to Action (CTA)

Target CTA (Call to Action)

Now that we got the customer to our website, we want them to convert — whether through a lead generated by a form completion or the purchase of a product. A landing page that has the call to action displayed in a clear and unambiguous way makes it easy for the customer and can boost conversion rates.

4) Mobile-Friendly Pages

It’s more likely to find a unicorn than someone who doesn’t use a smartphone these days. People use smartphones for everything including car shopping and 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while physically inside a store.

Mobile-optimized websites need to be simple: less clutter and fewer fancy elements improve loading time and reduce the likelihood of a customer bouncing (when a user leaves the site without clicking on a second page or closes their browser or tab).

Touch to Call

Mobile sites have recently implemented a button to automatically phone the dealership once clicked from a phone to seamlessly link the customer and the dealership.

PPC Bottom-Line for Car Dealers

All of us in the PPC world work hard to bring qualified traffic to our web sites. Our job, once we get people there, is to retain their attention and ultimately get them through the door and behind the wheel of a new car.

Knowing how to construct, design and optimize individual web pages in an alluring and appealing way is paramount to getting great returns on your PPC efforts. The marketer, Webmaster and dealership all need to work towards the same goals in order to achieve outstanding results.

Harness the Power of Automatic Keyword Bidding

Until recently, in the dark days before Bid Management Tools, Pay-per-Click Strategists had the tedious task of manually optimizing Paid Search Accounts across multiple campaigns. As clients’ keyword baskets grew, so did the task of managing optimization tasks. At Strathcom Media, it soon became a heroic challenge to implement optimization.

We needed to make some changes if we were going to continue providing our clients with the best service in the industry. That was when we found Acquisio’s Bid & Budget Management (BBM), a new tool to automatically manage bids and budgets in near real-time with keyword optimizations every 30 minutes.

BBM’s automated bid capabilities significantly improved the performance on our clients’ accounts by allowing us to make multiple optimizations during the day.

What is Automatic Bidding?

Automatic bidding uses a series of rules to manage keyword bids in Paid Search Accounts. You can create various bid rules to control the automatic bidding process in order to meet the goals of each account.

At Strathcom, we still like to keep automatic bidding on a tight leash. Why? Automatic bidding can’t think by itself. Don’t expect to sit back, relax and see conversion rates magically increase after enabling automatic bid rules. Our strategy is to constantly monitor, adjust and manage automatic optimizations according to trends and other factors that the automatic process will never see.

Bid & Budget Management Dog

Leaving automatic bidding unattended is like leaving a juicy steak in front of your dog. If you’re not paying attention, something will definitely go wrong. Don’t let automatic bidding control your accounts!

BBM Case Study: Strathcom

We were amazed by the results that Bid & Budget Management (BBM) delivered. In the time that we have been using this new tool by Acquisio, we found that:

  • Average cost-per-click was reduced
  • Traffic to our clients’ websites increased
  • Budgets are now managed with pinpoint accuracy
  • Conversion rates increased!

By the end of March, average Budget Variance across accounts was -0.20%. The best part is that our clients are getting more bang for their buck.

Budget Variance Dropped -0.20% Across Accounts

BBM Variance Graph

Pre-BBM Checklist

Automated bid & budget optimization won’t deliver great results if the account is set up incorrectly or with a poor account structure to start with. Before turning on automatic optimization, does your account have the following?

  • A killer account structure
  • Awesome campaign/ad group segmentation
  • Appropriate landing pages
  • A strong keyword strategy
  • Relevant and compelling ad copy
  • A great negative keyword list

Consider dealing with any issues that could be holding it back before switching to automated keyword management.

Don’t forget about:
• Campaign Settings
• Location and Device Strategy
• Defining and Understanding your Goals
• Analyzing the Competition

While we still have to set up our clients’ accounts correctly and diligently monitor the bid rules of each account, automatic bidding is a great time saver. A properly set up account, combined with Acquisio’s BBM (Bid & Budget Management), will unleash the full power of automatic bidding – making BBM the online marketer’s best friend.