GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2016: Full Review

For those of you who need more than a brief summary of think auto here is the big one, enjoy.

Google Think Auto 2016

This year, Think Auto was held in the historic Massey Hall. While the venue was definitely cool, the seats left something to be desired. The event featured a lineup of well known Googlers that took turns presenting different topics. Think Auto followed a similar path to previous years and updated a lot of the data points. There was a strong message presented again this year that OEMs and dealers are not living up to what the customer wants. One dealer group executive who attended the event told me he wasn’t quite sure he liked Google presenting itself as “the supreme overlord telling us how shitty we are at our jobs. We sold more cars than last year didn’t we?” Anyway, his words, not mine.

Sam Sebastian, the managing director of Google Canada, opened the event with a discussion about change which really set the tone for the whole day. Due to the fact that there are a lot of stats at Think Auto, I am going to use a lot of bullet points, this will make it easier for you if you are only looking for the numbers. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2016: Full Review”

Google’s Think Auto Conference 2015: What We Learned


As an exclusive Google partner, Strathcom Media was once again invited to attend Google’s 10th annual Think Auto event in Toronto. This conference brings together all the movers and shakers in the industry, including OEMs and Google Partners (like us!), to discuss trends, the current state of the market, and give those in the industry important info and advice.

Don’t worry about missing out if you couldn’t make it. We attended, took notes, and recapped the most important info here for you!

  1. Be an inspiration. It takes approximately 26 days of thinking about a new vehicle before Canadians seriously consider buying one. It’s crucial during this “thinking” phase to promote vehicle upgrades, new features, and sales or incentives to motivate buyers to move from just thinking about buying to researching new vehicles.
  1. Be easy to find. On average, Canadians spend 19 days researching different vehicle makes, models, features, and pricing using multiple tools like OEM and dealership websites, 3rd party reviews, online videos, and other car-related websites. At this stage, the last thing you want is your site to be dumped at the bottom of a random search result page, so make sure your potential customers can find you quickly and easily.
  1. Be a resource. Once customers are done with the heavy researching, they’re onto the purchasing phase, which typically lasts 12 days. It’s at this point that buyers are visiting dealership websites, using multiple Internet resources, traditional media, and the advice of friends and family to help them make a final decision. Most Canadian car-buyers fall into three categories: The self-server, the facilitator, and the hand-holder. These customers may have decided to buy at this point, but that doesn’t mean they’ve decided to buy from you. Seal the deal by providing the right amount of guidance and information specific to each type of customer and their needs.
  1. Be a partner. The journey doesn’t end once the vehicle is taken home. Nearly 2 out of 3 customers have their cars serviced by the same brand or dealer, and half of Canadian buyers choose the same brand for subsequent purchases. This loyalty is almost exclusively due to good customer service, so ensure lasting success by working with your partners to provide customers with an excellent overall experience.
  1. Be timely. Canadians are buying vehicles in less time. In 2014, it took Canadians 66 days to purchase a new car, but this year it’s down to 57 days. With those numbers continuing to fall each year, it’s more vital than ever to make sure you reach your customers before the competition does.

Google always has tons of useful information for everyone in the automotive industry, so check back here often to see what other Google events and conferences Strathcom hosts and attends, including our upcoming Google LiveStream Event on September 30, 2015!


Google Think Auto Conference Toronto Recap

Google Think Auto 2013

On September 12, Strathcom Media attended the 2013 Google Think Auto conference in Toronto, Ontario. As with every event that Google puts on, this one did not let down: it was a great venue and the presentation was packed with valuable information.

What did we learn that could help the Canadian car dealer? Here is a highlight reel of the most valuable insights from the day:

  1. More consumers are shopping different dealers on the same brand.

  2. It’s all about mobile!

    • Mobile users are 50% more valuable than desktop users
    • 40% of mobile users research with a mobile device inside a dealership
    • What are mobile users looking at?

      • Reviews
      • Inventory (photos)
      • Location and contact information for dealer

    • Mobile opportunities extend beyond sales. Make it simple and fast to book service, order parts and build & price
    • Give mobile users the ability to book a test drive

  3. Use all digital channels
    No conversions? Use all the channels
  4. Customers are moving faster than retailers in digital use and wants
  5. It is better to try and fail than to fail to try
    Fail Better Samuel Beckett

    • Fail faster! Learn from mistakes and improve your business.

  6. Use free Google tools (Google Trends, Insight for Search, etc.)

One interesting insight was how everyone is trying to crack the social media code with limited success, and yet they are willing to spend big money on it. Paradoxically, we know mobile is what consumers use and want, but we do not focus on it. It’s time to change that.

Another great Google event!  We’re looking forward to the next Google event that we are hosting in Ontario in October 2013.  We hope to see you there.