Is Google a Part of Your Marketing Plan?

 

I learned yesterday that auto dealers on average spend less than five percent of their available advertising dollars with Google.

If this seems out of balance to you, I can only agree. Google accounts for 68 percent of all searches online. Pretty impressive, and enough of an argument for me, but let's go deeper.

The Google Display Network allows us to present our ads to very targeted audiences on millions of sites world wide. Not my focus, you may say. But Google allows you to set a radius around your business, and show your ads to people in your PMA. They may be on local sites, national sites or international sites. But if they are in your geographic target area, we can show them your ads, while eliminating viewers of the very same site who don't live or work near your business. Very smart.

Even smarter is the ability Google gives us to show the right ad to the right person. Searching new vehicles? Let's show ads about getting pre-approved for credit, or calculating payments. Searching for KBB values? We can respond with ads that promise to pay up to 120 percent of estimated value.

Video preroll is another Google service that no dealer should overlook. More than 1 billion (yes, billion) unique users visit Youtube every month. Google allows us to target prior behavior to find users in your PMA who have shown an interest in purchasing a vehicle. Since we know that 49 percent of people who watched a video online end up visiting the dealer, why in the world would we overlook this incredible opportunity?

We haven't touched yet on the power of retargeting, keyword targeting, video overlay, companion ads, and so much more.

With a tool this powerful, why would you commit less than five percent of your budget? We have many dealers successfully committing 80 percent or more of their advertising budgets to Google, with remarkable results.

Want to know more? Call me at 518-703-6143.

Do you use Google in your marketing plan? Please leave your comments here. We'd love to hear your stories.

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Are You Mobile Friendly?

When was the last time you searched for something on your mobile device?  You were probably on the go, looking for an immediate answer.  Almost 60% of other adults in America have a smartphone and do similar searches every single day.  In the ever-evolving world of Digital Marketing, mobile is on the rise.  Do you have a strategy in place for mobile optimization?

Mobile users search differently than those on a desktop or tablet.  When a user clicks on a mobile ad, more than half of them will contact the business.  It’s important to have a mobile friendly strategy to stand out against the competition.

The first step to developing your mobile strategy is to think like a mobile searcher.  Since most mobile searches are done on the go, it’s necessary to include action-oriented engagement.  Call to actions such as “Shop From Your Mobile Phone” or “Call Us For Directions” tailor ads to be more mobile friendly.  Mobile specific sitelink extensions are also crucial to capture searchers on these devices.  Mobile preferred ads that are going to mobile sites perform better than those that are running for desktop and tablet searches.  Once you’ve mobilized your ads, you need to look at your bidding.  Mobile bid adjustments will help your ads appear in the top 2 positions on mobile devices, where the majority of clicks and calls occur.

Focusing on your mobile strategies through bidding and tailoring to be mobile preferred will allow you to grow with the rise of mobile marketing.  You can expect to see many positive trends with a solid mobile strategy.  Average cost-per-click is typically lower on mobile devices, while click-through-rate is generally higher.   Mobile traffic is expected to surpass desktop traffic in the near future, and a consistent mobile strategy will allow you to stay on top on the trends and search results page.

 

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Facebook Spam? No Mam!

 If an ultimate goal of your social media marketing strategy is to gather likes and shares on Facebook, prepare for change in accomplishing this task.

In an attempt to enhance the news feed experience for Facebook users, relevancy will be the center of attention in deciding what shows on a users page. Every time you log onto Facebook, you only see what you want and care about, right? The truth is, probably not. Pages are becoming more crowded with spam and posts that are clearly made to solicit likes, comments, and shares in order to gain additional distribution and exposure, a practice Facebook refers to as Like-Baiting.

According to Facebook, “When we survey people and ask them to rate the quality of these stories, they report that like-baiting stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares.” Soliciting users to take actions on your post doesn’t increase your exposure if it’s not relevant! To prevent this, Facebook will make improvements to better detect these types of posts and not allow them to show more prominently in News Feeds over more relevant stories. Posts that do engage users in discussion will not be affected, only those who explicitly ask for Likes, Comments, and Shares.

In addition to combating Like-Baiting, Facebook is creating ways in which they’ll fight repetition and spam. The ultimate goal being for Facebook users to have the best experience possible every time they log in.

As other users frequently share great content, there can be instances where Facebook feeds become repetitive and the same videos and images are seen again, and again. If you’ve already seen it, it won’t be as important you the next time around. If people are seeing it for the fifth time, the more likely they are to complain about it. In knowing this, Facebook wants every News Feed to be new each time a user logs in, and is stepping up their game to ensure a user has a preferable Facebook experience.

To rid the News Feed of spam, Facebook is narrowing in on which posts are spam, by measuring how often Facebook users who visit a link, follow up by liking or sharing the post. According to Facebook, spam posts attempt to trick a user to click a post; users may think they just clicked to a photo album, for example, but are directed to a page of ads. The update is currently already seeing improvements, with a 5% increase during early testing towards users clicking on links that take them off Facebook. This is a great sign towards a relevant News Feed.

Most publishers will not be directly affected, but those who create spam or like-baiting posts will see less distribution of their posts over the next few months. The moral of the story is, to be relevant when developing and implementing your Facebook marketing strategy.

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Rules of Engagement

 

How engaged are your customers?  As more and more ads appear on the Internet daily, it’s important for yours to stand out.  The growth of online marketing has been substantial in the last few years, and it is necessary to stay on top of industry trends to remain competitive.  The key to capturing consumers in this fast-moving era is to provide opportunity for engagement.

 According to a recent content study by Ad Age and Google, “Consumers have moved from leaning back, receiving brand messages, to leaning forward, actively engaging with them.”  This means that your ads must entice the consumer enough to take that step and lean forward to engage.  So what makes your ads stand out in this “Participation Age” of engagement?

It is proven that engaged consumers buy more.  The first step is developing an effective online marketing strategy.  It takes more than just throwing your ads up on the search and display networks.  You need a set strategy that includes who your audience is, how you’re going to target them, and what message you will convey.  The stronger connection you make between your brand and the consumer, the higher the engagement and the more you sell.

What makes one interact with an online ad?  In one consumer survey, the answers included a recognizable brand, aesthetically pleasing graphics, and the ability to interact.  Branding must remain consistent throughout your online ads.  When creating online display ads, remember to include your logo and colors.  Animated ads are a great way to get users attention from the center of the screen to the top or side, where your ad will most likely be displayed.  A strong call to action is also necessary to drive your message home.

It’s important to remember that engagement can and should be measured.  How many clicks are you getting on your ads?  How many people are responding on your social media platforms?  You must evaluate the relevancy of your ads and how they are helping you meet your online marketing goals.

Engagement means many things to many different people.  Whether it’s consumers taking action, sharing socially, creating a connection, or creating loyalty and retention, it’s important to remember these rules of engagement.

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 Not Your Father's Google Ads

 

“We are always testing things,” said Amit Singhal, keynote speaker at the Search Marketing Expo and Senior Vice President of Search at Google.  “We have to experiment with things and let the data tell us what to do.”

Recently, Google users have seen business locations, phone numbers, links and even company ratings popping up under the text ads displayed in their search results. The latest test the company has pushed out will now make the ads look a little more like organic search results.

Prior to this ongoing change, paid ads were primarily placed at the top of search results in a yellowish box that would make the ads stand out. Now, ads will begin to show with almost no distinction from the organic search results. With the “new” Google search, text is bigger, links are no longer underlined, the yellow box has been removed and ads will only include a small yellow badge stating “ad” next to the paid link.

This design was rolled out last year for mobile users, and to keep the look and feel consistent, users on desktops began seeing these ads this past November. While users may find it more difficult to differentiate between paid links and organic search results, if Google keeps doing what they have always done and deliver accurately targeted links to what users are searching for, then click through rates will rise and users will buy!

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Announces Newest Apprenticeship Program

Potratz, the industry leader in digital automotive marketing, located in Downtown Schenectady, holds another apprenticeship training program at their offices located at 31 Lafayette Street in Schenectady, New York.

The Digital Apprenticeship Program is a six-week long paid training position, in which participants will receive valuable training, experience, and connections in the growing field of online digital marketing. At the end of the apprenticeship, and upon completion of the Google AdWords Certification exams, outstanding candidates may apply for full-time positions within the company. Under the direction of Nan Mossey, director of digital marketing, the apprentices can expect both classroom hours and real-world experience while assisting the search engine, social media, and  account services teams in their daily duties.

Potratz has held three previous rounds of the apprenticeship program, featuring four participants for each segment. Director of Human Resources, Kimberly Roselle, stated, “The response from applicants to our digital apprenticeship program has been tremendous – so much so that it allows us the opportunity to have our pick of the best of the best.”

COO and founder of Potratz, Paul Potratz endorsed the program and sees it as a benefit to both the participants and the company offering, “This is an incredible opportunity for anyone who is looking to gain experience in the powerful industry of digital marketing – not to mention it allows us the opportunity to continue to grow our team with individuals who are willing and ready to learn!”

“Over the past few months we have been able add eleven new members to our team at Potratz through our digital apprenticeship program,” said Mossey, adding “I’m excited at the prospect of what this apprenticeship program will mean for the future of our Online Marketing Department at Potratz. Knowing that our new hires are fully trained and ready to work for our clients makes our entire team more efficient and successful.”

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