Strathcom Media has been working since 1997 with one goal in mind: to take the burden of online marketing off of car dealerships. Their tools have revolutionized how car dealerships organize and syndicate inventory online. They now offer website hosting and design, software development, inventory syndication, online advertising, dealer training and much more.

Thanks to a focus on customer service and an industry-leading team, Strathcom Media has become the provider of choice for leading auto dealer groups across Canada. With over 1,000 dealerships using their services right now, they have the experience and knowledge needed to effectively market automotive dealers online

Background

An Acquisio customer since May 2012, Strathcom already enjoys a strong partnership with Acquisio for its campaign management needs. When they were interested in learning more about our automatic bid rules and other features to further provide clients better optimization our team identified Strathcom as an ideal candidate for Bid and Budget Management (BBM) optimization. Acquisio’s Chief Scientist, Bryan Minor, made this call based on an analysis of lost impression share, clicks, and daily budget exhaustion. Strathcom is certainly not alone in dealing with these issues. Bidding at the right time and at the right price in a live and competitive auction is a very common challenge in PPC advertising.

Goal

Strathcom’s clients want to increase online traffic and leads without investing a lot of time or money. Making the most of their clients’ limited budgets without overspending or under-spending is always the goal. Regardless of their budget, they want to see results. Strathcom recognized a potential opportunity through BBM to make this goal easier to attain while bringing innovative optimization technology to their clients.
Challenges

Budget Exhaustion

Strathcom and their clients were aware that with tight budgets their ads would not be able to run all day. Day parting had been enabled in most cases to help their ads show at times when their target audience was most likely to be online, but this still left no budget for the rest of the day. Again this is a very common challenge; especially in a competitive vertical like automotive where at any given time auto dealerships are competing for the same regional audience. In some cases lost impression share was over 50%. Since most dealerships do not have a lot of money to allocate to online marketing, budget constraints meant additional budget was not possible.

Budget Management

While bids were managed through automated rules set up through Acquisio, budgets were managed manually. It was difficult to manage budgets across over 40 accounts when each of them had a separate budget for Display, Search and Remarketing. It was not impossible to do, but it was time consuming.
Managing daily and monthly budgets manually required a large time commitment by staff. This time could have been better spent researching marketing strategies and learning about new features in Google that could potentially improve overall account performance. Again, Strathcom was hoping the BBM could help gain efficiency for their staff while improving performance for their customers.

Solution

For Strathcom the solution was clear – manage daily budget pacing to capture clicks and impressions through the entire day. This means paying the right price for clicks at the right time to capture the audience most likely to convert.

Starting in March 2013, Acquisio launched BBM across several accounts and campaigns as a test. The results were quick and impressive. Within 3 days the first signs that BBM was working started to appear. For most accounts results were clearly visible within a week or two at the most.

By the end of March the average budget variance across accounts was -0.20%. Not one account had a budget variance over 1.0%; in fact the highest was -0.77%

Budget exhaustion

Once BBM was deployed and bids and budgets were properly adjusted Strathcom found that budgets were pacing well. Exhaustion issues all but disappeared. Additionally with BBM Strathcom doesn’t have to worry about having day parting anymore, since the system takes care of spreading the budget more efficiently and ads can show up even late at night.

Pricing

High cost-per-click was always a concern – a very valid one in such a competitive vertical. More competition for ad clicks can drive bid prices up unnecessarily. With targets set by Strathcom in place based on their customers needs BBM optimizes throughout the day. Targets are met with incredible accuracy.

Conclusion

Strathcom was looking for an innovative, scalable and reliable way to improve campaign performance on behalf of its customers. Their search led them to Acquisio and our Bid and Budget Management Service, and it did exactly what it was designed to do. Costs are in line and return has been measurably increased; all in an automated way to save time and money. Strathcom’s clients are seeing greater return for their online marketing budgets, and Strathcom has more time to do what they do best – optimize and innovate to better serve their clients.

The challenges highlighted here are common in the digital marketing world, and through our Bid and Budget Management service we are taking a very innovative step towards lessening the impact of these challenges for all online marketers.

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