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Robert Karbaum

Robert Karbaum National Digital Strategy Manager

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The New “Google My Business” Has Just Launched, Should You Care?


Keeping up-to-date with changes to Google’s business platform is a full-time occupation. Every time you turn around, Google has either radically updated or completely changed their services. Just in the last short while we have gone through Google Places, Google+, Google+ Local and now Google My Business. Each step along the way, things got more confusing, as both Google Places and Google+ operated quasi-independently. However, with the launch of Google My Business, it appears they have finally fixed this (monumentally frustrating) problem and amalgamated everything into one system.

So as Google begins to market this product and buzz hits the Internet, I wanted to summarize why you should care (or not care) about the new updates and how they will (or won’t) affect your dealership.


For Veteran Users:

If you are a longtime Google Business/Places/+ Local user you will be overjoyed that you no longer have to manage two competing Business Services lists. And, that’s about it.

Existing veteran users will log in and say, “This is all the same. What am I missing?”

They would be right. Those already accustomed to trekking their way through the murky waters of Google+ Local will see basically the same thing. The ONLY difference I can discern is that it is easier to manage your online reviews. Previously, you had to sneak in through the back door to respond to your Google+ reviews. Now, they have moved the door to the front of the building with a big neon sign.

No More Google Places








Should You Care?

Not really, other than knowing Google Places is now gone you may continue about your day and wait until Google changes this platform again. Call this a mulligan of sorts. 


For Basic Users:

If you have gotten to the point where you have registered your business with Google and maybe uploaded a photo or two, these changes will affect you more significantly.   

The new platform is a lot more user-friendly. Everything is split between six categories: My Business, Reviews, Business Insights, AdWords Express, Google+ and YouTube. Here is where to start.

First, if you haven’t already, claim your connected Google+, Google Analytics and YouTube accounts. These are intrinsically tied to your Google My Business profile and are crucially important towards your Organic Search Rankings.


My Business

The core of the system where you can update your business information including website, location, phone numbers, photos, categories, description and hours of operation. When you first jump in, you may want to comb through this to ensure all the information is correct. Having a customer show up at 7 a.m. after driving for 3 hours for a test drive appointment is a heatscore you want to avoid. Trust me, I’ve been down this road before :P.

Furthermore, what you enter into your My Business section will be spread across all accounts including AdWords. It will also affect how your business is viewed on Google.



Google now has quick access into your Reviews Management, where you can not only view all the reviews posted about your dealership, but reply, flag and analyze your reviews. With its Review Analytics feature, at a glance you can see how many reviews your dealership has received from ALL review sources. That’s right, all of your Dealer Rater reviews now have made their way into Google’s algorithms. You can separate by source or time period, and as an added bonus, Google provides direct links to each and every review. 

Google Review Analytics










Business Insights

Insights is comparable to a bolt-on air intake for your Google Analytics. It affects change on its own, but it is part of a larger system. The main purpose of Insights is to give you a snapshot of your Dealership’s Google+ Organic Performance.

Business Insights is split into three subsections:

  • Visibility: Where you can see the number of views, clicks, and can then discern your conversion ratio.
  • Engagement: Where you can see the Reach and Actions of your Google+ activity on an item-by-item basis.
  • Audience: Where you can see the metrics of your Followers such as increase/decrease numbers, and demographics.

All of this information is great, if you have a very active Google+ profile. (Hint, you should have a very active Google+ profile.) The fact that Google is tracking your Google+ reach is an indication that they are watching, and expecting you to participate in their little “+game.”


Google My Business Insights









AdWords Express

Part of the magic surrounding Google’s world dominance is how they encourage the average user to advertise on their network by educating them on how to do so. However, AdWords Express (previously Google Boost) was designed to make it infinitely easier for Google to take your money.  
Basically, you choose what site you want to promote, and how much you want to promote it for monthly and voila!

On the other side of the coin, Express also significantly limits the amount of data you can view as well, so you definitely get what you pay for. It’s akin to advertising in the local newspaper. It’s not a lot of effort, and you kind of know it’s working, but that’s about it.


Google My Business Google+










If you are still new to Google+, you are beginning to fall behind the average. Most progressive dealers are at least aware, if not posting social updates and delivery photos on the regular.

Instead of rehashing the obvious, Mashable has a great article you can read: “The Beginner’s Guide to Google+”

For the basic Google+ user, as I mentioned above, part of the My Google Business platform is Google+ Insights. If you haven’t already, focus on expanding your Google+ connection network, and then work on delivering captivating content to those connections. It’s not as easy as it sounds, so here are a few tricks to get you started:


How to get quick Followers on Google+

  • Search out and add other OEM-related dealerships, OEMs themselves, vendors and consultants to your circles. Most will add you back.
  • Include links to “Follow” your Google+ profile on e-marketing and website content
  • Reach out and add local businesses, and share as much content as you can. The savvy ones will happily do the same in return.
  • Entrepreneur has a great article to dig a little deeper: “21 Simple Ways to Get More Followers for your Google+ Business Page”


Google My Business Google+ Share










This is where things can get tricky. When Google chose to merge YouTube and Google+, there wasn't an easy way to keep an existing account and transfer it. In some cases (like mine) it was impossible. One of our dealer pages had over 250,000 views that had to be abandoned in order to link with Google+. We looked at every possible angle and eventually bit the bullet.

You may find that you have to do the same thing if you click through the YouTube link and it asks you to create a new account.

However, on the positive side, when everything is connected, your stats cross platforms and from the Google My Business dashboard you can see how everything is trending. Most importantly, the more you intertwine your business with Google, the more prominence you will receive within its search rankings. I've witnessed it firsthand each time I follow Google down its rabbit hole.


Should You Care?

Yes. Everything you need to do is more or less in one easy-to-use space, so there is no excuse not to get your dealership hooked up to the Google matrix. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me, or just comment below!


For the Basic, BASIC Users:

If you are an owner, dealer principal, or general manager and you KNOW you are "deep in the weeds" on this one, do yourself a favour and hire an E-Comm manager/director.  Even if you are a tiny little store in Akron, Ohio, you will need someone in-house that understands all this "techy stuff". At the end of the day, bringing in a young tech "kid" and teaching him/her the "car game" will cost you monumentally less than handing over wads of cash to a third party time and time again.  Yes, vendors and consultants can be a valued assset but don't look to them to control your entire operation.  After all, would you have a vendor/consultant sell on your showroom floor? Or service your customer's vehicles in the shop?


Should You Care?

Yes. A thousand times, yes. The automotive industry is past the point of "changing" – it's changed, and will continue to change at a faster pace each day. If you are just jumping into the waters, you need to catch up real fast. Hook your fishing line to a killer whale and hold on tight. You'll be all right.


Do You, the Reader, Care?

What are your thoughts on the new Google My Business?

What did I miss?

What are you going to do next?

Let's get the comments going! 


Droppin' Baums








Robert Karbaum arguably has the best name in the automotive industry. His combined experience over the past decade in E-Commerce and the automotive industry has allowed him to master the art of “AutoSpeak”; the ancient language that bridges the gap between internet geeks, the showroom floor and everything in-between. He manages the E-Commerce, Social and Digital Marketing operations at Weins Canada Inc. (formerly Don Valley North Automotive Group); a prestigious automotive group in Canada which includes the #1 volume Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the country. 

Catch him on Twitter (@karbaum) or

Dennis Galbraith
Great read Robert. I was hoping someone would sort this out, and did a great job of it!
Robert Karbaum
Thanks Dennis!
Aaron Wirtz
Great post Robert! The phrase "monumentally frustrating" to describe Google's development of these products is on point. We've had some epic battles with Google in the past and some genuine WTF moments, but I have also been pleasantly surprised by Google on several occasions, too. Where we're at right now: With the forced YouTube/G+ integration, I opted to continue calling our channel SubaruofWichita, so Google was "kind" enough to automatically set up another Subaru of Wichita Google+ page. We weren't presented with the option of just linking our YT channel with the G+ page I've been posting content to for almost two years now, so we have two. Google is treating its new one as the active page that meets quality guidelines (and also the one that shows up on maps, incorporates reviews, etc), so I'll probably make one more attempt to have them let us use the original page, which is hidden for being a duplicate, before deactivating it. This wouldn't be the biggest loss in the world, as G+ continues to attract scorn in the Wichita area for the average social media user. It would still be a bummer to lose all that content, however. Google is not an unreachable entity, though. For those who are experiencing challenges and frustrations, keep reaching out to them through the channels they provide. You might not get an immediate response, but they do give answers. When we were transitioning from Suzuki to Subaru, for instance, I received two separate phone calls from the Google Maps team to verify our change of name. I also received communication from Google+ Local that allowed us to keep our Suzuki of Wichita Reviews while changing our name to Subaru, as we were the same management team serving another brand. The question of should I care strikes me as funny, though, as I've learned to simply detach from getting emotionally wrapped up in the capricious whims of the Google monster. Yes, it's worth attention, but don't "care," because she'll break your heart. :-) At last year's Digital Summit at Mountain View, which took place on the Google campus, Monica Morse, the Social Lead of SMB Solutions for Google, described Google+ like this: "It's wonky." I couldn't have put it any better.
David Sharma
Thank You Robert! I needed a concise write-up on if this would be changing the way us “veterans” would be interacting with Google!
Robert Karbaum
Great feedback Aaron! "It's wonky." is a bit of an understatement in my opinion, but at least they have come this far. I can't imagine what you went through with the name change. I know how infuriating it was having 3 dealerships within a 2000" radius all starting with "Don Valley North". They would merge us in a new way on a weekly basis!

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