DD-Logo-Tampa

Digital Dealer 18 Recap: Fusion Bombs and Video Marketing

IMG_4007As the sun sets on another Digital Dealer Conference, once again Flick Fusion is proud and honored to have participated. This spring’s conference saw a new location: Tampa, FL. We feel it was an excellent venue that offered just the right balance of hotel accommodations and some wonderful nightlife venues for dealers and attendees to learn some new best practice tips while also having a little fun.

IMG_4005Flick Fusion’s adventure began as a sponsor or the official Digital Dealer Kick-Off party on Monday night. The event itself drew over 600 RSVP’s and was a great success. Dealers and vendors had the opportunity to partake of our signature drink – the Fusion Bomb. This drink proved incredibly popular and it was great to see party goers sporting the Flick Fusion colors as part of their drinks. A live DJ kept the party hopping and the venue – Jackson’s Bistro – turned out to be an excellent venue; both for the spectacular waterfront views and delicious food.

2015-04-22 13.31.09Wednesday highlighted the prime reason that Flick Fusion attends – to educate dealers. Speaking to a packed room, perennial speaker and Flick Fusion’s VP of Sales, Tim James, educated dealers on the importance of video marketing. Attendees of the lively, highly popular session were provided with all the statistics that truly illustrate the true value of video marketing. They left with step-by-step instructions as to how to immediately implement a video marketing campaign in their stores.

2015-04-22 13.34.14If you’d like a copy of this powerful presentation, click here and fill out the contact form.

Thanks to the staff of the Digital Dealer Conference for putting on one of the best Digital Dealer Conferences ever. Feedback has been very positive from vendors and dealers alike. And thank you to all of the attendees who flocked to the exhibit hall and kept the booths packed. Also, thanks to everyone who came to see Tim James’ session. See you next time at the 19th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas!

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Is Having Too Many Pictures A Bad Thing? Perhaps

by Brian Cox

It wasn’t too long ago that we saw most dealers’ VDP pages contain only a couple of pictures of a vehicle. As technology improved and made it easier and more efficient for dealers to take and upload more images, best practices quickly raised the standard for image quantity to 40 or more pictures. Now, however, a recent article in Automotive News cites a white paper that suggests that a VDP page that contains more than 9 photos causes “image fatigue” in a consumer. Apparently this results in a drop off in lead volume as consumers get tired of clicking through multiple images to find the information they are seeking – whether that be interior images, exterior images, or whatever aspect may be important to that particular buyer.

The thought process behind providing multiple images is that the consumer has the ability to inspect a vehicle online and gain more interest by having any questions about vehicle condition answered. The results of the white paper suggest that the optimal number of photos on any given VDP is nine. According to the report, used vehicles posted for sale with nine images generated 50 percent more leads than those without any images; 56 percent more leads than those with 20 images; and 71 percent more than those with 30 images.

Why does it seem like best practices have gone backwards?

My take on that it is this: It’s easy to see how today’s online car shoppers can get image fatigue by clicking 40 pictures, one by one. That being said, I don’t think it’s any less important for shoppers to be able to obtain the information they need without experiencing the “image fatigue” suggested by the white paper.

It’s actually a very easy solution… video.

At the time it became a best practice for dealerships to have 40+ pictures, video marketing was in its infancy. Many inventory videos were crude and looked unprofessional. As technology has improved tremendously, video has become the media type of choice, as stated by many research studies. And not just in the automotive industry, but in every sector.

So, perhaps consumers tend to lose interest after clicking on too many images. Or, perhaps the real reason they lose interest is that the dealer didn’t provide the type of content that would keep a consumer’s interest, the one that is preferred by most demographics, the one that converts and sells cars… video.

Rear view of luxury car

Live Video Walkarounds: Are they Worth the Effort?

by Tim James

While most forms of digital marketing offer some value to dealers, the one constant has – and always will be – the better your inventory merchandising, the higher your sales.

In the digital world, your merchandising takes place on your VDP Pages, making your VDP Pages one of (if not “the”) most valuable pieces of digital real estate that you have today. The goal of the merchandising on your VDP Pages is to get a consumer emotionally attached to the vehicle, to take “mental ownership.” Or, at a minimum, to generate enough interest that the shopper will come to your store and take a test drive. If you can’t obtain one of these goals, then you hope that your presentation of the vehicle at least had a large enough impact on the shopper that they will remember one of your vehicles as they continue their shopping and bounce from site to site.

This is why you invest the time and/or money into your current digital marketing strategy: You have a website that gets good traffic and that has good flow to the Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs); pay 3rd parties for VDPs on their sites; have high quality photos for each vehicle on its VDP; use a good quality vehicle description for each vehicle; and even have all kinds of “conversion widgets” and such on your VDP Pages. You know how important your VDP Pages are. And you currently invest a lot of time and money into your efforts to have the “best” presentation of your vehicles as possible on those VDPs.

Now, up to this point, I haven’t told you anything that you don’t already know. But let’s consider this:

• People retain 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and an amazing 70% of what they see & hear combined. This means that a shopper is at least 40% more likely to form an emotional attachment and remember “your” inventory if they are able to watch videos of the vehicles on your VDPs.

• More than 85% of today’s consumer’s say that they prefer product video over photos and a text based product description. Shoppers are significantly more likely to spend a greater amount of time on your VDPs — and more likely to return to YOUR website at a future time — if they know that they can receive their content the in the form in which they desire to receive it…video.

• Live Inventory Videos average 600% more engagement than stitched photo videos. This means that having a stitched photo video is better than not having a video at all; however, you will receive a significant boost in engagement if you are utilizing live inventory videos. This IS the best presentation of your vehicles (merchandising) possible for your VDPs.

The actual process of shooting a live inventory video only takes around 2 to 5 minutes per vehicle. Yes, it may take you a little longer in the beginning, when you first start shooting the videos, and before you are comfortable with the process. But, after you’ve shot a few, you should easily be able to get your process down to the 2 to 5 minute range. The actual process of shooting a live video is hardly an overwhelming investment of time, especially when considering the engagement and conversion benefits.

What DOES take time is everything else. You have to manually upload the video to a “host” (or multiple hosts), rename every file as you upload it, and then manually process the video URL to each location that you would like for the video to play. I’m sure there are plenty of you reading this who remember the days that this same “time consuming” process was at one time true for your photos. Shooting the photos was the easy part, but to get your photos to all of the various digital touch-points, you had to manually rename them and upload them touch-point by touch-point. Instead, many dealerships would either choose to not keep their photos current on the various digital touch-points, to outsource the photo process to a 3rd party, or would hire an in-house staff to do nothing but shoot and upload photos all day. As time progressed, and as dealerships started to realize how important the photos were to the merchandising process, more and more started investing in technology that made the upload and distribution process fast and easy. They still had to have someone shoot their photos, but that’s all they had to do and technology took care of the rest.

The great news is that this same technology now exists for your videos. All someone has to do is shoot the video (2 to 5 minutes) and technology will automatically name, upload, and distribute the videos for you (and often in real-time). In fact, you can even have your photographer shoot the video for you at the same time they are shooting their photos. And if you aren’t comfortable with your photographer talking about the vehicles while shooting the videos, then technology can even automatically add the audio layer to the video as it is being automatically uploaded. And you could even have one of your Sales or BDC Team members (from the comfort of their own office) re-record the audio layer of the video and instantly replace the automated audio layer on all of the digital touch-points (in real-time), if so desired. No more wind or highway noises, no airplanes flying overhead, and no worrying about the weather.

Even greater news is that these same videos can then also be utilized by your sales team and/or BDC team for personalized walkaround videos for lead responses. Instead of the time consuming, over and over process of shooting one video that would be seen by one person, of checking out the keys, finding the vehicle on the lot (in the heat, cold, rain, snow), pulling the vehicle out of the line, shooting the video, parking the vehicle, walking back inside, checking in the keys, uploading the video to a “host”, grabbing the URL and sending the video URL out in an email…the sales or BDC team member can now simply pull up the existing video (being used on the VDPs), re-record a personalized message as the audio, add background music (if desired), click save, and email out…all in less time than it takes to check out the keys and find the vehicle on the lot.

We used to find all kinds of excuses for why we didn’t keep our VDPs (across all of the digital touch-points) updated each day with 25, 35, 55+ photos. Excuses ranged from “it’s too much work” to “it costs too much money (if outsourced).” And I’m sure you can find plenty of new excuses as to why you aren’t shooting live videos for your VDPs and using walkaround videos for your lead responses…but the fact is that “it’s too much work,” is no longer a valid excuse, especially when you consider the impact that it will have on your sales.

White laptop and dollars

Consumers Like Video So Much They’re Paying More To Watch It

by Tim James

Video, and especially mobile video, is fast becoming the media of choice for consumers of all ages. From the cable-free movie, to online streaming services, to the latest and greatest phone apps storming the scene, we are all consuming data at a record pace. According to a white paper by Cisco, mobile data has increased in size nearly 30 times since the year 2000. And mobile video accounts for 55 percent of all data traffic.

Today, consumers are increasing data plans with their cellular phone companies so as to consume more video – and they’re doing so willingly — according to a recent article on Mashable. The article reports the massive growth of the mobile live-streaming app, Meerkat. With Twitter entering the live-streaming market Monday via their recent acquisition of Periscope, smartphone users are finding more ways to share video with each other than ever before. In fact, in less than 24 hours, Periscope broke into the top 50 apps on the iTunes app store illustrating the remarkable demand for video content. And, according to the article, “wireless carriers have invested more the $1 trillion in the last few years to build out networks capable of serving massive amounts of data and high speeds.”

And as far as video itself — Almost every major social media application has integrated video into their platforms. Why? Because that’s what their users want. Videos are given more organic reach on Facebook. Platforms are opening up their APIs to allow for video embedding. User-generated video content is exploding. And consumers have made it very clear that they like video content so much that they are willing to increase their cellular phone budgets so as to consume more of it. If this is the case, then why not market to them in their format of choice?

Back in the day, most people read physical newspapers and watched local television… and that’s where car dealers advertised. For lack of subscribers, newspapers moved online, or went out of business. And then, as streaming video services became a more popular (and less expensive) alternative, people started ditching cable.

None of us knows what the future will bring. Change will come, but we don’t know what or when. All we do know for certain is that right now… video is where consumers have placed their attention. And not just video, but especially in mobile format. If only for that single reason, that’s the content car dealers should be producing. Take a look at your marketing and see how you can improve on your video content. It would also be wise to ensure that your web content and any video is mobile ready, so this new generation of consumers can access and even share your content.

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Jameson Irish Whiskey Takes Video Marketing to the Next Level

by Brian Cox

Jameson Irish Whiskey has taken video marketing on Instagram to another level – “the first brand to successfully utilize 3D video for advertisements on Instagram and Facebook,” according to a recent article in the Independent.

The video itself is very simple, and suggests that you slide a shot to your friend. It then proceeds to slide a shot glass of whiskey towards you, the viewer, which then appears to come off the page. It’s rather clever how they were able to create the illusion of 3D on a non-3D platform.

 

Slide this shot of Jameson to your drinking buddy #LongLiveTheShot

A video posted by Jameson Whiskey (@jameson_us) on

 

According to many studies, brands are increasing their content marketing budgets to include more video marketing. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are going to war to become the World’s premier video platforms, something that YouTube has enjoyed for years.

As is the case with any marketing, the ability for advertisers to cut through the noise with video marketing will continue to increase in importance. In addition, marketers should not rely on a single platform to host their videos. Regardless of who ends up winning this battle for viewership, consumers will still have their preferences. Believe it or not, some people still use MySpace, and other platforms that many abandoned long ago. This is why it’s important to ensure that your content is on all of the sites YOUR consumers visit. You never know where your next sale will begin their journey. Bear in mind, however, that to accomplish this you will either need spend a lot of time posting your video to each individual site. Or you can go the route of automation to get it done more efficiently.

Successful video marketing today demands entertaining and creative video that engages your audience. It’s not simply about having video content; it’s having the right video content. That can only be accomplished with a solid strategy that’s executed consistently.

Even a micro-video should have the same concepts behind its creation – creative, outside the box thinking – it should be engaging. What makes these type of videos a success is not any different from the winning formula for any videos — whether it be a “Why Buy from Me,” company culture-type video, or a vehicle walk-around video.

You only have a short period of time to catch and keep a consumer’s attention. Make sure that you use that time wisely and you’ll find an increase in views and conversions.

House of cards

Don’t Let Your “House Of Cards” Get Knocked Down By Your Competition

by Tim James

“We work too hard to come within arm’s reach of the prize only to have our hands cut off just before we seize it. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there is but one rule – hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood, as played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix television series, House of Cards.

This quote epitomizes the struggle that car dealers face daily – whether they are trying to close a deal, struggling with a vendor or battling their competitors. However, that quote also contains valuable advice. To succeed in this industry – whether you’re a dealer or a vendor – you face daily challenges throughout every aspect of your business. These range from acquiring new business, to providing exceptional customer service, to the day- to-day management of your employees. You must not stall your efforts before you reach your prize, as there is always someone breathing down your neck just waiting to snatch it before you can.

There are a lot of pieces that comprise the puzzle that, when completed, leads to success. Company culture, efficient processes, training, and customer loyalty, are some of the foundations that no business can survive without. Dealers rely on their managers, managers rely on their employees. One weak link can wreak havoc within an organization and result in a lost sale, a lost (valuable) employee, or worse – a lost customer.

If you’ve ever built a house of cards in real life, you know that they take patience, a steady hand, a strategy and that every card is dependent on the other. Just like building a house of cards, all of these things are necessary to succeed. And each level in the house needs to be sturdy and well thought out. For, if they’re not, the house will fail to reach the height it is capable of and will probably come crashing down for you to rebuild.

The first level will always be your staff – from the dealer to the porter. They are the foundation. Each subsequent level comprises of an additional component from administration, service, marketing, technology, and sales. And each of these components brings something to your table to assist you in climbing to the top of the food chain in our industry. It is important to have a strategy, have patience and put any plans in place with a steady hand. Failure in any of these areas could very well prevent your organization from achieving its full potential.

Pay attention to trends. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Watch what your competition is doing, but don’t chase after shiny new objects just because your competition is doing it. Your success isn’t dependent on you doing the same things that your competition is doing, it’s dependent on you going above and beyond your competition, creating an entirely higher standard of expectation for your prospects and your customers. This is the effort required to become the best, and equally required to stay the best, and keep your house of cards from falling down.

DS1

How A Dog May Have Just Reinvented Pre-Roll Video Ads

by Brian Cox

We all know how annoying pre-roll video ads can be – especially when they have nothing to do with the video content we’re about to watch. Many people hover their mouse cursor over the countdown just itching to click “Skip Ad” the second that option is available. As reported by USA Today, the insurance company Geico, may have found a way to keep people around to watch.

In a nutshell, Geico used only the first 5 seconds (the amount of time someone would have to watch before the “Skip Ad” option appears) and stated, “You can’t skip this Geico ad because it’s already over.” In the background a family acts as if they are frozen in time at the dinner table. On screen is a dog that then proceeds to eat everything on the table while the actors stay as frozen as possible (although you can tell that they aren’t). It’s actually very well done and pretty amusing. The trick is that the Geico logo is on screen the whole time so, in essence, you’re watching the whole ad. The article reports that, on March 3, the ad had “logged more than 725,000 unaided YouTube videos in one day.” That’s pretty incredible.

The reason this ad is seeing so much success is simple. It is one that every dealer or marketer should take note of – they had a strategy. The producers of the ad, the Martin Agency, knew they faced the same challenges and had to solve the same problem that every other company utilizing pre-roll video does – How to stop people from clicking “Skip Ad.” Most companies fail this challenge as not many of these pre-roll video ads tempt anyone to stick around and watch.

So, rather than try to answer the question which most marketers have been unable to, they chose to think outside-the-box. With just 5 seconds to convince people not to click “Skip Ad,” rather than putting the meat and potatoes of the ad AFTER those five seconds, (which is how most traditional pre-roll is organized), they chose to put it BEFORE.

Then they got creative…

What would make someone continue to watch an ad – that’s not supposed to be an ad – after the “Skip Ad” option appeared? From the buzz this has generated, it would seem that a dog having a good old time tearing up everyone’s dinner from atop the table was a winning formula.

I suspect that the success of this campaign will cause other companies to start using those five seconds in other creative ways. The important thing to remember is that simply throwing video onto the Internet is not effective – and it’s not video marketing. Without a strategy in place to make your video marketing efforts successful, you may just be wasting your time.