advertising

Don’t Put Your Newspaper Ad on TV

“Over the next three years, the biggest trend in our products will be the growth of video.”

-Mark Zuckerberg

If you’ve heard the news, many are proclaiming that Facebook is now even more pay-to-play than it already was. What do I mean? At one point, Facebook was raw and not filtered – you could view all content from everyone, just as with other sites, such as Twitter.

Then brand pages came along, interjecting branded messages if you liked their Facebook page. As more businesses hopped aboard, the user experience became more cluttered and viewers were presented with less of the content they really wanted to see.

With the introduction of boosted posts and Facebook ads, this paid-ad model has allowed Facebook to monetize the platform while giving advertisers a way to increase exposure. However, on January 11, Facebook announced that it will decrease brand exposure – even for paid advertisers – in order to “bring people closer together.” And marketers are scared.

Okay, so does this mean you as an advertiser should drop everything and abandon the platform as your content will now get less attention?

No, and here’s why: There’s a tip that came straight from the man himself, Mark Zuckerberg. Somewhat recently, Facebook began pushing publishers and businesses to post more video content – even going so far as to recruit celebrities and influencers to post their content natively to the site – and rewarding those that did with extended reach in newsfeeds. In fact, the preference for video continues to this day. And, as stated in the quote at the top of this blog, Mark Zuckerberg said it himself in Facebooks Q3 Earnings Call.

I would highly recommend that if your dealership is not yet regularly making and producing video content, you should make real plans to do so. Of course, if you are already spending money on Facebook to promote your content, you could continue to pay to promote that non-video content, but you’ll soon be paying more money to reach the same amount of people. Think of it this way, promoting non-video content on Facebook is like putting your newspaper ad on the TV as a 30-second static image!

The equalizer, it would seemor at least a competitive advantage is to utilize Facebook’s algorithm preference for video in your marketing and social content. It could be that video content – especially video that is engaging and prompts interaction is a lifesaver when it comes to connecting with your Facebook audience. If your dealership chooses to combine that video content with some sponsored posts, you could further increase engagement.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Facebook wants to be a platform of video content. They’ll reward you for doing it with increased exposure and, according to Mark Zuckerberg, it is the company’s focus for the next three years.

if you want to succeed in getting eyeballs on your message and engagement with your audience, video is no longer optional. So, go out and start making videos. That’s what your audience wants – and that’s what Facebook wants. Or become invisible. The choice is yours.

Don’t Use a Band-Aid When What You Really Need Are Stitches!

by Tim James

There is a lot of talk and buzz building about the importance of video marketing – as there should be. Video is quickly becoming the preferred medium for consumers. Don’t believe me? Literally thousands of articles exist on the Internet illustrating the benefits of using video in your marketing.

But for this blog I would like to take a step back for a minute. I’ve talked about using video in emails, virtual reality, etc. However, it’s time to get back to basics, because, despite the power of video, there are still some dealers who don’t even have videos of their vehicles on their websites.

Let’s get real here. You spend tons of money on your website. That website has one major purpose – to show off your inventory so that a car shopper can get emotionally attached to a vehicle and call you. And I am sure you also spend quite a bit of money driving traffic to your website and vehicle display pages. As well as a considerable chunk of change to get your vehicles on third party listing sites in order to influence and engage with car buyers there. Seeing as all this money is spent to market inventory and drive traffic to it in order to do the only thing that matters – sell a car – then it makes sense to ensure the greatest return on your investment by having the very best advertisement for your vehicle on that vehicle display page!

If you aren’t actually taking full-motion videos to merchandize your vehicles, the next best thing is stitched photo videos. Yeah, I have heard the naysayers that don’t see the value of stitched photo videos but, at the same time, are not doing any video whatsoever. Those dealers are missing out on customers. You don’t have to listen to me… but you should be listening to your customers – and here’s a nugget of data for you:

According to data, stitched photo videos on vehicle display pages have an average 75 percent completion rate.

Now let me ask you a question. Would stitched photo videos have a 75 percent completion rate if customers DIDN’T like them? Of course not. Most dealers have about 40 or so pictures of each vehicle along with a written vehicle description designed to provide information while simultaneously creating an emotional attachment to the vehicle. By presenting this same information with a video (even a stitched photo video), you increase both the informational and emotional value of the content, which means you get more leads.

Look, let’s remove our “opinions” from the equation and just focus on the data, which clearly shows that consumers like and are influenced by stitched photo inventory videos. Time and time again we see dealers go from NO video whatsoever to stitched photo videos — and very quickly realize a significant increase in some of their most important KPIs. We have seen122% increases in unique VDP views, 110% increase in total VDP views, 75% increase in return website visitors and lead form conversions of 95% or more. These are actual increases realized by your peers, just by adding stitched photo inventory videos!

If you’re NOT using video, don’t you want these performance increases from your website? And these are results from dealers that simply flipped a switch with their video provider and turned on stitched photo videos. This took no extra effort on their part whatsoever. The pictures are already being taken. The software does the rest.

Nobody ever said video marketing needs to be overwhelming. Sometimes you have to crawl before you can run. But what really matters is that the mere act of crawling will get you farther than doing nothing whatsoever.

There are many other reasons that inventory videos are critical to your Video Marketing Strategy, even if you only use stitched photo videos — particularly when it comes to the data capture and utilization power of inventory videos. The bottom line is that customers want to watch inventory videos and they will have a significant impact on your sales. If you don’t provide it for them, you may find them watching another dealership’s videos. And that probably won’t work out in your favor.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Millennials

by Gina Reuscher

In the classic movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we received a filmmaker’s glimpse into what humanity would experience in the event of a U.F.O encounter and actual physical contact with an alien. To many dealers, Millennials are very similar. They’re very different from past generations, are far more technologically advanced, and we really don’t know much about them — Or do we?

Millennials, defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, between the ages of 16-26, represent a large buying demographic. So large, in fact, that many estimate the buying power of this demographic to be $200 billion, and a whopping $500 billion when indirect purchasing power is included. That’s pretty significant.

These are the kids raised on VH1’s pop-up videos, YouTube and other video content. This is the type of content that they not only like, but use. When they’re considering a movie to watch, do they read the IMDB description? No. They head over to YouTube and watch the trailer. That’s how influential video content is for this demographic.

In fact, according to an article on Business 2 Community, 8 out of 10 Millennials find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. They are also 85 percent more likely to purchase an item they watched a video about. Why? Because that’s how they like to take in information. 2/3 of Millennials prefer video over text. And a whopping 50% ONLY watch video!

In a recent blog I covered how Facebook predicts that its content will eventually be purely video-based content. Think about that. These social platforms cater to the users. If their users wanted all music, that’s what it would be. Pictures? Done. Text? That’s Twitter (for now). The point is Millennials increasingly dictate the type of content that is delivered. The sole reason being that they represent a large portion of the current consumer demographic for most products and they are absolutely the dominant demographic for the near future!

What does that mean for the auto industry?

It means that a good percentage of current car shoppers, and an even larger percentage of future car shoppers, will be influenced by video in their buying decisions. Other retail sectors already realize this. It’s no longer relegated to Super Bowl time. It’s all of the time. Videos are engaging, entertaining and connect with consumers on an emotional level. Unlike past generations, Millennials don’t want to be SOLD to, they want to CONNECT with a company or a brand.

The article further stated that half of all Millennials consider companies that produce video content on their products to be experts in their field. And let’s not forget that videos on product pages convert at a much higher rate than product pages with no videos. So why wouldn’t any retail business want to embrace this cultural shift? Most of them are — but some of the automotive industry is still a little stuck in just pictures and are not taking full advantage of video.

In order to secure market share now and for the future you need to have a good handle on Millennials. And they need and want videos. There’s no ifs ands or buts. If Millennials want to buy cars from a desk in your parking lot, you’d put a desk out there and sell it to them, right? Well, these Millennial consumers are tech-savvy, have access to more information than any other generation before them and will happily move to your competition for $50 in price, or a $20 oil change, whichever they need at the time. So you need to be in front of them so that YOU are top of mind when that need arises.

Do yourself a favor. Video marketing isn’t expensive and with the right process does not need to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, this is something that your porter could do with the cell phone in his pocket. Or, you can get as sophisticated as professional equipment and a branded staging area. It’s your choice. The bottom line is that you need video to engage Millennials. And you need Millennials to sell cars – now and for decades to come. So get yourself a video marketing strategy in place and sell some cars. That is what it’s all about, right?

A Super Nifty Trick to Make Your Facebook Videos More Effective

Social media is a great place for brands to get their message out to the masses using video. Not only are more people watching video on Facebook, but the platform itself is also giving it extended reach in order to entice marketers to publish more video on Facebook. Another really great (for marketers) feature of video on Facebook is that it autoplays in a user’s newsfeed. The problem is that it autoplays with no sound, so a user actually needs to engage with the video in order to hear it. If the user is scrolling through their newsfeed, you literally have seconds to capture their attention. So, how do you maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook videos knowing that users aren’t going to hear it, but only see it?

A recent article in Inc., shared that at the Salesforce Connections conference held in June, Facebook’s CMO Gary Briggs revealed a new trend that brands are beginning to use in their video marketing efforts on Facebook. Knowing that they’re pretty much at the mercy of a user when a video is presented in their newsfeed, marketers have started introducing text into the first 5-10 seconds of the video, so as to pique the interest of users and bypass the need for audio to capture attention. Similar to subtitles, this text is actually rendered into the actual video itself, allowing companies to use creative text in unison with their video to capture the user’s attention and get them to engage.

Facebook video marketing can be highly effective for dealerships, especially if it’s targeted properly. Video ads are one of the most effective means of advertising on the platform. The ability for dealerships to utilize various data sources and identify in-market car shoppers within their geographical area offers amazing opportunity. Consider incorporating video into your social media marketing on Facebook and, if it’s in the budget, utilize the precise targeting features that Facebook offers.

The most effective form of video marketing on Facebook for car dealerships would be more in the area of company branding, fun and random entertainment videos, customer testimonial videos, and occasional inventory walkaround videos.  Of course, you should have an entire Inventory Videos page available from your Facebook Menu, making it easy for anyone visiting your Facebook Page to quickly see videos of your inventory (since you actually do sell cars).And, if you have a very rare or unique vehicle, and target it properly, a video ad for that vehicle on your wall could also help the vehicle sell faster as well. However, for the most part, the ability to expose your dealership to potential new customers through well thought out, creative and engaging video can keep you top of mind.

A successful video marketing strategy will ensure that your dealership is present at each and every touchpoint that a consumer could visit on their car-buying journey. It will also take advantage of any unique features of the platform to optimize the chances that consumers engage with the video. This super nifty trick will allow you to relay a quick message (a hook, if you will) to consumers without them having to engage with your video, and could make them stop and listen to what you have to say.

Those Were the Days

by Brian Cox

Remember the days when television actually closed for the night? In those days, if you were up late enough, inevitably you’d hear the Star-Spangled Banner followed by that creepy off-the-air snow that is a potent reminder of the movie Poltergeist.

Television has been a part of most people’s lives since the late 40’s. DVRs or online streaming weren’t even a concept at that time. There was no on-demand. People planned their evenings around the programs that the networks were broadcasting. It’s a very different scene today.

With all the technological advances we have in digital video and online streaming, I find it interesting that some dealerships balk when asked to invest in online video content. Yet these same dealerships are heavily investing in traditional television advertising.

I recently saw an incredible statistic in Digital Sherpa:

In the next 30 days, more video content will be uploaded online than all three major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.

The fact is that online video marketing is highly cost-effective and produces an excellent ROI. In addition it can be efficiently targeted and can be produced without the need for an expensive video setup. Consumers today are immersed in video content. They cannot get enough of it… and I don’t mean the kind on TV. Commercials lost some value the second a DVR came along, allowing consumers to fast-forward through them. Besides, how do you know who’s watching a given show and whether they’re in the market to buy a car? You don’t! The facts are that with traditional television advertising, you get demographics and viewer statistics and then start playing fish in a barrel.

Video marketing doesn’t mean you need a studio, professional camera equipment or actors. All you need is a smartphone. Most smartphones nowadays have an integrated camera with the ability to take videos. Some even have higher resolution lenses than stand-alone video cameras!

I’m not here to completely bash traditional television advertising. There are plenty of dealers that still use it and find value in it. All I’m saying is that television advertising is actually a more expensive form of video content. The only difference is that it costs more — and, in most cases, a LOT more.

If you still have doubts, read the Digital Sherpa article. It has 24 other statistics that support the value and effectiveness of video marketing.