experience

Vertical Video: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

by Tim James

Ever since cellphones gained video recording capability, people have insisted on shooting video vertically. Despite all the harassment and corrections received from peers when sharing a vertical video – “Hold the phone sideways!” – Some things never change. Those black bars that bookend the video when taken vertically certainly aren’t the most attractive. They also limit the space in which the video can be viewed.  Despite all this, a bunch of video platforms have finally given up encouraging people to abstain from taking videos vertically and have altered their platforms to accommodate them.

According to an article in Entrepreneur, Snapchat and YouTube have altered their platforms and have given their video players vertical video support. This means that those annoying black bars will no longer be visible when a vertically filmed video is uploaded. The newer live-streaming video services – Periscope and Meerkat – have always promoted a vertical video format. The thought process behind this is that most consumers peruse content holding their phone in a natural way (vertically) and horizontal video forces them to rotate the phone – an unnatural action with a smartphone.

In fact, Snapchat asks its marketers to reshoot their videos in a vertical manner. While this can be a costly suggestion, according to Snapchat, “vertical video ads are nine times more likely to be viewed to completion than their horizontal counterparts.”

It’s all about options, folks. Some consumers like watching videos horizontally. In fact, most video marketers up till now would cringe every time they saw a video with the black bars on the side, indicating that it was taken vertically. Now, however, these video hosting platforms and apps are optimizing their properties to emphasize vertical videos, so as to accommodate the way in which consumers actually use their devices. This is instead of forcing them to make (or watch) videos in an unnatural position. The fact that vertical videos have higher completion rates is certainly logical for these very reasons.

The most important things to consider when choosing platforms for your video marketing are: a) is the platform optimized for a mobile web experience, and b) is your video attractive and easy for a consumer to view. Forcing consumers to watch videos through an app could make them hesitate to watch – especially if they aren’t already a user of the app.

It’s also important to include distinct calls-to-action that consumers can take within the video player itself. It’s great if they watch your whole video. But, if they cannot be lead further down the buying funnel, what’s the point? You cannot expect a consumer to watch your video and then have to hunt you down because, well, they won’t.

It seems that we can lay to rest the taboo of vertical video now that these platforms embrace it. Does this mean horizontal video will all of a sudden be taboo? Who knows – and it really doesn’t matter anymore. Make compelling videos and host them in a way you can control where they go next, rather than risk the video player suggesting “relevant” videos which just so happen to be from your competition. In this way you’ll win in your video marketing — whether you take the video vertically or horizontally.

One Isn’t Always the Loneliest Number That You’ll Ever See

by Tim James

In determining the effectiveness of video marketing, perhaps the metric most used is views – How many views did this video get? In fact, in a recent study by Yahoo-owned video platform Brightroll, 31 percent of polling respondents from over 70 ad agencies in the UK, placed completed views as the most important metric, followed by brand lift (28 percent) and a four-way tie between inventory quality, conversion, click-thru-rate and sales impact, which all came in at 8 percent. Hold on a minute. Does this mean that these marketers care about video views almost four times more than sales?

In video marketing, too much focus can be placed on how many people saw a video when, in fact, what matters is did someone watch the video and then buy the car. Yes, it’s important to have your videos on every touchpoint a buyer may visit in the purchasing process. It’s also important that your video is engaging enough that that individual watches it and decides that YOUR car is the one they want, versus the many others they may encounter. But make no mistake, car buying is an individual journey.

Our world is so noisy today that consumers go out of their way to be alone. Don’t believe me? Try to visit mostexclusivewebsite.com then come back to this blog. I dare you.

It didn’t take long for you to come back, did it? You know why? That website only allows a single visitor on its servers and then only for 60 seconds at a time. Once a person gains access, they can then leave a short message on the site to prove that they were there. Sounds kind of silly, right? I mean, why would someone visit that site? The fact is that so many people are trying to access the site that it cannot keep its servers up. According to the Washington Post more than 300,000 people have tried to access the website while only 55,000 have been successful.

People crave individual experiences. They want to feel special. Creating relevant and engaging video content can accomplish that. It can warm the customer up to your dealership as they make their way along whatever path they’ve chosen. On high funnel touchpoints, you want customers to find videos about your dealership’s value propositions and why they should consider purchasing from you, service and sales overviews, along with customer testimonials. These will start making an impression on your customer and plant a seed that you are the “good guys” and that they can trust you. As they move further down the funnel, they’ll be watching your inventory videos while searching for a vehicle. Once they are low funnel shoppers, that’s when you want to treat them like they are the only lead, the only customer, and the most important person in the world, by serving up personalized lead responses, vehicle walk arounds and appointment confirmation videos.  Video also gives you the ability to serve up custom content via your video players, throughout the entire buying cycle and specific to an individual shopper’s behavior and viewing pattern.  This makes the overall experience even more relevant and more personal to each shopper.

Stop thinking of video marketing as a numbers game. There is only one number that matters –and that is the customer that is watching your video… right… now.

Paint Your Way to Increased Profits

by Tim James

As a sales and marketing professional, you probably learned a long time ago that the best way to present your products is by using words that paint a picture. Not just any picture, a picture that puts each shopper in the picture; helps them visualize owning your product; and then mentally experience the emotional pleasure that results from that ownership.

Painting the right picture is crucial for any type of sales. At dealerships, effective salespeople utilize this technique to help the customer visualize driving that new car on a road trip; how comfortable they’ll feel during the trip; how safe they’ll feel on the road and the peace of mind they’ll have knowing that their car will function properly the whole way.

Painting pictures is even more important when dealing with customers you can’t engage with physically, such as online shoppers. Your vehicles are competing with thousands of others for the attention of the shopper. Over the years, inventory marketing has progressed as dealers have increasingly made efforts to better stand out. There was a time when many dealers didn’t even have pictures of their vehicles online. However, it has now become standard as over time, dealers have realized that including pictures increases sales and inquiries. Once everyone started doing this, progressive dealers realized that having MORE pictures made their vehicles stand out from their competition even more. Many dealerships consistently now average 30+ photos of a single vehicle in their marketing. Well-written descriptions have also become important selling points as they personalize the vehicle for the customer. These descriptions can also paint a fairly decent picture to get the reader emotionally committed to the story.

As powerful as good photos and a well-written description are, they pale in comparison to the informational and emotional power of video.

In fact, according to a recent article in TechJournal, Forrester Research reported that one minute of video was worth 1.8 million words. Imagine the emotional commitment you can generate for your inventory! Here are some other statistics shared in that article:

  • Video in email marketing can increase click-through rates by over 96%
  • Opt outs from subscribers were reduced by 75% due to video content in email marketing.
  • Video appears in around 70% of the top Google listings.
  • People who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy.

Customers don’t have the time to visit every dealer that has a 2012 Honda Civic in stock. If your vehicle doesn’t paint a picture that gets a shopper emotionally committed, chances are your vehicles are simply caught in a price or distance filter. Painting pictures, on the other hand, personalizes the vehicle and makes it stand out. Customers want to hear the story of a vehicle. Why do you think vehicle history reports are increasingly popular for consumers? They tell a vehicle’s story.

People process stories in a different way than facts and figures. Successful salespeople avoid catering solely to the analytical side of people, as that’s the part that will tell them that they should buy the least expensive vehicle. You want the customer to involve their emotions in their decision-making. That’s the part that will convince them that they should do it now. That’s when they visualize themselves as owners, not shoppers. Not just owners of ANY car, owners of THIS car…THEIR car.

By utilizing videos for your inventory, you’ll create a better experience for your shoppers resulting in more shoppers taking mental ownership of your inventory, and will hold more gross in the process. Everybody wins.