There are a huge number of travelers on domestic flights each year. Southwest Airlines, not unlike others, offers these passengers paid wi-fi, but, more importantly, in-flight entertainment. The standard of that entertainment has changed immensely over the years. In the not too distant past, flight attendants collected discarded newspapers and magazines and offered them up to the next group of fliers for ‘entertainment.’
Today is vastly different due to the mediums now available and advances in technology which has effectively changed people’s desires. Take a look at this image.
It is a current pamphlet in every Southwest Airlines seatback notifying passengers that there is “in-flight entertainment.”
Let’s do a quick dive into these. Five types of “free” entertainment are promoted– movies, on-demand TV, messaging, live TV and music. How many of these are video-related items? 3 out of the 5!
Guess what folks? Airlines have chosen video as the preferred method of entertainment. I bet that there were focus-groups galore before they decided what amenities they wanted to adopt and market. You better believe they did that before adopting the technology along with the related expenses!
Of course, some passengers bring their own newspapers and magazines (because the airlines don’t offer them anymore, except for their own in-flight magazines). Passengers also bring digital reading material and… surprise… iPads with movies (hint: videos)!
There are many things these days that can be used to entertain people while stuck in a giant tube 15,000 feet in the air –all looking for things to … God help me… pass the time. Personally, I prefer to sit in the first-row isle seat — I like to be the first one OFF the plane, rest my cowboy hat on my knee, and…watch movies that I’ve downloaded specifically for the flight.
If you are hesitant or uncertain about the impact video can have on your customers, just be observant on your next airplane ride and see what the majority of people are doing to pass the time… I would bet I know the answer.
If you ever travel with a cowboy hat, rest it crown up on the seat back tray to avoid any damage. Be sure to thank the flight attendants and, once you see that everyone is watching some sort of video content, take a break from any in-flight entertainment you may be enjoying, and look out the window once in a while. The Grand Canyon looks awesome from high in the air. The World is an amazing place to see!
Videos are essential for effective marketing and will continue to rise in importance in the future. They are engaging, and consumers would rather watch a video than click through a bunch of photos. I’ve talked plenty of times about the different types of videos. But for this blog, let’s get off VDPs for the moment. Some of the video content I recommend for dealers are how-to videos, vehicle walkaround videos, and reviews. This is excellent content for a dealership’s website as these videos engage existing customers. But there is another benefit that dealers tend to forget – they also attract prospective buyers and service customers. The trick is that they must be easily discoverable.
According to an article on CEOWorld, matching your video title to a search and optimizing the video description and URL is an excellent way to increase your dealership’s SEO strategy and performance.
Everyone uses a search engine – mostly Google. On a basic level, Google delivers search results by deciding which content is relevant to the search and tends to favor local results first. For example, if a consumer were to search “Chevrolet dealership,” Google won’t serve up results for dealerships across the country, but rather those nearby. The problem is that how-to and video walkaround videos and reviews don’t show up in many consumer searches because dealerships fail to tell Google that their video is relevant.
Think about it. If a consumer is looking for a review of a new model vehicle, what do they typically type into the search bar? Most consumers will type in precisely what they are looking for. If searching for a review of a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, that is pretty much exactly what they type into the search bar. Or, if they want to know what a radiator flush is, that’s what they type in the search.
It makes sense to ensure that the title of your video mimics the questions a consumer is most likely to type into a search engine. You then show relevance to Google and will show up in searches. If you hit the nail on the head and the title of your video is an exact match for the consumer’s search, you are infinitely more likely to show up high in the organic search results. And not just Google but all search engines. Also, because Google favors local search results, chances are high that local consumers will be served up your video over others.
Video is increasingly favored by search engines, social media platforms, and consumers. Therefore, it’s imperative that your dealerships have an effective and comprehensive video marketing strategy in place.
Create content consumers want to see and be smart with your titles. Consumers will then be served up your dealership website as the answer they are looking for. And that’s a great thing for sales and service.
Stitched photo videos have been around awhile. I’ve had many people ask me lately if they are still relevant, do consumers really watch them, and why dealers should have them when they already have a large number of photos and vehicle description on the VDP. My response is to remove personal opinions out of the equation and let the “data” do the talking.
The reality is that stitched photo videos can be the most important type of video content your dealership has. Consumers are video-oriented and, while it is good for a dealership to have a large number of photos of a vehicle on their VDP, consumers simply don’t want to scroll through all those photos or read all the text in the description.
If you aren’t going to invest in a full motion inventory video, then you must provide consumers with a stitched photo inventory video at a minimum. Consider this, the completion rate for a stitched photo inventory video is 70-75%! Think about that. If consumers did NOT like them, would they watch a stitched photo video for an average 1-1/2 to 2 minutes right through to the end?
The fact is, Google identified Inventory Videos as one of the most desired types of video content that today’s shopper is looking for. Dealerships who add inventory videos (stitched photo or full motion) traditionally see a 10-15% increase in total leads (all sources), appointments, shows, and sales. And when incorporated into an integrated video marketing strategy, these numbers can easily double.
Our lives revolve around video already. We watch video reviews, TV, news, Netflix… whatever. We don’t unroll the daily newspaper anymore. Everything is on demand. And that’s what consumers want.
Let me reiterate, just to be clear, I’m not saying that stitched photo videos are the BEST form of video marketing. But, for those dealers who have yet to make the commitment to full motion inventory videos, or who don’t want to pay a service to create them, my suggestion is that stitched photo videos are, at minimum, the most essential inventory marketing piece these dealers can have.
Because the data proves it. They increase VDP Engagement from your shoppers, raise your Time on Site (which Google loves), and they generate more leads than SRP’s and VDP’s that only have still photos. Is that enough reason? I would certainly think so, especially if your dealership is already taking those multiple photos of the vehicle. If that’s the case, stitched photo videos are the most straightforward solution and are very effective.
One last point that should be mentioned here: one of the most important reasons you need an inventory video (stitched photo or full motion) is to get your Value Proposition, Testimonial, and FAQ videos in front of the shoppers at that phase of the buying cycle. There is no other way to get this rich video content in front of the shopper while on the SRP/VDP, other than using the Inventory Video as leverage. This is the most critical time for that video content to be viewed!
All too often marketers find themselves with writer’s block, if you will, when it comes to new ideas. Short of spending a ton of money for an ad agency, businesses can still find opportunities to insert themselves into trending stories for little money… IF they act quickly.
Case in point: On Nov. 2, 2017, a young aspiring videographer decided to use the power of video to help his girlfriend sell her car. What was so special about it? Nothing! It was a 1996 Honda Accord. But he created this incredibly clever, well filmed video advertising the vehicle. In fact, it was so clever that, to date, it’s received over 6.2 MILLION views. Yes, a video merchandizing a car went viral. Surprise! Videos sell cars.
You can watch the video here:
CarMax heard about this trending video and quickly jumped into action. They created a response video integrating the features and items for the 1996 Honda Accord and offered $20,000 for the vehicle (We all know that a 1996 Honda Accord with over 100,000 miles is not worth $20,000). This video also went viral because outside observers joined the ongoing story to see what would happen.
Here is the response video by CarMax:
At the end of the day, the videographer accepted CarMax’s offer and his girlfriend sold the car to them – minus the cat.
Why did this work so well for all parties involved; and why did anyone care?
When making the video of the1996 Honda Accord, the aspiring videographer took the time to tell the vehicle’s story. He created a high-quality video walkaround that was over-the-top in personality. The seriousness of his tone in the video essentially became its own character.
Of course, people loved it. But why? For someone to even take the time to make a video like this is itself entertaining. But the character and personality injected into the vehicle throughout the video captured a lot of people’s attention – and for something that’s normally not that attention-getting.
Video has the power to engage and hold an audience when it’s done right — and this videographer did it perfectly.
CarMax saw an opportunity to capitalize on a trending video in a humorous way. But, more importantly, in a way that supports their brand message – namely, that they buy cars. The video had a tongue-in-cheek style that was appreciated by the Internet citizens paying attention. While their video didn’t go quite as viral (only around 350,000 views), that is certainly more views than they were used to getting on any vehicle inventory video.
In the end, the lesson to be learned is that every car has a story, something that makes it unique, special, and desired by “someone”. But that story can only be told by making videos in a way that engagers viewers. Your video doesn’t have to reach 6.2 million people. It only needs to engage one. And when it does, you’ve done your job right.
Make videos infused with personality, which are also high quality, regardless of if you’re selling a Ferrari supercar, or a 1996 Honda Accord.
The second lesson to be learned is that there are marketing and branding opportunities all over the place. You can capitalize on these without much expense, and little effort. While you certainly shouldn’t try and jump on every trending piece of social media that’s gone viral, you should identify those that fit well with your dealership and brand message. The Internet can be very critical if it senses you’re out of character, or solely trying to get attention. Your Internet audience can, however, appreciate a clever response that’s in-character.
Take this as an example of how two videos of a 1996 Honda Accord engaged millions. Consider any opportunities you have at your dealership to improve the quality and engagement of your vehicles through video marketing. You may start seeing more engaged buyers — which will translate into faster inventory turn and higher front-end revenues. And that’s what video merchandizing is all about.