Consumers increasingly use mobile devices to view content online. Study after study cites the fact that mobile devices are on a continued rise as the preferred medium for content. They surpassed desktops not too long ago and will undoubtedly continue to rise in dominance.
Mobile devices are always at hand, can be used almost anywhere, and are a convenient way to consume content. Because of this, marketers are on the lookout for the preferred type of content consumers want to view on their mobile devices.
What’s easier to do on a mobile device? Reading an article or watching a video? If you answered watching a video, then you’re in the majority. Video ad spend is expected to reach over $100 billion by 2023, accounting for 80 percent of all Internet traffic according to a recent article on MarTech.
Facebook was the first to tie “mobile first” to “video first” as a strategy for brands. Why? Well, think about the billions of Facebook users and its unlimited content. Facebook knows where people browse on their site and, more importantly, what type of content they pay the most attention to. And that content is video.
Just look at the evolution of video. Why do you think we’ve progressed from stitched photo videos to real-time video and now 360 degree, augmented and virtual reality video? It’s not because marketers want it. It’s because consumers want it. There is simply no other reason to create a strategy and invest the time and effort into content production.
Look at Netflix. It went from a small mail-order movie rental company into one that dominates consumer’s televisions with streaming content. It is now one of the fastest and most prolific producers of original content in the country. Why would it choose to make that investment? Because that’s what consumers want! Netflix knows that the more eyeballs it can get, the more money it can make.
And that’s precisely how you should be viewing video content.
Video continues to dominate every form of content delivery. It takes less effort to consume and is more immersive. It’s easier to consume on mobile devices and captures more details in a way that text can’t. A consumer can’t really “see” a car by reading a Monroney sticker. They can, however, kick its virtual tires online and cruise through and around it via video.
Video content is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but marketers that fail to use it – and fail to have a robust mobile and video strategy – will quickly find themselves left behind eating their competitors’ dust. And, more importantly, left behind by their potential customers.
Decide now to increase your video content production efforts and include mobile in your strategy. You will quickly find that not only do your customers like it… but so does your bank account.
Assuming your dealership has a video marketing strategy in place and that you’re getting good results, you may be ready to take your video marketing to another level.
To quickly review, the fundamental basic blocks of a video marketing strategy include:
- Content. Start with what you sell…your inventory. Next sell them on your dealership with value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos, and service “how to” videos. Also, sell them on your staff with personnel introduction/profile videos. All of these content videos build trust with the shopper.
- Exposure. In addition to your website, your videos should be on multiple touchpoints like Cars.com, Autotrader.com, Facebook, and any other distribution points video is accepted to display. Also using video in email marketing and in the lead follow-up process garners great results when compared to traditional e-mail and phone calls.
- Actionable Data Collection. Where you host your video plays a very important role in the success of a video marketing strategy. Using public hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo do not help your SEO nor guarantee to keep your shopper on your site. Your dealership’s video should be hosted on a platform that allows your website to claim the SEO benefits of your video, and also has the ability to collect actionable data from your video viewers so you know who’s watching which video from where and with what.
- Data Utilization. Use the actionable data to create relevancy, to create or adjust your marketing endeavors so you are able to serve up the right video to the right customer at the right time.
Now that we have reviewed the core elements to a successful video marketing strategy, let’s take a look at kicking it up a notch.
Here are some additional elements to add to your strategy designed to even further increase your engagement, conversions and leads.
Empower Your Customers with Information
Today’s consumers want to be in control of the purchase process. Videos can have a significant impact in that process, with up to 90 percent of people claiming that video plays a role in their purchasing decisions, according to one report.
Although customers want to be in control, they still need information and a trusted resource to guide their decision. Why not become that trusted resource?
When it comes to car shopping, most dealers don’t have a lot of information on their website to help prospective buyers in their research and decision-making process. Why leave that up to the OEMs and third-party sites?
Part of this process involves deciding where to buy. Customers want to buy from a dealership they trust. One of the best ways to gain that trust is to provide the car shopper with information in a transparent way.
If you don’t already have a video showroom on your website, it’s time to add one. Then, create and add the following types of videos:
- Explain the difference between your brand’s trim levels
- Explain the difference between your brand and your top two competing brands
- Explain new features in a newly introduced product/brand
- Explain the sales process/what to expect at your dealership
- Explain the F&I process and products
These videos should focus on educating the shopper. Their purpose is to gain customer trust, so the videos should be focused on your customers’ needs and your dealership’s expertise.
Virtual Reality Video
Virtual Reality (VR) is already mainstream. The good news for dealers is that creating VR videos doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or time. You can create VR videos in approximately the same amount of time as you can a regular video.
VR videos are highly engaging and will differentiate your brand, at least until the rest of the Jones’s on the block catch up. If you want a captive audience, start by creating and posting a few model review videos on your website in VR first as these will be more relevant longer then an inventory specific video. To get even more engagement you can then distribute them through email and your social media channels.
Watching a VR video is a completely different experience than watching a regular video; if you haven’t tried it yet, you should! The experience is completely immersive, memorable and emotional.
You don’t have to start doing VR videos for every piece of inventory. Focus on creating a VR video for your new models and make them both educational and fun, if possible. As the customer is sitting in the front seat, guide them through what they’re seeing, touching and feeling.
Consumers can experience VR videos if they own a smartphone and a pair of VR goggles or headsets. All that’s required is downloading an app that can play virtual reality videos.
Live Streaming Video
Today’s consumer demands instant information and transparency during the car-buying process, and live-streaming video calls are a great way to establish a connection, build trust and provide information in an immediate and transparent manner.
Live streaming is another technology that you may want to consider incorporating into your sales process. Allow your shoppers to connect in real-time with your team. It’s not just Millennials that want their information now…Boomers do too!
Are you ready to take your video marketing game to the next level? Try these three video strategies designed to engage customers and increase conversions and leads.
I’ve spoken many times about the types of video a dealership should produce outside of inventory videos to create an emotional connection to your brand, dealership and employees. However, there is one thing I have touched on in the past that needs more attention. It is, in fact, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give:
The car should always be the star!
What do I mean by that? Regardless of the type of video you produce, the sole focus of each is fundamentally to excite and persuade a potential customer to choose your dealership and come in to buy a vehicle. But what about personalized walkaround videos, personal e-mail responses, why buy videos, or customer testimonials?
If you’re creating video content for your dealership and only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: Make sure that the brand you represent, and/or the vehicle you are trying to sell, is visible in every video.
It’s great to send a personalized video email response to a customer. It’s certainly engaging and puts a face behind the name. But, while the personal video e-mail response will do that, the customer ultimately is considering purchasing something you sell.
Imagine how much more powerful a personalized video response would be if, instead of filming in front a background consisting of a white wall or other desks, it was filmed in front of the exact vehicle the customer inquired about. I’m not talking about a walkaround. Simply a little product placement. There’s a reason major brands pay big money for product placement in movies, television shows and video games. That’s because it pays off! That Pepsi can that the actor is drinking out of may never be mentioned or referred to — but I can guarantee you one thing… it was noticed.
Make sure that, when making a personal video response, why buy video, or while filming a customer testimonial, the background contains either a vehicle that you sell, the specific one the customer is interested in, or the vehicle they already purchased.
Video content is evergreen in that it doesn’t expire. It can float around the digital universe for an eternity if you want it to. Ensure that as many videos as possible promote not only your store and employees, but also the vehicles that you sell. You never know when someone will come across it and be impacted by it.
Many times, those accidental or unintended video views lead to relationships that span a lifetime. Make sure every piece of video content displays your vehicles – even if that’s not the video’s intent – and you’ll take your engagement and connection to the next level.
For professional marketers across all industries, the top priority for 2018 is to convert leads into customers, according to Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2017 report. Sound familiar? Most auto dealers I know have the same goal.
In order to accomplish that goal, 48 percent of these professional marketers will be adding video to their marketing strategy this year. In fact, video is their number one strategy, far above social media, email and other traditional forms of marketing.
The reason for this is simple: people love watching videos! Even those die-hard readers out there have to admit there is a time and place for video. There’s a reason why video is the number one type of content consumed globally.
Actually, there are several reasons why video should be your auto dealership’s top marketing priority in 2018:
1) People Trust Video
Trust is an important factor in the decision-making process. How can you get potential customers to trust you? Being likeable helps, but even more important is to have a brand that’s known for integrity and product expertise.
Videos are the ideal method for building a trustworthy brand image. You can post words on your website and broadcast them on radio, but the combination of video and audio delivers a far more powerful impact.
That’s because video conveys messages with both verbal and non-verbal cues. Remember that communication is:
- 7 percent the words that you say
- 55 percent body language
- 38 percent the tone of voice
For consumers, finding a trustworthy brand is an important step along the car-buying journey. Another study found that a user’s positive experience with a video increased brand association by 139 percent.
2) Video Creates an Emotional Response
Emotion sells because it happens on a very instinctive level. People may not be aware of why they’re buying–they just know they feel good about it.
To differentiate your dealership and generate a powerful emotional response in viewers, create inventory videos with voiceovers that focus not just on the features, but on how owning the vehicle will make the buyer feel.
According to a recent Gallup study, “businesses that optimize this (emotional) connection outperform competitors by 26 percent in gross margin and 85 percent in sales growth.”
3) Video is Memorable
When was the last time you heard someone talk about a great newspaper or digital ad they just saw? When was the last time you heard someone mention a great video they just watched?
The reason why videos are memorable is based on science. People remember only 10 percent of what they see, but 50 percent of what they see and hear. A great video can touch people’s emotions like no other form of media can.
The right combination of music, narration, visuals and motion invites viewers to experience your product and your brand, instead of just hearing about it.
According to the Online Publishers Association, 80 percent of Internet users recall watching a video on a website they visited in the past 30 days. Of that 80 percent, 46 percent took some action after viewing the video, including looking for more information, visiting the website, visiting the company and purchasing a product.
It’s pretty simple: use video to make your brand memorable, and consumers will remember your brand.
4) Video Saves Time
A two-minute video can deliver a lot of information. From the consumer’s point of view, watching a video takes less effort and time than reading text and trying to decipher which product or service is best for them.
Try viewing your Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) from a car-buyer’s perspective. Do you think most people read all the specs listed there? A consumer may scan the text but unless they are looking for something specific, they won’t remember much.
Static photos don’t convey a lot of information either; only what the vehicle looks like. Video on the other hand, can present rich visuals along with a voiceover that helps to educate and excite the consumer.
In a sense, videos remove the burden of research, reading and decision-making on the part of the consumer. If all of that information can be delivered in a video, people will choose to watch the video, every time.
Is video on your 2018 marketing priority list? Consumers love video, so if you’re serious about giving your customers what they want, give them video.
When dealerships first start their video marketing programs, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “Will I have to buy an expensive camera?” The answer is no. Just about everyone these days has a smartphone that can shoot HD video. When used properly, the quality of video produced can be exceptional. All it takes is practice.
Most dealers start with inventory walkaround videos and these are probably the trickiest videos to shoot, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.
First, to ensure a good high-resolution (and non-pixelated) video, adjust your camera setting to record video at 1920 x 1080 and 30 frames per second (fps), unless you plan to extract your still images for the inventory from the video. In that case you may want to utilize 60 frames per second (fps).
Next, invest in a stabilizer. Most smartphones have a pretty good stabilizer built into them today, but they will only make a good video better. This is the merchandising layer for your inventory that most shoppers are going to view, so invest in the tools that you need to provide the best experience for your shoppers that you can. Don’t fool yourself into believing you can walk around the vehicle while holding the smartphone steady in your hand. The result will be a bouncy video that will make your viewers seasick and result in low video completion rates.
A hand-held stabilizer or tripod is better than nothing, but if you want to produce the best quality video invest in a 3-axis gimbal for a couple hundred bucks. It is worth every penny! For top of the line stabilization a 4-axis gimbal is even better, but may run you a couple thousand.
Currently we recommend using a set-up that includes your smartphone, and the DJI OSMO camera/gimbal combo. This is a really cool camera that takes amazing quality video and connects wirelessly with your smartphone, so you can use your smartphone to view what the camera is recording.
You can find a DJI OSMO starter kit for around $500 and depending on how you want to accessorize it, you may spend $700 to $800. This is a small investment that will make your inventory shine! GoPro also offers some great camera/stabilizer combinations that cost less and produce very good quality videos as well.
Once you have a stabilizer, the next thing you’ll want to address is lighting. Smartphones have small lenses so adequate lighting is critical. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re shooting outdoors, but always position the vehicle so you will not be pointing the camera into direct light, such as the sun.
When you first begin shooting walkarounds, you may want to allow extra time to shoot the entire video two or three times. With each ‘take,’ experiment with different ISO settings, which measure your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. On a sunny day your ISO settings will be lower and on cloudy days your ISO settings will be higher. If you do shoot on a sunny day, avoid shooting midday because that’s when the sun casts the harshest shadows. Instead, schedule shoots for early morning or late afternoon.
For vehicle walkarounds, you want to feature shots panning the side of the vehicle, as well as the front and back so the viewer has a good sense of what the vehicle looks like from all angles. Open the doors and shoot the interior, both front and back.
Then focus on shooting the features that you will use to sell the car, such as the Infotainment system, new tires, safety features, etc. The total length of your walkaround videos can range from one to four minutes. Don’t believe experts who tell you that all videos have to be one minute or less. Though this is probably true for a bad or dull video, if the presentation is informative and entertaining, two, three or even four minutes is okay. There are plenty of dealerships that get 80 to 90 percent completion rates with videos that long, and plenty of dealerships that only get a 50 to 60 percent completion rate with their bouncy and dull one- minute videos.
If you are worried about the audio track for your videos, you can have your photographer shoot your videos and have a data driven audio track added to the video automatically. If you are adding your own audio while shooting the videos, or if you decide to shoot your walkaround videos featuring a salesperson or spokesperson giving a live presentation, invest in a good noise-cancelling microphone.
Either way you can always go back and replace the audio layer of the video if you want or need to without having to re-shoot the video. You can even personalize the audio layer of the videos for specific leads (personalized walkarounds) without having to shoot another video, saving you a LOT of time while producing an identical personalized walkaround video to one that was shot from scratch.
Finally, expect that the first few videos you create will probably suck. Don’t be discouraged! Practice makes perfect. Keep doing it and eventually things will click. Pretty soon you will find your own unique style and every walkaround video will become a mini-masterpiece.
What tips do you have for shooting professional quality video with your smartphone?
by Tim James
While statistics may seem boring, they are certainly key when choosing a marketing strategy. They can highlight where you should direct your efforts in order to be the most effective and maximize ROI.
There are a ton of statistics floating out there and thousands of articles which – if you don’t believe me – should be sufficient to convince you that video content and marketing is THE most effective medium to engage consumers – both now and for the foreseeable future.
To illustrate this for you, I assembled seven statistics that caught my eye from this published list of 50 Video Marketing Stats to Help You Create a Winning Social Media Strategy in 2017.
I picked the seven I feel will be of particular interest, without overwhelming you with hundreds of statistics.
- “Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, according to CISCO.”
What does that mean for car dealers? Unless you have video content on your website, and all the consumer touchpoints, you may find your dealership falls into that sad 20% of internet traffic that misses eight out of ten car buyers.
- “73% of marketers plan on increasing their use of videos, according to Social Media Examiner”
I’m fairly certain there are some pretty smart people among the 73% of marketers that plan to increase video use. If such a large percentage of marketers chooses to increase their video strategies and budgets, they must be finding video an effective medium that produces revenue.
- “55% of people consume video thoroughly – the highest amount of all types of content, according to HubSpot”
If you’re going to create content to market your dealership and your inventory, why not create the best, most effective type of content that your customers (or potential customers) will actually watch? Makes perfect sense to me and, apparently, video is the content type that consumers want.
- “43%of people want to see more video content from marketers in the future, according to HubSpot.”
Again, if consumers want more video content, the only possible reason is that video is how they want brands and businesses to engage with them. It’s much easier, more engaging and memorable to present your message in a way that engages all the consumer’s senses – and that’s what video does (and probably why consumers want it.)
- “4X as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than reading about it. 4 in 5 millennials consider video content when researching a purchase decision and 70% of millennials are likely to watch a company video when shopping online, according to Animoto.”
I lumped these together because these statistics illustrate that consumers want video content, are watching company-produced video content and are using it to make purchasing decisions. That certainly sounds like something I would be interested in if I were a car dealer trying to attract buyers – especially the anonymous buyers who are shopping your inventory online without your knowledge.
- “Companies which use videos in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster year-on-year than those which don’t, according to the Aberdeen Group.”
I think it’s safe to say that any business – including car dealerships – is interested in revenue growth. If having a video marketing strategy in place can increase revenue by 49%, it should certainly be common-sense to implement one. Of course, it’s not just about USING video, but about using it RIGHT with a strategy in place. And what happens when you have a strategy in place…
- “Companies which use video in their marketing enjoy 27% higher CTR and 34% higher web conversion rates than those which don’t, according to the Aberdeen Group.”
I don’t know about you but the whole POINT of having a website, investing in digital marketing of all types, and merchandising your inventory through third-party sites and all the other touchpoints, is to engage the customer and, ultimately, have them engage you back by contacting you or submitting a lead. If using video will increase click-throughs and conversions at that level, why wouldn’t you want it?
I hope these seven points I chose provide food for thought to help prove the point that any time and effort spent implementing a strategic video marketing strategy will produce ROI. And believe me when I tell you that it’s not as hard or time-consuming as you may think. Chances are you have the essentials to get started right in front of you– heck, you may even be reading this blog article with it – a smartphone.
Video marketing can be easy and take little effort and time. Sure, you can also spend more time and money and produce even more slick videos with sets and expensive equipment, if you should desire. The point is that it shouldn’t be a question of whether you SHOULD be doing video marketing, but rather WHEN are you going to start?