I recently attended the North American Dealer’s Association national conference in Nevada.
There were literally acres of vendor displays, with the suppliers showing off the latest technologies to help dealers increase their sales and beat the competition. The scene inside the convention center mirrored the flash and glitz of the Vegas Boulevard strip itself – with huge wall sized displays screen mock-ups of the latest dashboards. Dashboards that would rival that of an F-35 fight pilot cockpit! The tools to manage and communicate with clients have never been more numerous.
Clients too are increasingly using these tools to gather information. From advanced consumer reports, to portals like Edmunds and Truecar offering consumers unparalleled analytics on market supply, fair market value and resale. All these tools are being accessed by consumers during their road to purchase. Dealers have recognized this, and have begun, en masse to jump on board with digital marketing. It is a rare event that I can meet a dealership today who doesn’t know about his Google Adwords campaigns. But when I ask a dealer about his or her video strategy, and I get a wild range of strategies from the loosely managed, “Joe is our tech lover and he puts all kinds of videos on Youtube for us!” to the very labour intensive, ” We send a Youtube video to every customer who inquires about a car.” To their credit, everyone knows video is an important strategy, and it is clear that a lot of dealers are putting a lot of effort to address this. I am not sure it is all effective. Like any task, it is important to be clear on what it (video) needs to accomplish, and how the best way to do it. To explain more, we need to understand the consumer journey a little better.
Various studies shows that clients average 14-18 hours of online research when selecting their next vehicle. Your online marketing strategy should align itself with each of the key moments in the customer’s search experience. Google calls these moments- Micro Moments. One of the most important stages in the customer’s research is when they watch a review of the cars they are looking at online. In fact, 18-34 year olds say that Youtube is the best place for them to learn about a product that interests them*. Youtube videos play a key role as the customer does a virtual test drive of the vehicle by watching a Youtube video review of their vehicle. What a perfect moment to have a strong and targeted communication strategy. The client is clearly engaged in the buying cycle when they are watching videos, especially third party videos on sites like Youtube. These videos are strong influencers as they are perceived as more impartial then videos embedded on dealer sites and manufacturer sites.
So, to recap, we have consumer, nearing the end of their research, making a final validation online of their choice of a vehicle(s). They search for their vehicle in Youtube, I recommend you try it yourself. Type a vehicle into Youtube’s search bar, for example, use the term 2016 Mazda CX-3. As you type, Youtube’s indexed search will begin recommending the most popular search terms (underneath the search bar), and in that selection you will see the most viewed videos include reviews.
Here is where it gets interesting, and results vary wildly. We have a car shopper online and totally captive. A Video Micro-Moment as Google calls it. As the video queues up, and the pre-roll (advertisement) comes on, and what comes up? Is it a car advertisement? Is it a, ”why buy here,” video for your dealership or manufacturer? No! More often then not, it comes up with nothing (what an opportunity to advertise in- no competition!!!) or it is a video advertisement for toilet paper featuring fluffy white kittens, or an advertisement for the latest flavour of potato chip. Too often, the advertisement video has nothing to do with a car! What a missed opportunity! Wouldn’t you love to feature your advertisement right there, reminding customers of your unique selling position? It is a great opportunity for conquest business or for re-enforcing your brand or your models. Note, since I wrote this, I have noticed one manufacturer- Ford- is waking up to the enormous opportunity that lies within Facebook. This space won’t be uncrowded forever. The time to take advantage of this is now before the bidding wars start.
The best part, just like Adwords, where you only pay when a client clicks, you don’t get charged for every one of your Youtube video ads that play. Let me clarify, if the customer clicks to skip your ad- you are not charged. Only if the client clicks your video or watches over 30 seconds of the clip, do you get charged (watch for this time to shorten as Youtube advertising explodes!).
The biggest challenge is the content. Some dealerships have done comparison videos, pitting their vehicle against the competition. This, however, requires a lot of work, and unless you have a production studio, having a comparison video for each of your competitors vehicles could be very time consuming and not sustainable! (Skip to the next paragraph to learn how SM360 automates the process of youtube video creation with dynamic videos!) An easier strategy would be to create one powerful, “Unique Selling Position” video. For example, one manufacturer currently offers an “Unlimited Warranty” on all their new vehicles. Explaining that warranty in a quick video could be a big differentiating influencer could positively influence the audience to the advertiser’s product. Every manufacturer and dealer has unique selling positions they can target in the pre-roll to get their message across.
If you are looking to best understand how to get your message across in this marketplace, SM360 can help. SM360 has also automated much of the tedious part of creating content by dynamically and automatically creating videos from your inventory and special offers. With your account manager, you can selectively target the regions and audiences you are after. You choose where and how your video plays to customers. With a clear sense of what you want to achieve, Youtube can be an integral, effective and high yield component of your digital marketing strategy.
*Google Consumer Surveys, March 2014, U.S. 10 platforms surveyed: YouTube, Hulu, ESPN.com