I was pumping gas the other day and there was a video playing on the pump; at the grocery store they had a screen playing the news while people waited to check out; I have a screen on the smartphone in my pocket—Video is everywhere these days, especially on the internet.
There are several factors that have led to the growth of online video. The largest of which is probably the increase in internet connection speeds. Prior to the mass adoption of broadband it was simply impractical to stream videos over the internet for most people. Couple that with the massive decrease in price, and simultaneous increase in quality of video cameras, not to mention the fact that almost all of us have a video camera at the ready in our pockets with our smartphones and it’s no surprise that the internet is now awash in video.
There is more to this than simply an increase in the availability of video technology and a means to distribute it. There are 100 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube1. That is amazing; for every minute of the day, there are four days of video uploaded, which is over four million hours of video a month. What’s even more incredible than the amount of videos people upload is how many people watch those videos. On YouTube alone, there are one million active users, watching six billion hours of video every month. That’s almost an hour for every man, woman, and child on the planet!
Video has a much more direct effect on us than reading something. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. We humans are visual creatures; we encounter the world primarily through our eyes and what we see has a profound effect on us. Humans have been watching each other and animals for entertainment and education since we started to walk upright. I’m sure 200,000 years ago, Ooog liked watching animals do silly things on the savannah and if he was getting a new club from his local club dealer Oook, he wanted to see it in action before he decided to buy. Besides the collapse of the wooden-club market, the main difference now is that we can see our silly cat videos and preview our purchases online, instead of in-person.
Using Video to Connect with Consumers
147.4 million Americans watch video online2, which has a lot to do with why videos are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google’s search results3—people want to watch them. The question for auto dealers then is: How do you take advantage of the growth of online video to connect with these customers?
The first thing to remember is that consumers want to watch video online, including videos about your products and business. In fact, according to a Invodo study, 52% of consumers who watch product videos say those videos increase their confidence in that product. With that kind of interest from consumers, you need to start using video in your marketing.
A good way to start with video is to make a video of every vehicle you have for sale, flaws and all. Dealers have been posting in increasing number of pictures with their vehicles they have for sale and have learned that the best practice is to show the cars dings and other flaws up-front to create trust with the consumer. The logical evolution of this is video. Why post 20, 30, or even 40 pictures that a potential customer has to scroll through when you could post the same information in one single video, which also includes audio to let you describe the vehicle just like you would if you were showing the vehicle in person?
Another good way to use video is to introduce your team. Who wants to read a boring “About Us” page or a salesperson’s online bio? Instead, have your staff, from your salespeople and service employees to the front-desk person and the dealer principal, create short, video introductions of themselves for your website. Show that your employees are members of your community. They can mention charity work they do, where their children go to school, or anything else that marks them as a part of your community at large.
Short introduction videos like these are simple to create and allow customers to feel like they know your staff, making them more comfortable and creating a level of trust with the customer. Whether it’s service, sales, or F&I, consumers have their guards up when they talk to a dealership. By creating videos of your staff, potential customers will see the people working at your dealership as individuals instead of just a car salesperson or mechanic. Customers might dread talking to a salesperson or mechanic, but talking to Jessica from sales department or Jeff from the service bay isn’t nearly as threatening.
Don’t limit your videos to vehicles for sale and your staff, however, become a resource for your customers. Do you live in a state with brutal winters? Make some videos on how customers can prepare their cars for winter and how to prevent rust damage from road salt. Does your customer need new tires? Make a video showing them how to check the tread to find out. Consumers spend a lot of money on their vehicles and they want them to keep their value; show them you want to do more than just sell them a car—you want to support them throughout the life of their vehicle. Become a resource for your customers and they will reward you with their business.
Optimizing Video for Search
By creating videos that help customers find the information they’re looking for and see the cars they’re interested in, you are not only connecting with customers, but making your website sticky. After all, the last thing you want a potential customer to do is leave your site to research their vehicle and end up on one of your competitors’ websites. But video can also help potential customers find you on Google and the other search engines.
You should always embed your videos on your website; YouTube is a good choice for this. There are, however, several other video sharing sites for you to post your video on as well, such as vimeo, Dailymotion, and Veoh. While it’s true that none of these sites have the same traffic as YouTube, they are still useful channels for your videos. Think of them as the lower rated TV stations; people are still watching them and, unlike television, you don’t have to pay to place your videos on them.
When you post your video online, be sure to include a detailed description that includes your website URL and information about your dealership. This is important, because 62% of Google search results contain video4 and video results have a 41% higher click through rate than plain text results5, but if a customer finds your video on YouTube through search, and your video peaks their interest, they need to know how to connect with your dealership, or you may lose a sale you didn’t even know you had.
Video can benefit all aspects of your marketing, from search to how potential customers view your dealership. When it comes to the increasingly important tablet and smartphone market, however, video is even more essential. Mobile and tablet shoppers are three times as likely to view a video as desktop or laptop users6. Combine that with the fact that 80% of internet users watch video ads online and, of those, 46% took an action after viewing the ad, and it’s obvious why the future of dealership marketing will not only be mobile, but mobile video.
Video is taking over the internet; whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, PC, laptop, or any other device you use you to connect to the internet, increasingly video is the reason for going to the internet. There’s a place for banner ads and search engine marketing can significantly boost your traffic, but as television and other video moves online, so will consumer eyeballs and if you want to be in front of those customers when they’re ready to buy, you need video.