With car sales down this year, dealers are always looking for an edge in organic lead generation. Challenges facing dealerships often present great opportunities, and auto manufacturers as well as dealers alike are starting to recognize this. David Kelleher, for example, of the David Auto Group in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania saw a 37% increase in profits last year despite a declining market. “I spent less money and sold more cars than I have in 25 years.” What’s his secret sauce to improve his dealership sales? Digital video. Over 75% of auto shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases.1 Video use may seem foreign to many dealers, as auto marketers traditionally have relied on mediums such as television and print, but as Kelleher and others are uncovering, video hosted on platforms such as YouTube engages consumers throughout the car purchase customer journey, multiplies reach and cuts the cost. In this blog, we dive deeper into how this emerging dealership marketing channel is turning a historically “traditional” industry upside down by:
- Increasing brand awareness by exposing vehicle models to consumers they may not have previously considered
- Allowing consumers to pick and choose relevant marketing content to them
- Using visuals to get customers in your dealership’s door
Video Drives Brand Awareness
If you’re in the market for a new car, one of the first things you’ll likely do is carry out your own internet-based research. Increasingly, car buyers are relying on video to help them in the car-buying decision process. For savvy auto marketers, this is the perfect time to connect with people who are already thinking about making a purchase — even if they haven’t yet heard of or considered your product. The automotive industry takes pride in the fact that their products have more visual appeal than most other markets, and seeing that product on a medium consumers spend the most time on can be very effective. In fact, according to a recent study on the automotive consumer journey, over 40% of shoppers who used online video for research said that it helped them discover a vehicle they weren’t previously aware of or considering.1 Whether it’s viewing a video on your website, YouTube channel or even via social media, the first step the buyer wants to take is to see the vehicle in action and mentally put themselves in the driver’s seat.
Video Allows Shoppers to Compare Options
In addition to aiding discovery, YouTube is also becoming more assistive as people research vehicles. Over half of auto shoppers who turned to online video while researching said it helped them learn more about vehicles they were considering and 40% said they used it to narrow down their consideration set. That makes sense; after all, the sight, motion and sound of video lets shoppers experience a product in a way that few other mediums allow. And YouTube, with its breadth of content — everything from professional comparison videos to user-generated reviews — enables shoppers to research and experience vehicles in new, more immersive ways. Customers want to actually see someone test drive a car and hear their opinions. As opposed to television, digital video commands the viewers' attention in ways TV cannot. TV ads are unwarranted, and with many streaming services, can be easily avoided. Digital ads are targeted and placed in a destination where the user had intent to navigate to. When it comes to digital video, the consumer not only opts to view the video, it allows a user to click through to the website and move further along in their car buying journey through the sales funnel.
Video Gets Car Buyers to the Dealership
Video doesn’t just facilitate discovery and exploration; it also encourages people to take action. One of the huge advantages to video over print or static image ads is the visualization aspect. Consumers can see themselves in the vehicle, which provokes the consumer to physically check out the car in person. Of the auto shoppers who used video during the research process, over 60% reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of a vehicle they were considering. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saw something similar when it turned to digital video to promote their annual Jeep Celebration sales event. In collaboration with one of it’s certified providers, UnityWorks, and 300 of its Jeep dealers, FCA measured foot traffic to determine the offline impact it’s online video campaign drove. The results were impressive. The brand established that the video campaign drew more than 50,000 visitors to it’s Jeep dealerships in just a six-week period.
As the auto industry continues to face adversity through declining sales, how brands and dealers invest their marketing dollars matters more than ever. Word of mouth remains one of the largest factors for a consumer to decide which dealership to make a purchase from. In house at Mastermind, our dealer partner testimonial videos are a large part of our B2B marketing outreach.
1 (Stewart, 2018)