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Timmy James

Timmy James Chief Operating Officer

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YouWho? Why YouTube May Not Be Your Most Effective Video Marketing Option

As consumer touch-points in the car buying journey continue to increase, it’s ever more important to ensure that your video content is available at each and every one of those pit stops the car buyer takes. Your digital touchpoints are in essence your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. For example, customers may find your business online in an ad, see ratings and reviews, visit your website, or receive an email, to name a few. Often, the problem is getting your videos on all these touch-points.  It may be very time consuming to upload each of your videos to each touch-point.  For that reason, many choose to “host” their videos with a hosting service and then hyperlink or embed their video URL’s to get additional exposure and visibility.    

YouTube has long been the king of video hosting platforms and may seem to be the obvious choice. However, there are some things that you should consider when developing your video marketing strategy that may or may not make YouTube the best option for you and your marketing partners. “Self-hosting” or using a “3rd party host” that specializes in the automotive marketplace may be a better option for you.

If you are spending a lot of money to rank your website, certain pages of your website, landing pages, etc., then embedding a YouTube video on those pages may not be your best option.  You see, when you upload a video to YouTube, YouTube claims the metadata and SEO value of your video. So, if a consumer were to find that content via a Google search, they will most likely be taken to your video on YouTube, versus to the page of your website that your video resides on. 

However, if you self-host, or utilize a third party host that allows you to claim the SEO value of your videos, then you can apply a meta tag and video sitemap strategy on your web pages that can create the same (or better) visibility for your video on Google, but bring shoppers, when engaged, back to YOUR website, or the webpage that the video resides on. 

One of the most powerful advantages of self-hosting or utilizing a hosting platform within the auto industry is that you now have real-time access to your data. You can also integrate that data into your CRM. For example, you can follow the customer along their path as they watch your video on a third party listing site; and again, as they view a video email you sent them; and later, when they start viewing inventory videos on your own website. All of this behavioral data provides clues as to where in the funnel – and what vehicles specifically – these customers are considering. This enables the delivery of precise messages that are extremely relevant to the consumer, at the exact right moment in their buying process. Because this video content is hyper-relevant, consumers will engage with it more. In addition, the ability to follow the customer on their path (and see the vehicles they are interested in and where they are watching your videos from), enables video remarketing opportunities in real-time via the video the consumer is watching, such as geo-targeted messages for shoppers who are showrooming from your competitor’s lot.

Utilizing a hosting service that specializes in the automotive industry could also open up tons of advantages such as automating the process of getting your video content on many of your most valuable touch-points. Now you can control how and where the video is delivered. Industry-specific companies also allow you to integrate third party conversion widgets straight into your video. Because you have this level of control, you can generate dynamic rule and behavior-based content in real time. This transforms all of your videos into content that has greater informational and emotional value.

Don’t misunderstand me -- YouTube and other video platforms are also touch-points on a consumer’s journey and can provide video search engine optimization benefits. You can absolutely upload your video content to YouTube as well, to maximize your exposure on their network. 

Chances are your automotive specific host could automate that part of your strategy for you as well. That being said, those VSEO benefits from YouTube, while valuable, cannot trump the level of personalization and customizability that an industry hosting service can provide. So, rather than relying on YouTube to host your video, take your content back under your control by leveraging all of the benefits an industry specific hosting platform. You’ll find out very quickly that you can implement a more effective video marketing strategy.

Tom Hawkins

People sell cars every day without Autotrader and Cars.com. What Tim wrote made sense. I understand that you would need to spend the money to optimize, but he is right that it would be better direct exposure. Also, if you use video for other uses on a frequent basis...such as walk-arounds and video emails, YouTube is NOT a goo platform for that. Way too much time involved. Hosting services are then more than worth the money.

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