There were more than a billion views on Yahoo! Video in June 2006. That's a lot of people watching a lot of online video. Such is the new state of the online experience, powered by the availability of high speed internet connections in the average household. So what does this mean for the industry? And how can marketers leverage the changing landscape of broadband video to sell more cars?
Well, we could flood all of the TV commercials onto our websites and hope people will want to watch them. Or we can create videos of the dealership, introducing its personnel, and put those on our dealerships' websites. But I propose a different solution: spend money on the things that make money. Right now, this means creating video assets that not only demonstrate what the car looks like, but also how it performs and feels. As automotive marketers, we use video everywhere, especially in campaigns designed to drive people to our online inventory or even to a particular vehicle on the website. But when they finally get to the listing itself, they find themselves in a boring and static text-filled world. Adding some life to automotive listings is one of the most important opportunities we can take advantage of now to distinguish our brands and our cars. And this life can be created through the newest video technology and can be surprisingly cost efficient.
Let's break this down: The more engaged your customers are with you vehicle listings and the simpler it is to learn about a vehicle, the more vehicles you'll sell, right? Well, what could be more engaging than technology that provides sight, sound and motion automatically to every listing on your website? Creating a full-motion video for every car on your lot and streaming it on your website for customers to use in their shopping process has been proven to be the best use of your marketing money.
Here are some statistical results from this type of campaign. Creating and adding a video for each and every pre-owned or new vehicle on your website will:
- Increase the total number of clicks on vehicles by 15 percent
- Decrease the site exit rate by 35 percent
- Increase sales directly tied to the dealers' website by as much as 32 percent (source: El Dorado Motors)
If you are thinking about jumping on the full motion video bandwagon, here are a few tips you'll need for success:
- Create videos for all your cars. Whether you sell pre-owned vehicles, new cars or both, make sure to give your customers the same experience no matter which car they look at. Why? Because even though they may be looking at a lower price car, you still want them to keep looking! The exit rate is much higher on listings with no video.
- Never use a pop-up window. Make sure the videos don't pop-up in a separate window. Opening a separate window is like opening the door for confusion and customer frustration. The window that typically opens on pop-ups is very small and can easily be lost behind the main website page, giving your customer the feeling of, "what did I do wrong, what's going on here… I hear it but I don't SEE IT." Instead, make sure the technology is embedded in the main window, or is integrated as a layer on the website.
Video content is quickly becoming the preferred choice for your customers, and with more than one billion views a month, I doubt this trend is going to change anytime soon. Your customer's appetites for a rich shopping experience are evident, and dealerships are reaping the rewards for meeting those expectations. Videos are clearly the best choice for influencing a decision, and where better place to leverage that power than at the point of sale?
Tomer Alpert is director of business development for SiSTeR Technologies. .