According to Google and Millward Brown “online video is the #1 ad format to discover and consider a new brand.” Online video is exploding and expected to grow from $9.9B in 2016 to over $28B in 2020. One of the key reasons for this continued growth is that there are media platforms that exist today that allow marketers to send messages with laser precision to in-market shoppers within a 10 to 20 mile radius around a dealership. This allows both brands and dealers to extend their TV reach through micro-targeted, omnichannel video campaigns.
The growth of mobile has certainly been a catalyst for the continued growth of online video with mobile users three times more likely to watch a video on their device than on a desktop. The powerful millennial generation is spending more time online than they are watching TV. They are avid video viewers and the right message sent their way could get their attention and make an impact far more than a passive view on TV.
“Always On” Video
I strongly encourage brands and auto dealers to not view online video as just another tactic, but rather as a core component of an “Always On” video strategy that should be used each month to promote key models and intercept competitive shoppers.
Whether you create and place your pre-roll campaigns on your own or through a provider, the best place to start is with either Google’s DoubleClick platform or YouTube’s TrueView platform. For conquest campaigns you will be able to target specific competitive model shoppers and will see a much greater click through results with DoubleClick. A YouTube campaign is best for extending reach and allows you to receive free impressions if the viewer does not watch the entire ad.
I recommend using “skippable” ads for your campaigns. In fact, I have seen research that shows that skippable pre-roll ads are 75% more engaging than non-skippable ads. That’s because people choose to watch them. A relevant ad that is created specifically for pre-roll use needs to get attention but also needs to interest the viewer enough to lead them closer to a dealer visit by letting them know what to expect “after the click”.
Nurturing a Competitive Shopper
I do not believe that an in-market competitive shopper (who is not actively considering your brand or model) should be sent directly to a dealer’s inventory page. The goal is to deepen engagement through a more in-depth video experience of the model featured with the opportunity to view additional model content or even videos of other models within the brand lineup. The shopper should be provided with an easy gateway to the dealer’s inventory when they are ready. Remember to concentrate on conquest shoppers who may be new to your brand.
So don’t get hung up about leads or calls. Most shoppers will find great value in your video presentation and then decide, when ready, to visit the dealership. The goal is to make this single interaction as valuable as possible. If you do your job right, they will move to the next stage.
I call these destination pages that occur after the pre-roll click, Video Showcases. This video rich “end-to-end” experience is valuable to a shopper and highly unexpected within the typical dealer website experience. All traffic from pre-roll campaigns, video email campaigns, and even display campaigns can be directed to these dynamic video destination experiences.
JD Power O2O Analytics Validates Sales Lift
Recently, we engaged JD Power O2O Analytics to analyze our pre-roll performance to see if we could, for the first time, determine if our conquest pre-roll campaigns had an impact on actual sales. JD Power analyzed the combined performance of over 400 dealer campaigns over a five-month period and compared actual offline sales to a random sample of 70 mm households.
The results showed that after five months of campaign exposure, shoppers exposed to model-specific campaigns were on average 39% more likely to purchase the advertised client brand, and 43% more likely to purchase the advertised client model than all new vehicle buyers exposed to the campaign,” said Ken Insana, senior director of O2O Analytics at JD Power.
This third-party validation clearly signals to brands and dealers that they should adopt a core video strategy for the entire year and make pre-roll a cornerstone channel for both sales and service marketing. This channel complements PPC and reaches auto shoppers who are in market and online every day. It provides a mobile first strategy that allows dealers to increase their reach and message effectiveness through online video campaigns.
Get Onboard the Video Train
It is time automakers urge their dealers to get onboard and embrace video, the same way they incented them to shift significant funding to Search/PPC campaigns. With only 5% of all Internet browsers conducting a search query, why not start sending messages to new auto shoppers who are spending 95% of their time consuming content on their desktop, tablets or smartphones?
For 2017 I am hoping we see more OEMs and dealers starting to adopt a consistent video strategy that directs dollars each month to featured models, sales events and competitive prospects. A comprehensive video strategy should include DoubleClick pre-roll campaigns, Facebook Video, and YouTube Video campaigns.
I firmly believe that the OEMs and dealers that embrace video and adopt this “Always On” approach to their overall marketing efforts are certain to be winners within this highly competitive marketplace.
Don’t be left behind.
Author: Tim Copacia
Tim Copacia is Executive Vice President, Strategic Development at UnityWorks. He is a former agency CEO and automotive pioneer in Digital marketing, CRM, Customer Experience Management and Data Driven Video Experiences. He has held executive level roles at BBDO, Wunderman/Young & Rubicam, Campbell Ewald and Ross Roy/InterOne Marketing Group. He has led multi-million dollar Omni-channel marketing programs across all marketing tiers for several major OEMs.