For decades, television has been the ultimate advertising playground for car dealers. From crazy to conservative, from soft to silly, and every wacky idea in between, dealers have had a blank canvas to do whatever they want.
But guess what, that canvas just got a whole lot bigger and they installed a new jungle gym on that playground. It’s online video, and for advertisers, video pre-roll is the new frontier.
Just in case you’re not familiar with the term pre-roll yet. They’re the commercials you see right before the funny cat video or the “ain’t nobody got time for that” video on YouTube. Same with the commercials on news, sports, and entertainment websites, and even online video games. You can literally run pre-roll ads on over 50,000 websites, but target them on a local level for your dealership.
You may say that you’re already killing it on TV; why should you do pre-roll too? Well when you add video pre-roll to your marketing mix, you’re tapping into a whole new land of opportunity to get new leads. Take a look:
- Adding pre-roll to your buys can increase the reach of your TV campaign
- You can hyper-target different demographics in specific locations
- Use retargeting to reach a shopper at every stage of the online buying cycle
- You’ll receive the metrics and accountability of a digital campaign
- It’s very affordable and you get the powerful impact of a TV commercial
We could talk for hours about “why” pre-roll. But in this article, I want to address how to get from TV to pre-roll in terms of your creative. Specifically, there’s one burning question:
I’ve already paid to have a TV commercial produced. Can’t I just use it for my pre-roll buy?
This is a frequently asked question since it would save you time and money, but here are some points to ponder:
Think mobile first.
When a car shopper sees your pre-roll video online, it’s more than likely on a mobile device. That’s a much more intimate setting than the flat panel TV in the family room. Consuming content on a smartphone or tablet is a one-on-one experience. It’s held in the palm of your hand. A well-crafted TV commercial is designed to reach the masses with volume and to cut through the advertising clutter surrounding it. But online video advertising is different. The viewer is more focused, less distracted, and does not need to be screamed at to gain his or her attention. It’s a much more individual experience.
It’s not on the big screen.
Many car dealers’ TV commercials are loaded up with logos, text, and all kinds of graphics. That might be OK on your 55” Samsung TV, but on a 4 1/2” iPhone, you run the risk of overwhelming the viewer. The graphics and text you use on TV are not as easily read and retained on the much smaller mobile screen. Mobile ad graphics need to be clean and simple.
Five seconds from failure.
We all do it. You found a YouTube video you really want to watch, and just when you think it’s going to begin playing, some commercial interrupts us. And then your eyes move to the lower right hand corner of the screen and you wait in eager anticipation… you can skip this ad in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… SKIP AD! And click! It’s gone. And that’s what could happen if you put your TV ad in a video pre-roll campaign. Since skipping over a video pre-roll ad is so easy, a creative strategy needs to be in place to hook viewers in and compel them to want to watch beyond those first five crucial seconds.
OK, I get it. I won’t use my TV spot for pre-roll. But since pre-roll is so different, where do I start?
At the very least, consider creating a modified version of your TV commercial for pre-roll use. But to maximize results, dig deeper and evaluate all the opportunities that are in front of you with pre-roll. Here are a few idea-starters:
- create campaigns and model-specific ads that target very specific demographics
- be timely and topical by tying in your marketing with current local events
- reach car shoppers with targeted videos tailored for whichever stage of the buying cycle they’re in
- make sure you have a good call to action to persuade consumers to click
While these concepts aren’t too practical for television, they are ideal for pre-roll. TV is still great for broadcasting your sales event, time-sensitive offers, and the selling points of your dealership. Adding pre-roll to the mix with these new approaches to advertising slams your video marketing efforts into high gear.
What do the big boys think?
It’s interesting to note that when we posed this “should I use my TV spot for pre-roll” question to Google, they concurred that it’s not ideal, but they reluctantly added, “…but it’s better than nothing.”
Yes, better than nothing is better. But if you want to be the best in your market, then be the best in your marketing.
Next time you’re watching sports highlights or burning the hours away on YouTube, really study the ads that play before your videos:
- What are they doing to get your attention and to get you past the first five seconds?
- How are they formatting their pre-roll video differently to give you a better viewing experience on your smartphone or tablet?
- How are they executing their creative differently than what you’ve seen them do on TV?
And now most of all, let the ideas flood your mind about your dealership. The canvas is empty and you have the playground all to yourself. Be the dealer in your market who dominates pre-roll.
Learn more about how to create effective pre-roll ads by attending my session “NO! Don’t Click Skip! How to Drive More Traffic to Your Dealership with Pre-roll Advertising” at the Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo on September 18th – 20th in Las Vegas.
Glenn Anderson is an advertising veteran with over 20 years of experience in advertising and marketing. As the co-founder of a regional ad agency, Glenn consulted dozens of dealerships throughout the east coast for nearly 15 years. Glenn is now the Director of Sales and Marketing for Dealer Creative. Dealer Creative has produced over 19,000 TV commercial and online videos for hundreds of dealers across the US and Canada. EMAIL: email@example.com
Author: Contributing Writer
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