After spending the last several years working with numerous automotive brands as a certified digital advertiser provider, I still find it troubling that many dealers have yet to fully embrace digital video campaigns as part of a consistent go-to-market strategy.
The facts are undeniable. People are hungry for more video. They would rather watch than read, and they retain the message in video while they tend to forget the written word. The fact is that video allows a personal connection that can get someone genuinely excited about owning a new vehicle. Online video advertising is considered the number one ad format to drive brand and model consideration, so why isn’t the entire industry onboard?
Put a Premium on Video Expertise
Some dealers would prefer their search provider to also handle their video needs, which seems to make sense in theory, but it really doesn’t function well in practice. Most dealer search providers (or even full-service dealer marketing companies) lack one major capability – video content at scale. So, they either ask the dealer to provide the content or outsource to another company and mark-up that fee.
Video content is a highly-specific medium that requires an expert hand. Creating dealer-specific video campaign content for Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram is different than placing a search buy or display campaign. That’s why there are very few companies that can provide platform-specific video content at scale. If you want to get the most out of your video campaign budgets, use providers who are experts in the channel, not general practitioners.
I have also heard concerns about the fees associated with creating content. Again, dealers are asking their marketing partners to create specialized content for each channel, often using OEM-compliant footage. This takes time, resources and talent. There should be absolutely no concern paying for this fee when preparing a video campaign. In other channels like search or even display, there are vastly different content requirements.
If dealers want to get the most out of their video campaign dollars, invest with a provider who delivers high quality, brand- compliant model video content that is designed for the specific channel. Don’t expect to drop in a TV spot and get optimal results.
The Role of Video in Brand/Model Awareness
There is also a misperception by many dealers that the model awareness portion of the customer journey is best handled at Tier 1. Perhaps, but it’s not happening because most brands don’t have enough money to advertise all their models. I have been in the ad business for over 30 years here in Detroit, and even I can’t name every model for every brand. Why should you expect someone outside of the industry to know either?
In addition, the continued growth of ‘cord-cutters’ and ‘cord-nevers’ (expected to grow by 15% in 2018) make it impossible to reach this emerging market of new car buyers with TV alone. And if it’s true that millennials will soon be responsible for 40% of new car sales, dealers will be in trouble if they don’t find intelligent ways to promote their models to this audience. Micro-targeted online video campaigns allow dealers to get their message out to the right audience each month wherever they are viewing content on any screen. And it’s affordable.
Video Drives Search Lift
I recommend that dealers make sure to have enough search budget to represent their dealership and key models every month, but don’t let that prevent you from also including a consistent level of online video advertising to meet key monthly sales priorities.
Search is about intent, and video is about creating demand. These two critically important channels complement each other exceptionally well. Video drives search lift at the model and dealership level, however, without awareness of the model or dealer, your search activity will be nominal.
Holistic Video Strategy
It makes more sense for dealers to view digital video strategy in conjunction with television advertising activities rather than with search or PPC expenditures. A “one-video” strategy that allocates budget funds to the appropriate mix of video platforms each month allows dealers to coordinate advertising messages and direct campaigns to the area of greatest need in the dealership. It also allows dealers to drive traffic to a common destination on their website that helps potential new buyers fully understand the vehicles’ features, benefits and current offers better than just pushing them to an inventory page.
Online Video Drives Store Visits.
Until now, it has been difficult to fully correlate a store visit to someone who watched an entire dealer-specific model video ad. In partnership with Google (and their YouTube platform), UnityWorks set out to validate the power of online video advertising on store visits.
Over 300 dealers participated in a 60-day campaign for a single brand. Google was able to identify unique individuals who opted to view the in-stream ad on YouTube (with their location services enabled on their mobile phone) and then visited the dealership. This dealer advertising was placed in coordination with national sales event messages at the brand level. The 300-dealer campaign budget of just one million dollars generated over 53,000 store visits.
This data point provides dealers with just another reason to make online video a part of your daily marketing activities.
Make Video a Consistent Part of Your Plan
The time is now for dealers (and their OEMs and partners) to fully embrace online video as a core strategy. Dealers should develop a consistent mix of the Google Marketing Platform (formerly DoubleClick), YouTube and Facebook/Instagram to reach prospects and owners each month. Custom content should be created for each platform with coordinated messages and targeting. Be sure to fully reach available prospects each month by spending a minimum on each platform. Utilize the power and benefits of each to gain the most value.
Here’s hoping that more dealers see the value in a coordinated, holistic and robust video strategy at retail in 2019 and beyond.
Don’t miss Gregory Garber, Kelly McNearney, and Phil Sura at their DD25 session on Tuesday, October 16, 2018: 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM! Learn about best practices and opportunities from two dominate digital giants-Google and Twitter.
About the Author
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. Tim has held executive level roles at BBDO, Wunderman/Young & Rubicam, Campbell Ewald and Ross Roy/InterOne Marketing Group, and has led multi-million dollar omni-channel marketing programs across all marketing tiers for several major OEMs.
Author: Contributing Writer
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