One of the many strengths of digital advertising is the broad range of possibilities it covers as a marketing channel. In just this one area, dealers can target customers in any number of ways, from dynamic search to programmatic display to social.
Of course, that strength also comes with a unique challenge: How do you decide where to allocate a limited marketing budget?
While there’s no perfect answer to that question, there is one particular area of marketing that doesn’t necessarily get the love it deserves: Video.
Even though customers are 27 times more likely to click-through online video ads than banner display ads, many dealers still tend to shy away from video advertising for a few key reasons: It’s seen as expensive, time-consuming, and a logistical nightmare.1
Of course, the truth is these perceptions are keeping dealers away from a channel designed to immerse the audience in your messaging; engage people with demonstrations, product information, and special offers; and more precisely target specific audiences.
Most importantly, dealers are missing out on the emotional connection: The marketing “Holy Grail” that video stands as one of the best, if not the best, channels to deliver.
So, let’s take a closer look at the complaints about video and see if they hold up under scrutiny. Let’s also explore how the emotional connection can benefit your dealership’s brand, and ultimately the bottom line.
Perceptions of Video
The complaints against video are many and well-documented, but they all essentially revolve around a single issue: Resources – in money, time, people, tools, and so on.
Here are the most common complaints about video and how those complaints hold up against the facts:
- It’s Expensive. Many dealers balk at producing quality video advertising for the simple fact that it can cost significantly more than, say, buying banner ads in bulk.
That comparison falls apart, however, when you consider two things: first, video is, over time, becoming cheaper, thanks in large part to the advent of smartphones, social media, and dedicated video channels such as YouTube.2 YouTube, in particular, provides an outlet for repurposed TV ads to find second life and reach an even larger and more diverse audience than they initially did – a huge value and cost savings!
Second, the engagement that video can bring – 75 percent of online video viewers have interacted with an online video ad this month, 80 percent of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days, and 90 percent of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process – raises the possibility of a return on investment that more than pays for itself. 3, 4, 5
- It’s Time-Consuming. This critique implies that once your marketing starts eating up a certain amount of your time, even positive results are going to be considered diminishing returns. And, that may be true to a certain extent.
However, thanks (again) to the advances in technology and distribution that have made both producing video and maximizing its reach easier and faster than they’ve ever been, this argument no longer holds much water. Seeing a video campaign through from inception to completion doesn’t take nearly as long as it once did, even for dealers.
This is also a good moment to point out that it’s worth looking at partnering with a vendor whose whole purpose and passion is to help put your video in front of a targeted digital audience for maximum impact, so your time can still be spent managing your daily operation. In fact, this solves another of the common complaints against video, the logistical difficulties involved in distribution.
- You Never Know if You’re Reaching the Right Audience.
Thanks to years of relying on the “shotgun approach” of TV advertising, there’s something of a trust deficit with dealers that their video will even make it in front of the right audience.
While that was true at one time and still holds true in other, less precise mediums, the precise targeting capabilities inherent in a digital campaign – including one built round video – means your ads will be aimed straight at the audience most ready to receive, and act on, your message.
Even if you’ve not changed your mind about the benefits of video, you still should know the most important aspect of video’s value to your marketing strategy: establishing an emotional connection with the customer.
The Emotional Connection
Cognitive science tells us about an interesting instinct our brains developed long ago known commonly as the Mirror Rule, which says our emotions often mimic whatever visual input we’re taking in.6 That, along with our natural inclination to empathy, is why we usually smile back at someone if they smile at us, and why we cry at movies.
It’s also where video advertising has its most potent advantage over other mediums. Most people would be hard-pressed to name a text ad, billboard, or targeted email that brought them to tears, but just about everyone can think back on a poignant video that might have turned on the waterworks.
That’s not to say that you, as an automotive retailer, should be aiming to make your customers sad. The point is, activating that emotional response, be it excitement, laughter, or some other response, is incredibly powerful.
In fact, customer enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent.7,8 Enjoyment is tied to evoking an emotional response that gives your video a greater sense of meaning in the mind of the customer and makes it more memorable. That translates into increased customer traffic and, eventually, a boost to your bottom line.
Video advertising provides a unique opportunity to show your dealership’s brand personality and engage with prospects and customers on a meaningful level. It also offers one of the best opportunities at activating the emotional response that sparks action.
Don’t let older perceptions make you skittish about committing to a quality video campaign. As a major tool in your digital advertising toolkit, it provides value unlike any other in sharing your message with consumers and driving traffic to your dealership.
2 Digital Marketing Institute
Author: Chris Walsh
Chris Walsh is Vice President of Sales at Naked Lime Marketing. His knowledge of market strategy, competitive analysis, and the sales process fueled his success in previous positions with the company, including regional sales director and vice president of business development. Walsh holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio University.