HD video cameras such as the Flip and content hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo ushered a golden age of sharing digital video content. Before this democratization of digital content creation and distribution, it was prohibitively expensive for dealerships to fully leverage existing technology to create compelling visual content. Back then, because of these costs and distribution venues limited to broadcast/cable television, the format of video content was almost exclusively commercials, focused on particular bargains offered for a limited time, and to a lesser extent, infomercials, which spanned a wide variety of topics. Very rarely would you see dealership-generated content broadcast on television that varied from a deal-specific advertising message.
Now, with a HD video camera, relatively inexpensive and standard on a host of smartphones such as the iPhone, and decent editing software, dealers can create compelling digital content and distribute this content to viewers in their local market and around the world. But, while the tools are more accessible than before, the challenge now is creating content that resonates with consumers. Various vendors that serve the automotive industry have stepped in to fill this content void that many stores face.
At my previous dealership, we used a service similar to the dealer below to generate content for YouTube. This format is known as a ‘slide show’ because the video is created using photography provided by the dealer:
Some dealers are using another approach, which is to generate content specific to a particular vehicle in a “walk-around” format created by an actual person and not a digital service. In the automotive industry, a walk-around is a presentation on a vehicle where a sales person literally walks a customer around the vehicle, noting particular features and benefits that the vehicle has. For example, with the customer at the rear of the vehicle, the sales person may explain the LED tail lights that are standard on the vehicle and how LED lighting fires quicker and is brighter on average that a typical bulb, which notifies people who you are in front of, thereby reducing the risk of accidents. Below is an example of this approach:
The slide shows are automated, while the walk-around presentation above is labor and time intensive. The quality of a particular walk-around presentation depends solely on the skill and expertise of whoever at the dealership is tasked with creating this content. If the dealership has the wrong person making this video, a consumer may be turned off because of issues with the video like poor audio, poor video or poor information provided in the video. While slide shows are not labor intensive, do not rely on the skills of the dealership’s employees, and can be executed on a consistent and timely basis, they are far from perfect. The program often mispronounces features and equipment, is very impersonal and may not highlight the features and benefits important to consumers.
So, which do you think is a more effective method? If you were looking to purchase a vehicle, which format would give the seller top-of-mind awareness, assuming quality was the same? How should a dealership measure effectiveness; views on YouTube, conversions on the dealer’s website, or some other method? Is there a place for both, or neither, in a dealer’s digital marketing plans?