Why car dealerships should use videos as part of their marketing strategy

The automotive industry is saturated and it’s harder than ever to set your dealership apart through marketing efforts. In fact, there are close to 9,000 car dealerships in Canada vs 1.8 million new cars registered per year. This means less than 16 new cars are sold per month per dealer. On the other hand, digital marketing has been on the rise and a lot of industries have been adopting digital ads, social media, email marketing, video marketing, chatbots, and etc. to try making more sales and promote their dealership’s visibility. The issue with this is that 10 years ago, when you tried online ads and didn’t know how to properly use them, you still had a chance to score good leads and direct sales – In 2020, not so much. 

Marketing strategies executed by inexperienced people are often incomplete, un-focused, and worst of all, not optimized for your main Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Thus the importance of having a solid marketing plan; and this applies to video strategies as well. The misconception is that videos are a big game changer – but they are pointless if not used properly. Videos need to be seen as they really are: powerful but costly in resources, and if poorly executed, are a waste.

 This being said, it’s good to take precautions. Don’t get me wrong, when video strategies are done the right way, you can reduce costs and increase revenue too.

Why car dealerships should have a video content strategy

Brand guidelines and artistic directors

The automotive industry is often restricted by guidelines from their manufacturer. For example, in 2019, when a Jaguar dealership wanted to promote creatives or add a page to their website, they had to comply to certain strict rules such as: having the text within a box that doesn’t take up more than X% of the image with a black background and 80% opacity. 

Jaguar Brand Guidleline vidceo creative

Now these may seem like a nuance, but these simple guidelines are what help your dealership save on creative costs when realising your video. 

See, what some may consider as a stick in the wheel is, in this case, a strict brand book for your video agency to respect. Having such guidelines will most likely reduce the time spent by the artistic director in deciding what should be done, and what would look nice and in sync with your brand. 

In most cases, small businesses struggle in defining their brand and purpose. For example, a barber is in businesses simply to cut hair – but there is more to it. Your brand image and story have such an important impact on your customer’s decision. Thus, your creative director wants to embody your brand as accurately as possible. Having set guidelines of what your brand is or isn’t allows the creative director to create a canvas revolving around your guidelines. Having your Manufacturer set these guidelines and the brand vision saves your dealership a lot of headaches and money. 

2. Creative decision

Once you accept that you have very little control over the aesthetic, you are left with very few decisions to take in order to build your video properly. In regards to car dealerships, there are many different valuable videos you can have run on Facebook, Instagram  and Youtube ads. 

Here are some examples of videos you could create on a monthly basis, without having to spend time and money on a creative concept.

The monthly offer: 

You know it, every month you get new offers from the Manufacturer. The downside with this is that, let’s say Honda has an offer of free financing on all Civic vehicles, well, every dealer follows suit. Therefore, you aren’t competing within your brand but with other similar brands like Nissan or Volkswagen. Having a monthly manufacturer offer, combined with an in-house offer (an extra 1000$ off) will not only get valuable traffic but motivate  customers to go an extra mile to buy from your dealership instead of the one closer to their house. 

Combine this with a Facebook ads campaign promoting your video, and you’re set to generate leads on a consistent basis. 


The team 

Fairly easy to execute, team videos are often set aside, but they can be a powerful brand indicator for your audience. Having your director of sales or financing staff presenting new offers, tips and tricks, quick facts about a vehicle, or simply an introduction video is a simple way to engage through social media and add content to your website without having to spend too much. Remember, on average, for a sale to close, you’ll need 8 touch points – and this is an easy way to get one checked off. 

When your potential customer visits the dealership, they will be much more comfortable with a familiar staff. Even more so if your team is trusted with their recommendations. 

This type of video is usually displayed on social media or on a website, but rarely as ads. Though, if the information is pertinent enough, I suggest biding a small amount on the video in order to generate some new cold traffic. 

The model review 

There are a million sites where you can find reviews about a specific vehicle. But what you really need is to keep traffic on your platforms for as long as possible. The more trustworthy your car dealership is, the more sales you’ll close; and a good way to be trustworthy is to share valuable information. 

Having a video explaining the good and the bad of a model is one of the easiest amongst the choices of creatives you might have. You can literally take the information from the manufacturer and have one of your sales reps talk to the camera about it. 

The best way to use these kinds of videos is through youtube to build your SEO; by blog to boost your SEO, and on your vehicle page. Using a video like this on your website will most definitely help your client make an educated decision as they browse different vehicles. 

Finance FAQ’s 

One of the subjects with the most questions that can easily be prepared and executed with minimal budget. A quick tip for this one is to note every single question that a client might ask in a meeting (or ask your director of finance to note them as he speaks with the customers). You can then create a nice set-up with your video agency and produce 10 capsules in one day. This way, you can minimize costs and share the videos over many different weeks without having to bother shooting a new video every month. 

These types of videos are often used in IG Stories (a short part of the complete video), IG TV,  Facebook, and Youtube. I would also add a blog page per category and create an FAQ + the video at the beginning of the page. This way you never leave your audience with unanswered questions. 

The Stats are on your side

45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. This being said, people don’t spend their time watching ads. Which means you’ll need to work extra hard to create valuable content for your personna. In a study published by Hubspot in 2020, the best indicator of video content consumption was based on the ability to learn something from that video. Which means people are most likely to consume your long format video if they can learn something valuable from it. Thus having a proper content strategy and focus on what your audience really wants to hear. 

In addition to this, 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded social video. Reinforcing our argument on the different kinds of videos your dealership should create; you should always keep in mind that your content should bring some sort of value. If you explain something about a vehicle, your viewers will act upon what you present, same thing for a video about the type of financing and the different insurance they can take. If the video is tailored to a specific need, and the audience goes through the whole piece of content, then you know they needed to learn something about this subject. Keep this in mind, because when you launch your facebook ads, you might want to retarget video views and sync it with your offer. 

As an exemple: Someone sees your video about the new Jetta in their Facebook feed and watches 75% of the video. Your next good move would be to create an ad about an in-house offer you have for the new Jetta (not necessarily a video, but it could help) and target everyone that watched more than 75% of that video. You can do the same with display ads, or even Youtube retargeting. 

Video marketing tips for car dealerships

We covered a lot of basis with the points above, now here are some actionable tips for your dealership when it comes to the strategizing and publishing of a video. 

Always be retargeting

A bad replica of the slogan always be closing, but pretty much the same idea. If you’re not retargeting your traffic, views, clicks, purchases, or any valuable metric you possess, you are losing money. 

  • Retarget people based on video views as we mentioned above. It will give you a great way to segment your traffic by interest. 
  • Retarget people based on promotion views. On your website, most dealerships keep their promotion under a specific URL; now would be the best time to retarget them for the same deal they just saw; helping you maximize your chance to get a lead. 
  • Retarget people based on the vehicle page they just visited, but this time push an offer linked to that listing and nothing else.

Spot the trend and exploit it. 

Electric Car trends video idea

Here is a graphic showing the search of the keyword ‘’electric car’’ over the past 5 years.  There is an increase of over 30% and not just for any reason. Governments have been giving grants for them, new technology has come out, Elon Musk is an icon, the reliability of electric cars has increased, and some brands became even more eco-responsible than they ever were before. All of these are good topics to talk about in a video, you ‘ll get traction from your viewers, and better than anything else, your video will be different from other dealerships. 

Save costs by dividing your videos 

Segment your content in bite size videos to save on creation costs. By having a 2 minute long video you are able to bullet point the script and divide these bullet points in multiple 10-20 second videos. From these short videos you can create a lot of different Facebook and IG posts, stories, Youtube publications, and why not add pinterest to that list too. 

The point is, the more you divide your content, the more publications you can create without spending time and money on new productions.

In conclusion, video content is not an easy game, but it’s definitely an asset to keep in mind when it comes to online marketing. If you take action on these recommendations, it should help your dealership get more leads, traffic, and natural engagement. If you’re not sure on where to start with your video strategy, you can book a call with us and we’ll gladly help you. 

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