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My name is David. I am new to the forum. I got the site from Ralph Paglia at the Digital Dealer Conference. He & Shaun Raines were definitely the best speakers there. I am in the marketing/film/video business, and have done a considerable amount of commercials for car dealers over the past decade. I am moving into helping dealers maximize the potential for video on the internet. At the conference this week I was stunned at how excited dealers were about the "videos" that are nothing more than pictures moving around with a video bumper on the front & back. I always laugh when I look at pictures of a car, then click "see video" only to see the same pictures moving around with a VO. JD Powers & Assoc. told me consumers hate those "videos", so I squashed the idea for my company. I hate them, but recognize I am obviously biased (being from a film background).

So, my question to the forum is:

Please look at the player I created for a Saturn dealership in Orlando. Check out some of the other videos in the player. There's 20. There is a lot more to what I am doing with Saturn than what meets the eye in this player (SEO, etc) and more videos are in the works. This player will be reproduced/customized for other Saturn dealers throughout the US. I am also working on similar players for other makes (Toyota, Chevy, Ford, etc).

Am I wasting my time? Is it overkill? Will it help sell cars?

If I need to start creating those "picture" videos in order to make any money, I'm getting out of the car business.

Here is the link to the Saturn player:

I hope no-one thinks I'm trying to sell you anything. I really would like your thoughts.

Thank you for you honest input!

Tags: video, videos

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We have been using video since last year. Our videos are shot in-house, and are used within our email template sales process (to help personalize our sales reps and introduce them), as well as to share current specials on our website and across the internet, as well. We also create short "test drive" videos to share with our Cincinnati customers. They are not the highest "professional" quality, but that is our intent, our customers love the fact that we take the time to make these for them. Of note, we do have professional OEM videos for the new cars on our website as well, but these videos are what we are using to be different in our market. If you go to and subscribe to our youtube channel, you can see them yourself. I also uploaded several of the videos here on this site. Cheers! Kevin Frye/eCommerce Director/Jeff Wyler Automotive Family
3 weeks and one response?

I know you guys are using, or would like to use video on the web. So, let's hear it!

Is video on You Tube & "moving stills" the future of video for car dealers?

What's the matter, cat got your tongue?
Hi David,
Sorry you have not got more response. You are correct in that most of the "video" that the dealers are using is nothing more than moving photos. We have over 100 actual videos at this time and are making more every week with great success. Our key difference is that we are making the videos and uploading them ourselves. Most dealers would prefer to pay someone to do it, but the price is quite high at this time. Certainly could be an opportunity for you. The other key side is not just making the videos, but knowing how to do video search engine optimization. Search for "2008 Honda CR-V Cincinnati" and see how we dominate the page. Best of luck, Kevin Frye/eCommerce Director/Jeff Wyler Automotive Family/
Whether from Unity Works Media, SiSTer Technologies or any of the other reputable video content solution providers, every independent research study, every metric report I have seen from both small and large dealers shows that there is a measurable increase in the average amount of time each visitor stays on the dealer's website. There is no doubt that video content within dealership websites drives increased amounts of time that customers stay on a dealer's website. Conventional wisdom says that increased amounts of time that customers stay on a dealer's website inevitable leads t0o additional leads, phone calls and showroom visitors... However, I am no longer convinced that this is an immutable law of digital marketing. I have a major client that I am personally close to, and whose brand is a household name, that I will not specifically identify. They added significant amounts of video content throughout their automotive information website back in April.

These were not the "Pan & Zoom" fake videos that use photos from CDM and Dealer Specialties to "simulate" a video, these were full-blown Virtual Test Drives from recognized authorities such as MotorTrend Magazine, along with "How To" videos coaching people on how to get a fair trade-in value, or how their credit score impacts their monthly payments, etc. All of it was the type of content you would expect from such a major player... Their results were nothing short of incredible in regards to their average amount of time each visitor stayed on their site... And, here's the REALLY interesting part, their organic (free) search engine traffic jumped dramatically. I have their numbers in my hand right now. There Average Visit Length went from 4:07 (April 2008) before deploying the video library throughout the site, to 16:59 (May 2008) after putting video players and content on every page of their automotive site.

However, as good as that may look, their leads from web forms submitted were up in May 2008 by less than 10% compared to April 2008... My point is this; although I see evidence everywhere that properly deployed genuinely informative and entertaining video is in high demand by consumers and it does drive increased levels of consumer engagement and more time spent on dealer websites, I am not yet convinced that it takes someone who is visit8ing your website who is not in the market for a vehicle purchase this week, and then puts them in the market! As good as video is, I do not believe that it makes buyers out of tire kickers.

Am I saying don't use video? Absolutely NOT! Video content is one of the greatest things to come along to Digital Marketing in the last 5 years and demand for video is primarily driven by the widespread adoption of broadband (hi-speed) Internet access. I predict that within the next 5 years consumers will be watching more video on their computers than on broadcast or cable TV channels. I am also convinced that the right use of video is one of the strongest branding and communication tools a dealer can possibly use on the web. If you don't believe me, then visit the following website that my company DID NOT SELL, and I had nothing to do with other than finding it when I clicked on the dealership's display advertising on a website:

Then, go to: and click on the employee and customer profiles on the left side to display each of their video interviews in the window on the right.

I love the classy quality of the video and message at

And then there are the video interviews with all the sales management and sales associates that go far beyond anything I have ever seen in conveying a message that THIS is the kind of dealership you will want to do business with:

For those of you brave enough to check out Michael Schumacher's dealership website, you are in for quite a treat. It among the "Best In Class" in the use of video content that I have ever seen... And, I have seen far too many dealership websites!

Ralph Paglia
Director - Digital Marketing | OEM & National Accounts
ADP Dealer Services
505.301.6369 Cell |
I checked out your Saturn Dealership video and truly enjoyed watching it... But, how come you do not allow customers to share the video with others? Why is their no function to embed the video into people's blogs and social networking pages? I mean, if you are going to go through all the trouble of making videos for online use, why wouldn't you give them the ability to go viral?
Your question is "I mean, if you are going to go through all the trouble of making videos for online use, why wouldn't you give them the ability to go viral?"

The short answer is $$$$$. It is too expensive. We are not YouTube (Google)(And for all those out there using YouTube, the day is coming where there will be ads in front of your videos. Maybe even for other car dealers' ads, or at least other manufacturers. YouTube is already doing it with some of their content, so be on the look out. Video bandwidth is not free.)

Back to your question:
Can we? Yes. If we could control who has the videos, maybe I would let it go viral, maybe. I can even let people send an email referencing the page. But unfortunately, there are too many people out there, including car dealers that would send people to "professionally produced" videos as sales tools. The real nut jobs would actually go as far as embed the video into their own web sites. People think this stuff grows on trees. Like the whole music MP3 thing. Free music, Free video, YEEHAA. It's stealing, but some people don't think so. Imagine if you could do the same thing with cars(duplicate new copies at will, and send to friends all over the world). Service depts. would be the only profitable car business. That is not the norm, and I know most car dealers would not do this. But some would.

How do professional video people make a living if people are doing that? Produce video once, let a 1000 car dealers use it for nothing? It's not going to happen.

The company you referenced, Schumacher, doesn't allow it either, why not? Probably some of the same reasons, I just mentioned.

Our Saturn videos do not have any dealership branding, because it was my hope I could sell the concept to other Saturn dealers. Saturns (like many other dealers) sales are not doing so well, so I don't expect any serious interest any time soon.

I personally like the way we set up the Saturn video player. It seems to be easier for the viewer to use. The Schumacher site is a little tough to move around in, as far as seeing video goes. I like all the video in one spot for people to access. We also use the video we produced in lots of other ways like model landing pages, etc. Check out these sites. &

If you have some solutions to these problems, I would love to hear your answers.

I'm always thinking outside the box.

If anyone likes our players, landing pages/microsites, etc (and there are more), feel free to call to get one for yourself. We don't need to produce the video, but we can. I also do not consider us a web site company. Everything we do is video related. We can help you put it on your web site, though.

Thanks for the input, Ralph.

David Stidham
Stiddy Studios, Inc.
I think that your point about the costs, time and energy that goes into making videos actually creates an even more compelling argument for increasing their distribution and viewing by more people. Perhaps the solution needs to be along the lines of what many dealers do with their vehicle photos, and that is to embed them with messaging and points of contact such as phone numbers, URL's, location, people's names, etc. What is there were a way to place hyperlinked banners across a video that would allow people to click on the banner and reach the dealer's website, no matter where the video was played? I guess I am trying to understand the relationship between a video's value and the ease of which it is distributed to consumers, used by consumers and shared by consumers...
Everything you mentioned can be done, but I think you're taking video on the web in the wrong direction. Let me explain.

The examples I have given earlier in this post are really the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that can be done with video on the web.

Most car guys live inside a marketing box. They have put video inside that box. You can use video for a lot more things than showing video of a car, a week-end sale, or an introduction to your dealership.

I am a video guy(probably more of a marketing guy who uses video), and I know shooting video of every used car on the lot is not going to help sell one single car. Good photos are fine. Having a video button that takes you to those same photos, except moving them around with music, I find laughable. (There's that box I was talking about) Stuff like that doesn't help the image of car dealers out there. People are laughing at them. Those so-called "videos" are silly. Some real estate agents are doing the same thing.

Video is about image, building trust, and driving people to your site by incorporating web video with your radio and TV advertising campaigns. The better you are at it, the less you'll have to advertise on TV & Radio(which could cut your marketing cost in half).

When was the last time you heard a YouTube or Google ad? How are they doing?

Give people a reason to want to come to your site, even when they are not in the market for a car, and they will come back when they are.

Nike doesn't sell shoes because they're on sale. People don't go to YouTube because they saw an ad on TV. I have never seen an ad for "The Drudge Report".

I have probably already said too much.

I know how to do it, and how to make it happen. I only have to wait until they (car dealers/groups) are ready to get out of that box.

Salesman Cartoon

Thanks for your input, Ralph. I hope some dealers will get in on the conversation...
Thanks David and Ralph-some great examples. You both may want to view the video on . There are a couple of challenges to video use by dealers.

The first is that dealers have been given information taken out of context in some recent magazine articles and advertisements. While it is true that people are more likely to purchase a product after viewing a video, the often sited study measured results of video on the OEM and not the dealer sites. Some inventory video is good but I doubt it has much influence on the purchaser because it is made from the same photos that appear for the vehicle. If the inventory video allows the prospect to hear the engine and get in close on areas of minimal wear, etc. I think it will provide information the buyer would not otherwise have access to and provide real influence. Ralph, any idea if the Mercedes store is seeing increased walk-in traffic? I am curious simply because so many people do research online but don't submit leads.

The second challenge is the idea that an unscripted, blurry, poorly lit video is okay to put on a website. Studies have shown that most viewers prefer professional to amateur video. Think about it, would hire a plumber with a homemade video or a professional overview video of his business that demonstrated the care and quality of his service?

I think the point to all this is that website video needs to be treated like any other aspect of your marketing campaign. Before you launch video you should ask:

1) What are our goals?
2) What is our budget?
3) How long will the campaign last?
4) How do we integrate the campaign with our other initiatives?

Thanks to both of you and Kevin as well for the videos...
I am not sure if Scumacher European Imports has seen any increased floor traffic that they can attribute directly to the video, but Schumacher is one of the most successful Mercedes-Benz dealers in the world and they are very good at maintaining a "brand" that is synonymous with class, good taste, excellent service while being a fun and enjoyable place to do business. Their current use of video on the "" website further reinforces an already established brand and is evidence that they will continue to project the image and reputation that makes them one of the most profitable dealerships of any brand in the world. The Schumachers are a genuine first class automotive family dynasty and their online videos reflect their natural instincts... They did not need some Chevy or Ford dealer to tell them that such use of video generates an ROI, that was never a requirement for this particular family to do what they know is right when they see it with their own eyes.
Thanks Ralph-you proved my point, it is not all about ROI and yet the first thing a dealer asks is usually "how many leads will I get". Everyone I show the BMW video to loves it, then most of them want to hand me a bunch of 30 second television spots because they feel that is the best way to generate leads. I wish more people had the same vision the Schumachers and the BMW Store have. It's sales 101-sell yourself, sell the car, sell the dealership!
Scott, I think you said something that may be misunderstood.

It is ALL about ROI!

What it's not about, is trying to track the use of video down to the sales lead level. The use of video needs to move the whole needle. It you try to limit the use of video to generate specific sale leads that you can track to the cost of the video, you are missing the purpose of video entirely.

There are two critical purposes for the use of video.

1. Establish trust in the dealership.
2. Get customers excited about the cars you sell.

I like to ask one question about video on any site (cars or anything else).

Is it compelling enough to want to spend $$$$ to advertise it? If you are not willing to spend money in advertising telling people about the videos on your site. Why are they there? Why would a customer want to watch them?

You have to create more than the normal "shoot the ceiling, shoot the wall, tell them that you have it all" videos. Whether you do it visually, or in the script. That's why, for Saturn, I have the "About us" videos we call "Why Buy" as well as on the street testimonials, and car walk-arounds. They serve a purpose, but most importantly, I think they are fun to watch. They (Saturn) get considerably more video views on the site than the number of visitors.


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