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From the Trenches – When to Break the 3-Minute Rule with Videos


I’ve been using videos for our dealership since 2009 when I saw a seminar by Jim Ziegler at NADA.  I was very impressed and went back to Chicago and bought a video camera.  Since then, we’ve put up over 2,700 videos on YouTube.


The best practice of 3 to 5 minutes for a video is well known and has a firm foundation.  But it’s not gospel.  Let me explain.


In my mind, for dealers, there are basically four kinds of videos that you can make for your dealership and varying lengths that are acceptable for them. 


  • Branding videos – very short, maybe 1 minute max.
  • Conversion videos – 2-5 minutes
  • True Walkaround Videos – 3-8 minutes
  • Instructional Videos – whatever is necessary


Branding Videos are basically advertising your store or product and services.  Customers have a very low tolerance and acceptance for them because they are “push” marketing similar to TV commercials.  Need I say more?  These should be very polished and you probably want a professional involved.


Conversion videos are videos created and sent to customers by a salesperson on a specific vehicle because "a video is worth a thousand photos".  It allows the salesperson to introduce him or herself, plug the store, and ask for the appointment.  The customer wants to see that car and is willing to watch a little longer.


True Walkaround Videos are not directed at a particular customer.  They are intended to be useful to those researching a particular model.  Consumers who are researching want to see as much as possible about a particular vehicle so they can compare it to competing models.  They will watch the entire video if it provides what they are looking for.


Instructional Videos teach something and the complexity of doing so can cause varying lengths of time.  Consumers understand that.  Something simple can be taught very quickly but some things take longer just to get through the steps.  The consumer will follow along based on their interest.


There are exceptions to every rule.  The real key is whether you are providing the entertainment factor or are providing the information that is being sought by the consumer.  A customer that is looking for detail will not appreciate it if you skip over those details to keep your video short.


Best practices are there to be a guideline, not a rule.  Always practice being a consumer and that will tell you when to go beyond best pratices.

Visit with me at AutoCon2012 on September 6th!



Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 517

Tags: AutoCon, AutoCon2012, Best, Branding, Conversion, Gorham, Media, Practices, Social, Tom, More…Videos


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Comment by Tom Gorham on August 24, 2012 at 11:34am

Thank you Tom.  That's terrific coming from someone like you!

Comment by Tom 1TeamSynergy Wiegand on August 24, 2012 at 11:28am

Just terrific info here Tom.  Very well done!

Comment by Tom Gorham on August 24, 2012 at 11:28am

Thank you Ralph.  Is it possible to feel a bond with people you don't know?  That's how I feel about Internet Managers.  We share so much, good and bad.  When you allowed me to be an editor on ADM "From the Trenches", that was my goal.  I thank you for understanding that. 

I try to speak to Internet Sales and Marketing Managers from a position that they understand... one of respect, admiration, and shared empathy.  For me, the most challenging and rewarding position in a dealership is the Internet Manager's position.

It's not a matter of encouraging an Internet Manager to aspire to the position of sales manager or finance manager or even GM.  It's a matter of raising the Internet Manager position to the top of every dealership.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 24, 2012 at 11:11am

Tom Gorham is presenting his workshop at AutoCon 2012 on Thursday September 6th... Be there to meet him in person and ask questions... And, some applause would be appreciated by those of us who are fans of his! there is still time to register and attend the automotive event of the year: AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas September 5th to the 8th at the beautiful new Aria Resort Conference Center.

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