Automotive Digital Marketing

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Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.


Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walkarounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.


The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.


Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walkarounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.


Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.


Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.


Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.


As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.


One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search. Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings.  Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.


The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

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Tags: adobe, android, apple, automotive, dealerships, flash, html5, inventory, ios, marketing, More…mobile, real, semantic, syndication, video, website


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Comment by Alexander Lau on September 3, 2014 at 7:26am It's not just video that should have proper schema tags, it's the entire website and inventory.

Ignore those best practices, at your own peril.

Comment by Ken Beam on September 2, 2014 at 12:55pm

"As for YouTube, yes it's the 2nd largest search engine, but what's also important to note is that YouTube is designed to keep users on YouTube; not drive them to a dealership website"

*EXCELLENT point WheelsTVNetwork.........

Comment by on September 2, 2014 at 12:48pm

Great article but I'm surprised to hear that Flash-only video is still a thing today. This was a hot topic several years ago, so I'm hoping many have found resolve since, as it's a disservice for any provider to still be providing flash-only video today.

As for YouTube, yes it's the 2nd largest search engine, but what's also important to note is that YouTube is designed to keep users on YouTube; not drive them to a dealership website. That's a VERY important point to consider if you're talking about driving traffic with video. The solution? Embedding and originating the content on your own website to build authority (with proper schema tagging, of course) and drive traffic, and NOT uploading that same content to YouTube (or else you just end up competing with yourself).

Video marketing has proven to increase leads/sales and lower overall cost-per-lead in terms of marketing dollars spent, so all other points are echoed in agreement. I'll be discussing this very point at DD17 in Vegas in a couple weeks if you would all like to attend my "Sell More Cars with Video" case study.

Comment by Ken Beam on September 2, 2014 at 10:41am

@ Dave - Thanks for the nice words, I certainly appreciate the compliment. As for YouTube, well......... yes there is certainly a lot of "noise" on the platform obviously, but I don`t personally use YouTube with the idea that someone will specifically search for me or the cars that I show there. I use it more effectively on our Vehicle Details Pages on our site to hopefully enhance the potential customers over-all search experience and ultimately hopefully move them along further in the sales funnel/process with their buying decision.

 I can`t tell you how many folks recognize me when I`m out and about on the Delaware River.......... `cause the saw me fishing on YouTube. Same applies for business. Nowadays whether it`s for business or pleasure it`s all about digital exposure the way I see it............... 


Comment by David DeSantis on September 2, 2014 at 8:51am

Why am I not surprised the Auto video guru himself Mr Beam chimed in?  I love what you do Ken!

Great post Brian very educational.  I'm just patiently waiting for someone to come along, and create an auto video website.  That consists of only dealer uploaded videos.  YouTube frankly, is the absolute loudest online platform there is.  It is sooo easy to fall into the YouTube trap, and that is, "I came to view this ken Beam video, oh what's this Bill Gates did the ice bucket challenge, oh look an epic fail video of the ice bucket challenge, oh yeah, I remember that vanillla ice song, lets look at that video, and on, and on, till two hours later, you totally forgot what you went there for in the first place, sorry Ken!  
To put the noise level into perspective, imagine if Facebook decided one day that everyone on their platform was friends.  Yeah, try to get any one to see your status updates then.  YouTube initially was a great idea, however there's sooo much noise that's not regulated that it's extremely difficult to get or keep peoples attention.

Comment by Ken Beam on August 29, 2014 at 10:36am

Nice post Brian....... very informative. 

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