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4 Proven Techniques to Leverage Video to Drive VDP Engagement

James Fabin, Cobalt Sr. Product Marketing Manager by James Fabin, Sr. Product Marketing Manager
Internet Video Views in US, January 2013 We've already looked at how dynamic inventory retargeting can help drive qualified return visitors back to your VDPs. One of the best ways to capture shoppers and inject some passion in to their car-buying journey is with video. Video continues to be one of the fastest-growing online ad formats. When leveraged correctly, it can drive Vehicle Details Page (VDP) views while earning a very attractive ROI. There are many ways to leverage video in your digital marketing - let’s take a look at four of my favorites.

Video Hosting on YouTube

YouTube is a great place to host videos that can drive more VDP views on your site. Not only is YouTube free, mobile friendly, and easy to use for sharing videos, but Google owns it and gives a large amount of SEO authority to video content hosted there. You’ll want to optimize your videos so that shoppers can find them. Here are 5 key requirements for successful hosting on YouTube:

  • Before determining your title, description and tags, research the best keywords to use to describe your video. YouTube has a great keyword tool that can help you do this.
  • Armed with your keyword research, create a title that is descriptive and includes those relevant keywords such as the year, make, model and location. Titles should not exceed 70 characters and should never include the VIN. An example of a good title tag is 2013 Jetta SE Review in Seattle, WA.
  • Support the title with a well-written description that contains a link to your dealership website in the first line. The first 160 characters of the description will typically be displayed in search results, so keep the most important information up front.
  • Maximize the tags. You should have at least 10-12 relevant tags. Again, make sure you include the year, make, model and location.
  • Leverage the caption feature to maximize and improve your SEO rankings.

Video Ads

Not sold on the value of online video advertising? Think TV ads with a lower production cost, affordable placement pricing and the precision of online advertising with the highest clickthrough rates of all online ad formats. In-stream video ads (those which play before or during another video on sites like YouTube) have a clickthrough rate that is almost 30x higher than standard banner ads. Clickthrough_Rate_Video_Ads In-stream video ads are a little different than the commercials you currently create. We’re not trying to tell an entire story, just enough to capture the viewer and drive them to your site. Here are some tips when producing your video ads:

  • Include strong branding in the first five seconds
  • Take the time and devote the resources to make sure they're well produced (no camera phone videos)
  • Make sure the audio is clear
  • Keep the length of your finished video between 30 - 60 seconds
  • Tease the customer with a hook and a call to action to click through for more
  • Keep your ad focused on a specific message or vehicle (don't try to create one ad to run everywhere)

With YouTube you can target specific consumers based on videos they have watched or keywords they are searching for. This allows you to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. For example, our shopper Sarah is searching for videos about the Mazda 3. You can serve up a video ad that teases her with four reasons the Chevy Cruze is better and a call to action to learn more - driving her to your Chevy Cruze landing page. This personalized consumer experience will resonate better with online shoppers and help build a strong affinity for YOUR dealership. But it’s not all about clickthrough rates. What’s the crème de la crème of video ads? When you use YouTube TrueView Video Ads you not only reach the largest audience but you're only charged when a consumer chooses to watch your ad. This is why the first five seconds are so important – all consumers are forced to watch it before having the option to skip your ad. Additionally, the charge isn't incurred unless the consumer watches the entire ad or at least 30 seconds, whichever comes first. This is why your ad should be at least 30 seconds long – if Sarah skipped your ad after 25 seconds, you just showed her 25 seconds at no cost to you!

Landing Page Hook

Success – Sarah has landed on one of your landing pages! At this point in time she isn’t ready to fill out a lead form or make a call and video is a great secondary hook to drive her to your VDPs. Here are some things to keep in mind when producing and placing your videos on landing pages:

  • The video should not auto play – Sarah may be at work and shopping for a car is most likely not what she is being paid to do
  • The content of the video should be something created specifically for this landing page – it should contain passion and energy to get her more excited about the focus on that landing page
  • Always include a positive fact and an offer to learn more in your video – remember we are creating a hook to drive action
  • Include a direct link to several VDPs so that Sarah feels she has the luxury of choice. On model-specific landing pages link to 3-5 different trim levels across the models and price range.
  • Avoid the urge to embed several videos on this page – our goal is to drive Sarah to VDPs

VIN-Specific Videos

It's 2013. Every vehicle in your inventory has its own unique video on its VDP, right? Don’t worry – no need to grab a video crew and script. Even today's automated videos utilizing photos of each vehicle, animated overlays, and a human-sounding voice, work great. When communicating with Sarah (via email, text, chat, etc.) include an invite to watch a video of several cars you think she may be interested in and provide her direct links to the VDP for each. Sarah will be more likely to visit each of the recommended VDPs to watch a video than to check out specs. So there you have it – my four favorite ways to successfully leverage video to drive VDP views. Each of these would be a great addition to your marketing strategy on their own. But when used together they'll really drive VDP views, the automotive marketing metric that matters! What other techniques have you used to leverage online video to merchandise your inventory?

For more stats and strategies to leverage video, watch the on-demand webinar,

The VIN Journey – Game-Changing Insights from the Online Journey of....

About the Author

James Fabin, Cobalt Sr. Product Marketing Manager James Fabin is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Cobalt with a focus on the website platform and website best practices. For over 19 years, James has worked in the automotive industry with a passion for consumer behavior and marketing. James has hosted workshops at Automotive Boot Camp and AutoCon and enjoys working directly with DPs, GMs and ISMs to share his knowledge and gain first-hand feedback. James can be reached at

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