Auto dealers traditionally have understood and capitalized on the importance of “meeting consumers where they are.” Yet many underutilize the effectiveness and impact of video, instead placing mainstream media buys they hope will reach their target audience. But as consumer media consumption has evolved in recent years, efforts that utilize eroding media channels have proven to be ineffective time and again. Continuing that approach ultimately will negatively impact the effectiveness and efficiency of a dealership’s marketing strategy.
As dictated by new research and evolving demographic trends, continued fragmentation among coveted, potential, in-market shoppers is causing marketers to re-think how they should connect with car buyers, and, perhaps more importantly, the paths they choose.
This trend especially is evident as dealerships seek to attract car buyers and service intenders, whose television viewing habits have migrated away from traditional channels for years, instead moving toward both online video and connected television (CTV). And while the avenues that automotive brands take to reach these potential new car buyers is precipitously changing, an expedient, proven solution is emerging. Dealers who are forward-thinking with their strategic marketing approach can capitalize on these new consumer media consumption trends.
Video ads are becoming more popular and effective for both advertisers and potential car buyers. They are particularly good at heightening awareness and generating interest, because they precisely target the intended audience through informative, compelling video, delivered through platforms that consumers both prefer and frequent.
For new-car dealers, over the top (OTT) videos are especially impactful:
• Test-drive videos outnumber in-store test drives by a 2-to-1 margin, reflecting an increase of 105% since 2015.
• Videos can increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.
• Video is the No. 2 format for discovering vehicles in a customer’s consideration set.
• Three out of four shoppers say that video has influenced their shopping habits and ultimate purchase.
The benefit to dealers is a measured increase in the return on their spend, which is critical as they face countless budget challenges, inventory supply shortages, market uncertainty, margin compression and ever-evolving consumer preferences.
Following are five strategic recommendations for effective use of OTT/CTV video marketing, all aimed at heightening brand awareness and generating sales leads:
1. Connect campaigns from a single platform for full visibility. Drive your marketing messages across multiple channels simultaneously for optimal efficiency. In addition to CTV, incorporating video ads across Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms unifies visibility. Minimize “ad fatigue” by using one platform across both video and display to limit the number of ads a user is exposed to across all advertising types.
2. Targeted video ads that land with the right customer at the right time on the right platform. This is enabled by an interplay of data and machine learning — between first-party data collected on leveraged devices and through an advertising partner alongside your company data. Now you will reach select audience segments based on both existing contacts and those whose shopping behaviors and viewing habits closely align with your desired customer profile.
3. Premium video placement that focuses on ad quality rather than ad quantity. It’s important to determine where you want to appear across the OTT spectrum, with the most personalized touchpoint that is substantiated by geotagging, demographic breakdown, competitor views, etc. And based on what else is happening in the buying environment, the skip-free video ads can be reconfigured to align with surrounding content.
4. Transparent reporting that aligns with your campaign management. Associate video impressions down to website activity through IP householding. Track view-throughs — instances when an online car-buyer viewed your ad and visited your website, even if that person never fully engaged. Measure standard metrics, such as “return on advertising spend” or “cost-per-view” to get an exact read on the efficacy of the ads against the allotted budget. Additionally, see the exact placements and devices where your ads ran.
5. Mitigate ad fraud waste. The number of CTV fraud impressions more than tripled last year, according to reports. As a result, marketers will need to absorb the extra cost of retaining security partners that can help with minimizing threat, detecting and blocking bots and non-human traffic.
OTT and CTV are the top priorities for digital media planners, because they outperform traditional television, social and mobile. In fact, video ad spending on CTV is projected to increase from $8 billion in 2020 to $18 billion by 2024. It’s imperative that auto dealers shift gears and begin to capitalize on the impact, effectiveness and efficiencies of video in digital advertising and marketing solutions.