Automotive advertising agencies are struggling to keep up with new Internet based technologies and applications being developed to maximize the R.O.I. for their auto dealer clients automotive advertising budgets and video has surfaced as the media of choice. Conventional automotive advertising focuses on maximizing the reach and frequency of a consistent message to a qualified consumer while minimizing the cost per impression and the same wisdom apply to the Internet. A challenging economy has resulted in shrinking sales volume and margins in the retail auto industry which dictates that automotive advertising agencies must leverage online resources whenever possible. The most obvious solution is to listen and learn from the search engines whose role in the process is to provide consumers with filters that provide efficiencies in their online shopping experience that promise increased relevancy and transparency in the sites that surface in their initial search results.
Search engine optimization, S.E.O., is a fluid science that is dependent on changing algorithms designed by the search engines to insure that their customers needs are met. Search engines like Google have little concern for the interests of the automotive advertising agencies who are struggling to keep up with the rules to insure that their auto dealer clients show up on page one. The trick for automotive advertising agencies to stay ahead of the search engines is to focus on the one constant that exists in both the real and the virtual world – human nature. People are creatures of habit and recent generations have grown up watching T.V. or more recently following videos on You Tube. People would rather watch an entertaining video than read copy or even listen to an audio track so common sense suggests that video is the delivery method of choice for automotive advertising agencies trying to deliver their messages on the World Wide Web.
Video has earned a weighted value on Google in response to experienced consumer preference and a comprehensive S.E.O. plan must be extended to include vS.E.O. with several new automotive advertising vendors taking advantage of the opportunity. SiSTeR Technologies Video CarLot is an example of a new video production platform that provides a scalable solution for automotive advertising agencies to place an auto dealership’s new and pre-owned inventory on the first page of a local Google search. They are able to access the pictures already posted on an auto dealer’s website and then convert them into a professional looking feature/benefit video with human voice and integrated video footage posted onto the auto dealer’s website. More importantly, the videos are interactive with multiple schema layers offering relevant information on the vehicles and they are fully indexable with dealer selected key words and Meta Tags. In addition, SiSTer uses their dedicated API with You Tube and direct links with all major third party websites to push the vehicles onto the Internet Super Highway with individual URLs. The resulting increase in online exposure form the sourcing auto dealer is obvious and it satisfies the goal of Google to offer their online customers relevant information in the media of their choice.
Several established third party inventory based websites have recognized the leveraged exposure offered by videos on the Internet and they have extended their platforms to include an optional video production application. A new website – ronsmap.com – with an expected launch at the pending 2010 NADA Convention in Orlando Florida is rumored to be planning to offer a video solution as well as a direct link to social networking media through their proprietary vBack application. Social networking has recently been named by Google as having a weighted value in their algorithms similar to video with real time postings drawn from Face Book, Twitter, etc. which suggests that Rons Map is ahead of the curve by integrating both video and social media into their automotive advertising platform.
Another use of video on the Internet that warrants honorable mention is offered by a new customer interaction patform provided by Argistics with their AutoTransaXion application. AutoTransaXion is being used by AutoNation to support their recent push to accommodate online transactions through AutoNation Direct. The solution allows an online shopper to engage in a real time two way video conversation with a personal shopper from AutoNation. The application has complete push/pull capabilities that allow the consultant to provide the same material that a customer would expect in a real world showroom to allow the customer to purchase the vehicle online and have it delivered to their home. The video portion of the application has been found to enhance the ability of the dealer’s personnel to build a relationship with the customer that was not previously possible given the obstacle of the glass wall between the customer and the dealership’s staff.
The value of the Internet has been established with statistics that support the fact that 93% of today’s car shoppers prefer shopping on the Internet Super Highway over driving to their local car row. The growing use of video and the diverse applications on the Internat that have integrated it into the online sales processes suggest that video will have a role and forward thinking automotive advertising agencies must learn to implement it into their online marketing plans.