As the world goes digital, it's clear: Videos sell cars.
At Dave Wright Nissan-Subaru in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, salespeople shoot and send a 55-second vehicle video to every prospect who calls, e-mails or walks into the showroom, dealer Dave Wright says.
The video requirement is helping the dealership sell more cars and has nudged salespeople to become more responsive, Wright says.
Industry statistics support him. Search engine giant Google, which owns YouTube.com, says more than half of all car shoppers watch at least a half-hour of video during the buying process. One in four watches an hour or more, Google says.
Likewise, recent data from AutoTrader.com show that shoppers are 20 percent more likely to click on a specific vehicle listing if it has video.
Anderson Automotive Group in Raleigh, N.C., is differentiating its eight stores by attaching videos to every vehicle listing on its Web sites and on third-party shopping sites, including Cars.com and AutoTrader.com.
The featured video over the past several weeks is a 30-second spot that tells viewers about the group's free Family Pack, says Andy Little, the group's director of variable operations. The pack is promoted as a $3,000 value that includes lifetime warranties on engines and transmissions of new vehicles and lifetime oil changes.
"We know videos work because people call us back and tell us how excited they are about the video we sent them," Wright says.
The sights and sounds in videos elicit emotional responses that text or still photos can't match, says Danielle Russell, Google's industry director for automotive, who is based in Detroit.
Google, with the help of research companies, surveyed more than 2,000 new-car buyers and charted the online shopping paths of 4,000 people.
The viewers looked at videos on numerous sites, including automakers' Web sites, dealer Web sites and YouTube, Russell says.