The influence of video content on shopping behavior is undeniable. That means it's critical for dealers to tailor their videos for mobile devices, the top research tool for a growing number of potential buyers.
The tools to make this happen are evolving. Dealers can now push live videos to engage customers on the fly through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Stores can also get fancy with 360-degree videos on Facebook and YouTube that have the potential to create unique looks for vehicle walkarounds.
Google's Automotive Shopper Study found that 46 percent of consumers go to dealership websites after watching video content. In addition, the Google study says 42 percent of shoppers search inventory on a dealership website as a result of watching online video.
On Facebook, 100 million hours of video are watched every day.
Some dealers are tempted to recycle their TV spots for YouTube instead of tailoring content for the network, said Alexi Venneri, CEO of marketing company Digital Air Strike.
"Dealers are really hit-or-miss in producing quality content across the board, especially mobile," Venneri said. "They may be relying on a traditional advertising agency that they use to do their broadcast and cable spots. They may be asking them to convert that and put them on YouTube. That's not going to work."
It pays to understand the quirks of the various social networks, and what type of content works best on each, Venneri said.
Concise YouTube walkarounds or vehicle service tips could work, Venneri said, but they should be enhanced with strong keywords and titles for search engine optimization.
On Twitter, meanwhile, dealers should do live streams and short, looping videos. Twitter prioritizes video content, so it will appear higher on user timelines, Digital Air Strike says.
With Facebook, the agency suggests uploading videos directly to the network, rather than posting links to videos on YouTube or other sites. Digital Air Strike said direct video uploads on Facebook draw 30 percent more views than videos posted from other sites and appear more prominently on news feeds.