As you work on generating new car sales marketing ideas, it’s a good idea to understand why automotive video is changing. In 2018, Google did a study and found that video is a major part of the auto buyer’s journey. Here are a few choice statistics: 

  • Seventy-five percent of buyers believe that online video has influenced their shopping and purchasing habits. 

  • Forty percent of buyers who used online video for research discovered a vehicle they weren’t aware of or hadn’t considered purchasing. 

  • Sixty percent of buyers who used video for online research reported visiting a dealership or a dealer website after watching a video for a vehicle they were considering. 

Does your dealership need video as part of your dealership digital marketing strategy? Yes. But where do you start? 

To answer that question, let’s look at five basic types of video ads: skippable YouTube in-stream ads, non-skippable YouTube in-stream ads, YouTube discovery ads, YouTube bumper ads, and targeted display ads.  We’ll talk a little bit about the ad format itself, and ways that each type might fit in the auto buyer’s journey. You can then apply that as your refine your car dealer video marketing. 


Skippable in-stream ads 

Have you ever gone on YouTube to watch the latest trendy video or learn how to start a campfire with a lemon and a couple of wires, and gotten a video ad that you could skip through after it played for five seconds? That’s a skippable in-stream ad. 

Google says these ads are good for: 

  • Lead generation 

  • Website traffic 

  • Brand awareness and reach 

  • Product and brand consideration 

  • Campaigns created without a goal 

Car dealerships need all of the above (even the last one sometimes), which makes skippable in-stream a great all-around choice. 

Google did a separate case study where a Honda dealership used in-stream YouTube video to encourage trade-ins. This dealership doubled its number of trade-ins and racked up a 12x return on its investment. It also found that video marketing boosted website visits by eighteen percent, and it converted four times the number of leads that other marketing methods did. 

As far as the customer journey goes, video ads like these can connect at multiple touchpoints, from early research to enticing a buyer on the lot with a can’t-miss trade-in opportunity. 


Non-skippable in-stream ads 

Same principle as above, only this time you run a full fifteen- to twenty-second video ad that the viewer cannot skip over. These ads are a lot like a classic TV commercial or the ads you see on streaming services like Hulu – your only choice is to watch the ad or bury your head in the nearest pillow. 

These video ads are best for building brand awareness and reach. They may be more expensive than skippable ads; and are not as good for campaigns where you’re targeting a specific audience (being both irrelevant to the viewer and unskippable might irritate somebody). That said, if your dealership is trying to establish a local presence, promote a sale that will appeal to a broad swath of car buyers, or do the job that a good old-fashioned TV ad once did, and so on, then non-skippable ads can be a smart buy. 

Like their skippable cousins these vdieo ads are useful at various stages of the consumer journey, especially when the buyer is satisfied with his or her research and is ready to start visiting lots. 


Discovery ads 

With discovery ads, the YouTube user is in the driver’s seat. Here you get a thumbnail ad that might show up on the YouTube search results page, alongside related videos, and on the YouTube mobile page. If the customer is intrigued and clicks on it, the ad runs and you’ve been discovered. Congratulations! 

Google says these ads are fantastic for two things: 

  • Product and brand consideration 

  • Campaigns created without a goal 

Discovery ads can speak to an important part of the car buyer’s journey – discovering specific inventory, deals, and options. For example, if someone is watching a lot of sports car videos and you have Fast and the Furious-grade inventory, then a discovery ad might be just the thing. Discovery ads are also a great way to connect with more motivated leads. A gaggle of twelve year-old boys might love sports car videos, but won’t be interested in your dealership since their allowances aren’t enough to finance a Corvette. Somebody who wants to buy a Corvette now, on the other hand, might click on you. 

When targeted properly, discovery ads can nudge high-value leads to your lot.  


Bumper ads 

Bumper ads are those six-second video ads that show up before, during, or after a YouTube video. Bumper ads are a lightning-fast form of video storytelling that Google says is good for: 

  • Brand awareness and reach 

  • Campaigns created without a goal 

These ads work best if you have a brief yet memorable story to tell. Check out this Mercedes-Benz bumper ad.

There’s a lot that someone could say about a Mercedes AMG-GT S, but the ad strips the car down to acceleration and horsepower. Theoretically, you can use a bumper ad to highlight any vehicle feature that can be talked about in six seconds. Telling a story about a car or car feature in a thrilling, funny, or interesting way is a good way to ramp up interest. 

These should be of interest throughout the car buyer’s customer journey, mainly because they speak to the emotions. They remind buyers on a gut level why a certain preference – be it low emissions, the latest safety features, or the ability to zip around the Swiss Alps at white-knuckle speeds – is so important. 


Video display ads 

Let’s set aside YouTube for and talk about video display ads. 

Video display ads are videos embedded on webpages. In most cases, a dealership won’t want to run video display ads on any old website out there. The rules of thumb for dealerships are to focus on trusted content platforms like mainstream news websites and respected digital magazines, and to look for outlets with premium, engaged audiences. The USA TODAY NETWORK fits the bill in both respects. 

Here are two types of video display ads that LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE offers: 

  • In-banner – In-banner ads show up as part of a webpage that the user is viewing. You’re scrolling through the page and a short video plays, usually without sound.  Sometimes the ad gives you the option to click first.  

  • Pre-roll – Here the ad plays before video content the user selected. It’s just like YouTube – you click on a video, you get a brief ad first. 

  • High-impact large video ads – These are large, mobile-responsive video ads that take over the top of the webpage. The video can be set to auto-play or click-to-play, depending on your preference. The great thing about these ads is that they showcase cars and car features beautifully, and they drive high engagement rates over a short period of time (P.S. – these ads are unique to the USA TODAY NETWORK). 

These video ads are a fantastic way to expand your dealership’s reach, and when you work with a partner like LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE you can up the ante with geofencing. These ads have similar potential uses to YouTube ads described above, and a little more flexibility since you don’t have to answer to YouTube’s platform requirements. 


This is just the tip of the iceberg.  

We haven’t gotten a chance to talk about how YouTube ads are priced, how display ads are optimized for maximum effect, and how a marketing partner like LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE gets your dealership in front of in-market auto shoppers, but this should give you some ideas. For more, read up on our YouTube Ads and Targeted Display Ads, and make sure you connect with your nearest LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE team.   


Contact us to find out more about our complete automotive marketing solutions. 


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