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A car dealer’s guide to videography

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on November 7, 2019

Dealers are no doubt aware of the impact a decent set of photos can have on a used car shopper, but video takes things one step further because it’s the next best thing to seeing a car in person. More and more retailers are using walkaround videos to show off their inventory, but as with any form of advertising, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

We explain the dos and don’ts of producing a top-quality used car video that’s guaranteed to catch shoppers’ attention.

Get the basics right

Our guide to car photography lays out the fundamental elements of shooting a vehicle and covers everything from preparation, location, lighting and positioning the car for the best possible shots. The exact same rules apply for videos and, if it’s a quality, professional film you’re after, you simply cannot underestimate the value of nailing the essentials, so check out our previous post before you start.

Get to the point

It’s important to remember that a video is designed to market a used car, so the creative stuff is best left to the entertainment channels. Shoppers want to know about the qualities and condition of the vehicle, and even if it’s an immaculate high-end luxury car, there’s no point in producing a flashy video if you aren’t going to mention the year it was registered or the fact that it has a full service history.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a good-looking video—far from it—but its chief purposes should be to inform and to promote, so pack it only with the details that shoppers really want.

Make it visible online

The video is an extension of the advertisement, so the more people that see it, the better, especially if they’re in the market for that particular type of car. There’s an almost endless list of techniques to boost its visibility to Google and draw in more web traffic.

Uploading the video to your own website is one of the key elements. There’s certainly no harm in publishing it on YouTube or any other platform, but hosting it on your dealership’s site digitally anchors it to your business. A detailed description of the video and its contents is exceptionally useful for search engine optimization (SEO)—the process of making your content more obvious to the likes of Google. Its algorithms are constantly looking for relevant, clearly explained content to present to people searching for a car like the one you’re selling, while tags can also help search engines to gather data on your websites.

Don’t skimp on the production

Anyone can rattle off a wobbly, blurry video on their phone, but shoppers expect better from a business. That doesn’t mean you need a Hollywood budget—nor does it mean you can’t use a smartphone, as many pack high-quality cameras—but the video must appear clean, professional, and worthy of publication on your website.

This is another area where our guide to car photography can help, and it may also be worth investing in some basic equipment such as a tripod and editing software, neither of which have to be expensive.

Don’t make it too long

Buyers want to get a good feel for the car from a video, but they don’t want to spend 20 minutes watching it. Most viewers start to lose interest in online videos after two minutes, according to research by Wistia, so shorter is definitely sweeter and keeping videos within that timeframe will ensure maximum engagement. Equally, the shorter the runtime, the less time and effort you need to spend filming and editing.

Don’t forget the contact details

You can make the best used car video in the world, but it’ll all be for nothing if no one knows how to get in touch with you. Make sure your dealership’s contact details such as phone number, email address, social media accounts, etc. are clearly displayed next to the video, both on your website and on any online ads in which the film might also appear. Ideally, these should also appear as clickable links within the video itself, popping up on the screen just at the end, after the car has been displayed in all its glory.

Topics: digital marketing, Marketing tips, video