In a great article recently published on the Online Video Insider by Eric Franchi, some great statistics and insight were shared which are particularly timely given Chrysler’s and General Motors’ recent bankruptcy announcements. Perhaps as they pick which road to take the companies future on they should reassess their level of participation in social media and particularly online video.
Here were a few of the highlights from that post for the automakers to keep in mind and my thoughts on these suggestions:
“83% of new vehicle buyers visit video focused Web sites prior to purchasing a car. This means 31% viewed videos on brand, product or company sites; 24% on auto-specific Web sites, 11% on YouTube; 7%, Yahoo Video; 7%, news sites; 6%, MSN Video; 4%, MySpace; 3%, Facebook; 3%, AOL Video; and 3%, other.”
These numbers from a recent Google sponsored study highlight a few really important factors that automakers need to keep in mind regarding online video and how viewers are searching and researching online. I’d be willing to bet that in a short amount of time YouTube, Yahoo Video, Facebook, etc. will garner a much larger piece of the viewership.
“Don’t skimp on production. A full one-third of auto shoppers watch the video content on the product site.”
So once you have the viewer engaged with a demo of the vehicle, why not lead them to other videos of the same vehicle they are looking at instead of (or maybe in addition to) pages of text information? Maybe it’s crash tests…shown from different angles? Maybe keeping something fragile like an egg inside safe during the crash? You can get really creative here but the object is to keep the viewer engaged and on your site.
Think about Blendtec and how they engaged their viewers by showing them real simple demonstrations of how their blender worked by blending ridiculously common things. Many of those interested viewers became brand loyalists for them.
“Investigate the broader video opportunity. Brand and auto-specific sites only make up slightly more than half of the automotive shopper’s online experience. Creating a presence on YouTube and other video destinations will help round out the plan.”
Why stop there? While video sharing sites like YouTube are a place that I think the automakers MUST have a presence, what about Facebook, LinkedIn or smaller automobile enthusiast user groups? The automakers could use these brand enthusiasts and interested buyers for research and development. They could find out what features and options people are REALLY looking for in a car. Let the group members participate in the design of new cars, show them videos of new concepts as they are created based on the group’s input and get feedback from the group. Imagine that kind of empowerment could turn them from potential buyers into the automakers brand evangelists.
David Meerman Scott wrote an outstanding post on marketing ideas for the automakers reinvention outlining 5 simple things GM could do to accelerate their hopeful rebound. I hope GM and Chrysler read his post because it had some great ideas. Automakers will be under a watchful eye with their marketing budget, so doesn’t using a tiny portion of their bloated television advertising budget to put a creative online video and social media plan together just make sense? Obviously I think so…what are your thoughts?