These days, it almost goes without saying: Video is a powerful tool for driving engagement. As Google recently reported, 69 percent of people who used YouTube when buying a car say it influenced their purchase decision. That’s more impact than TV, newspaper, or magazine ads. In fact, 1 out of every 4 people that visit a showroom only do so after consuming online content about a vehicle.

It makes perfect sense — people watch a compelling YouTube video, and then hunt for more content about the vehicle that’s piqued their interest. Combine that with Google’s ability to gauge a buyer’s interest across devices, time, and location, and you have a recipe for one of the most targeted ad tactics available.

Video also reveals the ever-changing patterns of today’s car buyer. As Google reported, YouTube views of test drives, features and options, and walk-throughs doubled from 2016 to 2017. This suggests that auto shoppers are figuring out exactly what they need before they even set foot in your dealership. 

Putting video to work for your dealership

For one, get to know how your customers want to buy a car, and figure out where your dealership fits in. Once you know, invest in well-produced videos that showcase the features and highlights of your latest vehicles.

Don’t be afraid to target highly-specific features — Google confirms that searches for ‘trunk space’ and ‘towing capacity’, for example, are up 15 percent and 30 percent year-over-year. Additionally, search volume for ‘nice-to-have’ features like ‘panoramic sunroof’ are up 31 percent.

You can also add virtual test drive videos to your strategy. With so many buyers conducting most of their research online, a compelling virtual test drive video can be just the push they need to take the car for a spin in person at your dealership. Even better, these videos tend to be longer, meaning your time on page and engagement rates can increase and help with SEO. 

Of course, these are all ancillary benefits of the main purpose of investing in video, which is to get more prospects to visit your dealership and close more sales. Video is a surefire winner when it comes to automotive lead gen — Ipsos/Google reports that more than 60 percent of auto shoppers visited a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of a vehicle they were considering.

Adding video to your marketing strategy is certainly an investment of time and money, but the payoff can be substantial. Do your homework to see if it’s possible for your business, and you’ll reap the rewards.