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A car dealer’s guide to videography

Posted by Ashley Karr on November 14, 2019

Dealers are no doubt aware of the impact a decent set of photos can have on a used car buyer, but film takes things one step further because it’s the next best thing to physically seeing a car in the metal. More and more retailers are using walkaround videos to show off their stock, 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 buyers’ attention.

Get the basics right

Our guide to car photography lays bare 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. Buyers want to know about the qualities and condition of the vehicle, and even if it’s an immaculate top-end performance 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 film – far from it – but its chief purposes should be to inform and to promote, so pack it only with the details that buyers really want and keep it free from waffle.

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 optimisation (SEO) – the process of making your content more obvious to the likes of Google. Its algorithms are constantly looking for relevant, well-signposted 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 film on their phone, but buyers 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 in which 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 films 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 – phone number, email address, social media accounts, etc – are clearly displayed next to the video, both on your website and on any online adverts 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: best practices, marketing tips, video