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Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan – Automotive Digital Marketing

Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

 

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walk-arounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walk-arounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search.
Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings.  Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

The following list showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow them in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the ranking for this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected. The infographic Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below.

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view the Top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013. The team at CouponAudit ranked the sites shown according to quality of posts.

Dealer Marketing Magazine and Automotive Digital Marketing Form Partnership

“We are proud to be associated with the ADM community,” says Brett Stevenson, Publisher of Dealer Marketing Magazine. “There are a number of social networks out there for auto dealers, but this is the Granddaddy. They have a large influence in the auto industry and have always helped dealers learn from one another.”

Source:  Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

I recently read a Matt Cutts post about seeking software that scrapes and compiles multiple blog posts into a format that could be used as the basis of a book. Here’s what Matt reported with my commentary added in:

Lulu will take PDF files for a book… Blogbooker.com was designed to create PDF documents from blog posts. The combination of both would seem to be a book in the making for many bloggers. Unfortunately, Matt Cutts’ blog made BlogBooker error out (Matt has over 900 posts in his blog) — the app lets users exclude comments, but Matt reports that excluding comments did not help. I cannot help but wonder if bandwidth, RAM memory, browser or any other user system variables may impact the results from running Blogbooker on large blog accounts.

Blurb.com will try to create a book from a blog, but it only supports blogs hosted on WordPress.com, and does not work with the popular self-hosted blogs that use the WordPress application platform. Matt’s experience with Blurb made me wonder how difficult it would be to export from a self josted WordPress blog and import content into WordPress.com but you would also have to deal with content policy at WordPress.com which I have seen cause relatively innoffensive blogs to get their accounts suspended by WordPress.com administrators. Blurb.com‘s ability to import WordPress.com content and convert into a book will be useful to many people who want to print their blog into a book, including me, but does not help me with my real treasure trove hosted on various Ning.com based blogs.

– Matt Cutts favors FastPencil for turning blogs into book format. Matt provides the following instructions for bloggers who use the WordPress platform on their own choice of server and hosting environment:

Reduce the size of your exported WordPress blog by deleting reader posted comments. Go into the WordPress comments section, click on the “spam” link and clear out any spam comments by selecting all the spam comments and clicking “Empty Spam”. Then export your WordPress blog by going into the Dashboard, click Tools, then Export, which generates an XML file that you download to your PC’s hard drive. FastPencil lets you upload the exported WordPress blog XML file and then select each of your blog posts that you want to include in the output book file. You can also use date filters, which Matt reports having to do. Apparently, once the output file goes over about 300 pages, FastPencil errors out or locks up. Personally, I recommend creating each chapter separately rather than using these types of Blog-to-Book apps to convert your entire blog into a single book output file.

Matt reports that FastPencil did several things well. Included images were imported, and some formatting such as bold made it into the PDF output file. But other formatting, such as code formatting and newlines/spacing between paragraphs didn’t make it. Embedded content such as videos or polls were likewise empty. Trying to import Matt’s entire blog also didn’t work. But all in all, he was impressed with FastPencil.

FastPencil offers collaboration tools (e.g. you can designate editors, reviewers, co-authors, and project managers to help in writing/polishing the content). The site also works through your web browser instead of as a program loaded onto your PC. If you’re used to WordPress, FastPencil won’t be too much of a change.

It’s still not a point-and-click affair to make a nice looking coffee table book out of a blog, but it’s getting closer. Right now, the “make a book” niche feels like the early days of recordable CDs.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia’s iPhone]