Consumers look at online videos to get a better picture of cars, read product reviews, learn more about safety ratings, get a feel for how vehicles drive, and discover technology and entertainment features. So says "The Role of Online Video for Automotive Shoppers and Buyers" survey, completed in the first quarter of 2009.
Spearheaded by Google, the study reveals 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.
And while brand sites are a major driver to ringing up sales, half of all "in-market" automotive shoppers visited YouTube. The site attracts 40% of people online in the United States. In February, approximately 70 million people visited the YouTube.
"Advanced marketers look at video as a platform to engage consumers to communicate sight, sound and motion," says Davang Shah, head of automotive marketing at Google. "Now we are seeing that evolve to consumer comments and consumer-generated media."
For example, 70% of auto Internet shoppers use consumer-generated content while shopping for a new vehicle, of which 63% of these consumers look for ratings and reviews, according to Google, citing the JD Power and Associates: New AutoShopper.com Study 2008.
Volvo recently ran a masthead ad on YouTube's home page to promote the XC60. The company embedded a live Twitter feed from the New York Auto Show. The ad received 38 million impressions. YouTube viewers who were exposed to the ad were 16 times more likely to view Volvo content on YouTube, 11 times more likely to visit the Volvo Web site, and 7 times more likely to conduct a Volvo branded query on a search engine.
Savvy marketers are tying traditional and paid search campaigns with videos. "Not only do consumers search for videos on Google, but also on YouTube, enforcing the correlation between what happens offline and online," Shah says.