Think of the time it takes to close a sale on an automotive product—especially luxury vehicles. Finding the right leads, encouraging them to come in and see the product, convincing them your product is superior to the competition, and awaiting financial paperwork … it can feel daunting. What if there was a way to shorten the sales cycle?
Simplifying the buying process is one reason that interactive product demos are so effective in the automotive space.
Product demos are extremely beneficial when selling high-ticket products, like those in the automotive industry. Since these products come at a higher price point than most other purchases, buyers tend to take their time shopping around for the best features that suit their lifestyles. They want to be sure they are getting the best product for their money.
Automotive product demos can help buyers make a decision faster.
According to the CEO of COTU, Richard Baugh, “Traditionally, it takes six touch points to have someone convert on a sale. Well, what if you used interactive [demo videos] and it takes one or two (instead)? You just saved yourself a ton of ad dollars and you allowed somebody to become loyal to your brand a lot faster.”
For reference, automotive digital ad spend increased by 13.7% in 2022 and is expected to increase another 11.7% in 2023.
In this post, we’ll explore how you can create interactive demos, specifically tailored to the automotive industry and get the most ROI for your investment.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Product Demos in the Automotive Industry
Steps To Create Interactive Product Demos for the Automotive Industry
Distribute your Interactive Automotive Product Demo
Benefits of Creating Interactive Product Demo With COTU
The Benefits of Product Demos in the Automotive Industry
Products in the automotive industry come with many complex features, which can make it difficult to sell them without demos. In-person demos can be time-consuming and they limit the number of people you can reach at any given time.
Video product demos could save both parties a lot of time. It could let interested parties view a product from all angles, understand the latest technology used in it, and learn about all the bells and whistles attached to it, in a virtual way, at their convenience.
Adding interactive elements can further improve the user experience and make automotive product demo videos even more versatile. Here are the two main benefits of using interactive product demos for automotive products.
Interactivity Enables Self-Guided Product Demos for Customers
Let’s say that you are a luxury car dealer. You want to highlight different features of the car and use expandable cards within a video to give viewers critical details as well as encourage them to click through for more information.
What are the different trim packages? What size tires are included? What are some of the main features? This kind of valuable information can be easily added to expandable cards when using COTU for creating product demos.
Purchasing a vehicle is an important personal decision. Each buyer is looking for a product to meet their unique preferences. This kind of interactive product demo would allow buyers to explore automotive products at their own pace. They can take their time getting familiar with the specific features that will meet their needs.
Since they’ll be able to learn distinct details about the car within the video, it could help them make a decision more quickly. If they’re ready, they can directly move to the next stage of the purchase journey by clicking on the CTAs on the expandable cards.
The Benefits of Analytics
Now let’s consider the manufacturer of these luxury cars. They would benefit from a similar interactive product demo for a completely different reason. Namely, the manufacturer might be more interested in the analytics.
What parts of the vehicle are getting more clicks? Are people interested in Bluetooth speakers? Are they more interested in reclining leather seats? Adding interactivity to product demos makes it possible for you to track key metrics, which you can use to quantify your video ROI.
The benefits of analytics are two-fold:
- Product-level Metrics: They can let you know how viewers are responding specifically to your automotive product features. You could adjust your marketing strategy based on which features of your product generate more interest among buyers. They could also help you decide which features to promote more and/or continue in upcoming models.
- Video-level Metrics: They can show you how effective your video marketing efforts are at engaging buyers. You can gauge how viewers respond to a campaign. Are they leaving the video before getting to the end? Where are they dropping off?
Failure to understand customer preferences is a common issue and traditional video marketing campaigns offer little help in this regard. According to Baugh, interactive product demos “allow brands to ask their customers directly, ‘here are 10 things, what is the most important to you?’”
You can also do A/B testing to learn the best points within a video to place product cards and CTAs. For example, is it better to start showing product cards at the beginning of the video? Or is it better to give a general overview of the product first before showing the cards with more information?
How To Create Interactive Product Demos for the Automotive Industry
Getting the customer experience right is key to a successful interactive automotive product demo campaign. Here are the steps you can take to create highly effective interactive demos for your products.
Step #1: Identify the Target Audience Segment and Their Expectations
It’s important to know where your target audience is in the buying cycle when they interact with your video. This could help you choose the best video specs to meet their needs. What’s the best length for your video? Should you focus more on specific product features, or is it better to focus on selling an experience?
Knowing your buyers’ mindset and where they could be when they see your video can help you to answer these questions. “Where they [your videos] live really lends itself to what device is being used and in what state somebody will be looking at them,” stated Baugh. “Are they scrolling in line at the grocery store where they are just trying to see high-level stuff? Or are they sitting down on Cars.com saying ‘I’m actively looking for a car, I want to learn more’?”
One way to break down your audience segments is by looking at the marketing funnel. Here’s how:
Your Audience at the Awareness Stage
These people are likely coming across your videos through organic search or video ads, or maybe someone shared it with them. They are likely already aware of your product, but they are not serious about buying right now.
For example, let’s say that you’re selling boats. People in the awareness stage are likely aware that they can buy boats and are fascinated by the idea of having one, but they may not yet be sold on the idea of owning one. Ideally, for this audience, you would want your videos to focus on the specific benefits of owning a boat and how they could go about buying one.
These viewers are likely seeing your video for the first time. Maybe a friend shared it with them or they saw it as an ad on their connected TV or other paid media, so shorter videos with attractive graphics would be more effective.
Your Audience at the Consideration Stage
This segment consists of people actively seeking information about your product.
For example, now the viewers are familiar with the benefits of owning a boat, they’re sold on the lifestyle, and so, they want to learn more. They’re weighing their options and are likely comparing your product with that of the competitors.
For this audience, your interactive product demo should focus on product specifications and should answer questions that your ideal customers might have in their minds. A few might be concerning price, buoyancy, storage options, and what accessories come with the boat.
Your audience could be finding these product videos through your website, blog posts, emails or ads. They should be slightly longer since these demos aim to answer the topmost questions in a prospective buyer’s mind.
Your Audience at the Intent/Conversion Stage
Viewers at this stage are ready to purchase. They may have already shortlisted a few products and compared specific features to make a choice. They may be looking for reviews, user insights, and perhaps the best deals. These people are likely to see your video in your website gallery, on review sites, on a dealership floor, at a trade show, and in other similar places.
Buyers at this stage are actively looking for information so these product demos should go into greater detail and can afford to be longer.
Step #2: Identify the Highlighting Features of Your Product
Now that you know who you’re creating video content for, it’s time to decide what features to highlight in your demo.
Depending on the purpose of the video, you might choose to focus on aesthetic features, performance features, or both. Each product demo can focus on a single product feature, or highlight the overall product with all of its features.
Here are some examples:
This product demo by Automotive of The World focuses on a single part of the vehicle for the entire video. The video aims to give viewers as many details about the car engine as possible.
In this video, Toyota Northwest highlights multiple features in their product demo. The purpose of their video is to showcase the vehicle as a whole, with the goal to encourage viewers to buy.
Step #3: Plan Your Customer Experience Before Recording the Footage
Nearly 60% of buyers research online for 14 hours on average before they buy a vehicle so your video should offer them a seamless viewing experience. This step is where you decide the order in which you show product features in the video, how many features you want to display, and where you’ll place your clickable product cards.
Purpose/Goal of Each Expandable Card
The purpose of expandable cards is to display product details and include links to helpful pages on your website or elsewhere. Think about the audience segment you’re making the demo for, and then choose the specific page each product card should link to.
Expandable Card Copy
The expandable card copy should include the most important product details. It should also be closely related to the page that the card is linked to. For example, if the goal of the expandable card is to link to a product page, then the card copy could include important product details like major specs, prices, and even special offers.
CTA Copy And Landing Page
Your CTA copy should be clear, short, and specific to let viewers know exactly what to expect when they click. Once the viewers click through, the landing page copy should meet the expectations set by the CTA. For example, if the CTA copy says “View Options,” then the landing page should show viewers the options for the product/feature as expected.
Sequence of the Expandable Cards
If your product demo has multiple product cards, the sequence in which they appear should be carefully decided based on the order in which the products would appear in the video. On the other hand, if your demo video is about a single feature only, expandable cards can be used in a nurturing sequence. For example, the first card could link to a relevant blog post, the second to a video testimonial that shows the usefulness of that feature, and the third to the product page.
Step #4: Record the Video
Now that you have your customer experience all planned out, it’s time to record your product demo. Since automotive products are usually high-ticket purchases, it’s important to get the video quality just right. Here are a few tips for recording your demo:
- Good Lighting – Good lighting is one of the biggest secrets for shooting captivating videos. You can even position lighting to enhance the look and feel of the product in the video.
- Close-up Shots – Viewers will want to see the features of your auto products as clearly as possible. Use a combination of zooming, panning, and varying camera angles to add interest to your product’s main features.
- Think Like an Editor – When recording each scene, put yourself in the place of the editor. For each scene, record a few extra safety shots to ensure you have enough material to replace subpar shots without refilming.
Optimize the Video for Mobile
As of 2019, 59% of automotive shoppers used smartphones and 26% used tablets to shop for vehicles online. This makes the optimization of video for mobile a necessity for maximizing the success of your product demo. Two things to consider when optimizing your demo for mobile are text size and the ability to watch the video on mute.
Text Size: Mobile screens are small so any text in the video should be larger and legible.
Preview on Mute: Around 69% of people watch video on mute so it’s crucial that your video still fulfills its purpose if it’s played without sound. Interactive product cards are a perfect solution to engage viewers and convey the message even on mute.
Step#5: Make It Interactive With COTU
Once your video footage is ready, the final step is to make it interactive. COTU makes it very easy for you to add interactive elements to your video. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Create Your Campaign
Creating a new campaign in the COTU platform is easy:
- Name your campaign.
- Upload your video.
- Add your campaign goals, audience, and budget.
- Click the Create button.
Step 2: Create Your Clickable Product Cards
At this point, you’ll be uploading photos of your automotive product features and adding links to relevant pages. Here’s how to do that:
- Select Products from the side menu then click Add to add the product details.
- Enter the product price, name, and description which viewers will see when they click to expand a card.
- Upload a photo and add a URL to a relevant page.
- Click Create Product to add it to your campaign.
- Repeat this process to add each of your products to the platform.
Step 3: Add Products to the Timeline
With all your products created, you can now start adding them to the video timeline. Here are the steps:
- Drag each product to place it at your desired position on the video timeline.
- Play the video to see if you’re happy with the placement.
- Adjust the duration for which each product card shows up in the video.
Step 4: Save And Publish Your Campaign
When you’re satisfied with the interactive elements in the video, you can save it as a draft and share the preview link with all the stakeholders for final approval. When you’re ready to make your campaign live, simply click Publish.
Data Collected Through Interactive Video
Adding interactivity to your product demos allows you to collect specific data that can let you know how interested viewers are in your automotive products. These metrics can tell you which features or products are generating more interest, and which ones need more or less marketing efforts. Here are a few metrics you can track:
- Product Views: This shows the number of times a product card or drawer was clicked on to view a specific product.
- Product Engagement: This is measured based on the number of times viewers click to expand a product card for more details.
- Product Click-throughs: This metric shows how many people clicked on the CTAs in your demo.
Distribute Your Interactive Automotive Product Demo
Once your interactive product demo is ready, it’s time to share it with your audience. The best places to distribute your demo will depend on your target audience segment as we mentioned earlier. Here are some of the best places to share your demo.
Adding a demo to your product pages could boost conversions. People on these pages are likely shopping with the specific intent to make a purchase.The addition of an interactive video could not only provide them with all the details in an engaging way, but could also conclude the sale faster.
Earned/Paid Media Placement
Publisher pages, display ads, search ads, influencer marketing, and other forms of paid media are very effective at getting your videos in front of a large audience with little effort.
Publishing an interactive demo is a great way to stand out on these sites which target people who are actively looking to make a purchase. The express purpose of these sites is to let prospects learn what other people think about a product.
Interactive product demos in blog posts can capture the attention of prospects in the consideration stage. These people are actively searching for topics related to your product. Your blog posts may show up in their search. When they reach your blog post and come across an interactive video, they might be able to make up their mind quickly.
Placing targeted advertisements on connected TV is another effective strategy for driving awareness, consideration, and intent.
An interactive product demo can be a very useful addition to your trade show displays. It can provide helpful information to prospects that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get from merely looking at the vehicle. Also, since the demo would be filmed in advance, you could ensure that all the main features are properly highlighted.
Dealership floors are where you’ll meet prospects shopping with a specific intent. Adding interactive product demos on display screens on the dealership floor is a good way to diversify customer experience. It allows buyers to walk in and see how the product is built or see it in action.
The Benefits of Creating an Interactive Product Demo with COTU
The COTU interactive video platform allows automotive sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. According to Richard, “Right now, most dealers don’t use video. They know that they could, they know that they want to, and they know that it could set them apart, but right now they are not using it. They are worried if they’ll get the most from the money they spend. What COTU allows is for them to make the most of their jump into video.”
Some of the benefits specific to the COTU platform include:
- Non-disruptive Viewing Experience: Viewers can click and expand product cards for more product details, without covering the screen or having to pause it first.
- Convenient Sharing Options: COTU offers three options for sharing your video: a unique link, an embed code, and a QR code. Between these three options, you can distribute your videos almost anywhere.
- Easy-To-Use Platform: With COTU, you’re able to go from regular video to interactive product demo in four simple steps.
- Robust Analytics: You can identify which products got the most views, which got the most clicks, and how many people clicked on the links in the video to reach the product page.
Interactive product demos are one of the best routes to take to drive engagement with your automotive products. Typically, selling these high-value automotive products is already a longer, more complex process, but an easy-to-use interactive video platform can get your videos live and in front of your audience in just a few steps. Sign up for a demo to see how COTU can help you to sell your automotive products.