Online Dating And Car Shopping? They’re More Alike Than You’d Think

When developing new product strategies, our User Experience (UX) team finds inspiration from other industries outside of the automotive vertical. With Valentine’s Day coming up, it seemed appropriate to analyze online dating apps for methods used to find and attract users to dating profiles. Like dating, car shopping has dramatically shifted from in-person to online. Today, roughly 40% of U.S. couples originally meet online.

J.D. Power Autodata Video inventory ads

Searching for a new vehicle, or romantic interest, is highly visual. Without compelling photos, prospects can get swiped away into oblivion. Only about 1-2% of online daters will look at the rest of a profile without a photo, according to Leonardo Bustos, an author of books on love and attraction. An echo of dating statistics, online is the first place people begin their search for a new car. Properly showcasing your inventory means the difference between getting noticed or being overlooked.

Online daters behave a lot like car shoppers. With online dating, users are both searching for and appealing to the right person – the one with the heart-melting smile or the epic sense of humor. They are looking for the perfect “Mr. or Ms. Right” with whom to fall in love. Car shoppers are searching for the right car with the right features at the right price. Dealerships are there trying to attract those consumers to their inventory.

Not surprising, 74% of vehicle shoppers say they are more likely to visit a dealership if they are able to view a picture of an actual vehicle currently available on the lot, according to Kelley Blue Book.

For example, I was watching a video pre-roll ad for the new Kia Telluride on YouTube. I thought about how much more compelling the video ad would be if I could see the dealership’s inventory within the ad. The video had great offers and incentives, but I immediately wanted to know what was currently in stock. Skip the scenic route and let’s get right to the destination. Vehicle shoppers are much more likely to click on a video ad that includes actual vehicles from a dealership’s lot, so let’s include them in the video.

The great news is that today, it has never been easier for a viewer to go from watching a video to becoming a customer. Right from a video ad, people choose the car they are interested in, click on it and go directly to the vehicle detail page (VDP) on your website. This is online video dating for car shoppers, and it has proven results. Our studies have shown a 72% increase in clicks from video ads that include video or photos of actual inventory.

Video inventory ads have bridged the gap between video advertising and store traffic. Across the nation, progressive dealerships spend millions on merchandising their inventory – taking photos and shooting videos to add to their websites. It’s easy to take these valuable assets and re-purpose them in video advertisements. By simply adding your inventory data to your video advertising strategy, you will attract more customers who are ready to buy, especially low funnel car shoppers. Consumers respond strongly to video ads in the final stages of their purchase journey.

Automotive dealerships find success when focusing video advertising on optimizing, converting, and retargeting low-funnel shoppers. Dynamic inventory video ads are perfectly suited to be part of your full-funnel video advertising strategy. Attract high-intent shoppers using multiple media platforms like Google’s Display & Video 360 (DV360), YouTube’s TrueView, Facebook/Instagram and Snapchat. Targeting in-market shoppers based on user behaviors, lookalike audiences and shoppers who visited your website within the past 30 days is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

It is no secret. Video gets shoppers to the lot. Over 60% of car shoppers reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of a vehicle they were considering.

Imagine the even greater results once your video advertisements include relevant incentives and actual units of your inventory. Statistics show that online daters get significantly more profile views – and matches– when they contain actual images and video. Like online dating, visual advertising in the automotive realm that contains intriguing images and video has demonstrated higher click-throughs and increased engagement. Drive high-intent shoppers to your VDPs and to your dealership by showing them “the glowing personality” of your inventory. It won’t be long before they fall in love.

About the author

Thomas Pearce, Senior Director of Interactive UX Strategy at Autodata Solutions, has over 20 years of interactive marketing, data-driven video, UI/UX online strategies, including 10 years leading interactive marketing teams in the automotive vertical. He has worked with/for many recognizable brands such as Ford, GM, FCA, Seagate, Google/YouTube and Napster.