How Are Car Buyers Using YouTube To Inform Their Purchasing Decisions?

Aug 12, 2019

The largest video platform, YouTube, processes more than 3 billion searches every month, making it the second largest search engine in the world behind Google. Statistics show that 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute which will only increase as the popularity for video content continues to increase.

So, how does this affect you as an auto dealer? Well, your customers are on YouTube researching the next car that they want to buy. Indeed, 75% of auto shoppers said that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases.


How Are Auto Buyers Using Video?


We know that auto shoppers are watching YouTube videos for research purposes, but how can you leverage that information into sales?




With so many makes and models on offer, if you’re in the market for a new car, you probably don’t know exactly what car you want.

You might have a vague idea on the size of car you want, the brands you like and how much you can afford to spend.

40% of auto shoppers who used online video for research said that it helped them discover a vehicle they weren’t previously aware of or considering.

Creating general video content that introduces the products you have on offer will help customers when they’re in the discovery phase of their journey.




YouTube has such a breadth of content – everything from professional comparison videos to user-generated reviews – that auto shoppers can experience cars in different and immersive ways.

40% of auto shoppers using online video while researching said that they used it to narrow down their consideration set.

Once customers know what type of vehicle they’re looking for and what they can afford, the next phase of the journey is to compare and contrast. This is where video comes into its own – auto buyers can watch people with different opinions driving the cars they’re interested in and talking about the differences between them.




By answering a range of questions that the customer has during the discovery and exploration phases, video encourages people to take action.

60% of auto shoppers who used video during the research process reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of a vehicle they were considering.

If you can create content that removes obstacles and points people in the direction of your showroom or website, they you’re likely to see sales increase.


What Content Are Auto Buyers Watching?


The three main types of video that auto shoppers are consuming are test drives, walk arounds and features & options.




Before committing to a car, auto buyers want to know what it’s like to actually get behind the wheel. A video test drive helps to answer a range of questions, for example:

  • Is it easy to find a comfortable driving position?
  • What’s the visibility of the road like?
  • How much space is in the back for adult passengers?
  • Does the engine make a lot of noise at high speeds?

In the past two years, the watch-time of ‘test drive’ videos on YouTube has grown by more than 65% in a similar trend to ‘unboxing videos’.




Walk arounds, sometimes referred to as walk-throughs, provide a complete 360° view of the interior and exterior of a car.

The video creator can give a sweeping overview of the car’s features so that the person watching can physically see what they’ll be getting for their money.

64% of shoppers who watch online videos to inform their purchase said that 360° video would actually convince them to buy a car without a test drive.




Features and options videos go into greater depth about specific elements of the car so that you can see how something works and how to operate it.

For example, Google confirmed that searches for ‘trunk space’ and ‘towing capacity’ are up 15% and 30% respectively, year-on-year.

If an auto buyer is looking for a specific feature on a car, such as a panoramic sunroof, a short ‘features’ video would be able to demonstrate that a particular make and model comes equipped with this option. The video would also show the advantages of the feature. In this case, it would be how light it makes the interior of the car and what a difference that can make on a journey.


Why Is It Important To Have A Presence On YouTube?


If you’re not putting content on YouTube and your competitors are, you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Let’s take an example. David Auto is a Chrysler dealership in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. After creating video content and taking their message to YouTube, they saw an increase in internet leads by 26% and a rise in in-store traffic by 22%.

You have the opportunity to create exclusive and unique content that is specific to your brand. Take advantage of your access to the showroom environment. Currently, creator-produced videos receive 93% of monthly views for all U.S. auto content on YouTube; however, brands and manufacturers are slowly eating into this share.

As well as receiving higher views, creator-produced videos also receive higher engagement rates than branded commercials. This reflects the trust and personal connection that independent dealers can create with a captive audience. If you can generate useful and quality content for YouTube, it will undoubtedly drive sales.

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