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The Attorney General Tri-State Commission and automotive manufacturers are cracking the whip and cracking down on automobile ads on YouTube.

YouTube used to be a safe haven where car dealers could place their video car ads, car walk-arounds and employee videos as they would. It was easy. They would open a YouTube channel and post whatever they thought the public would enjoy or might capture the attention of potential customers. These videos, like videos by any other everyman or woman, could be left up online ad infinitum. But no longer.

As digital advertising becomes more popular and prevalent, it can no longer be dismissed as a free-for-all. Anything posted by an auto dealership or franchise must now adhere to the same rules enforced for traditional advertising such as newsprint, radio, or television.

  • Any videos that display an outdated price offer can no longer be displayed.
  • Non-compliant videos cannot be displayed anywhere after the end date has passed according to the Attorney General Tri-State Commission.
  • Non-compliant videos cannot be displayed anywhere according to the automobile manufacturer.
  • Walk-arounds of vehicles no longer available are considered to be fraudulent according to the Attorney General and non-compliant by the manufacturer.
  • Videos displaying pre-owned vehicles that have been sold can no longer remain on the channel.
  • Any employee, former or present, that did not sign a release form, cannot be featured in any video on the dealership’s channel as they can sue the dealership.
  • Dealer videos featuring the actual dealer as the principal may not refer to former employees no longer at the dealership unless they have signed a release form.
  • All other offers, especially credit offers or bonus offers may not continue to be displayed by the dealer after the end date.

These restrictions may seem harsh, but they are the same guidelines with which other forms of advertising must comply. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in fines from the Attorney General’s office, letters from the manufacturers, and/or sanctions by both.

Considering the staggering amount of material currently online, this may appear to be a daunting prospect to the individual dealership or franchise. Farming out the task may be the most expedient and practical way of dealing with the mandatory channel clean-up. For a small fee the dealership’s advertising agency can be prevailed upon to initiate the clean-up and maintain their channel’s integrity on their behalf. An advertising agency can also design the YouTube campaign and monitor any analytics to give the dealership the biggest bang for their buck.

As digital online advertising moves forward into the future of the business, everyone needs to remain vigilant and pro-active. Someone somewhere is always watching. And we can all be glad about that.

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Herding Cats Or Persuading Automotive Dealerships Into Digital Advertising

Officially established by Henry Ford in 1903, the automotive industry is over one hundred years old. Unfortunately, so are their advertising methods. Attempts to guide them toward online advertising can be as frustrating as herding cats.

At a time when most automobile drivers are glued to their mobile devices, one would think that automotive would have been one of the first industries on board. The manufacturers do utilize digital advertising to an extent, but their franchises are slower to the punch. They don’t seem to understand how digital advertising works or how it can benefit them.

Companies like Digonary are forming to help take the mystique out of digital advertising, especially the important role of retargeting. In a sample presentation, the automotive client is shown side by side graphs on how their advertising dollars are being spent on traditional advertising and how they could be spent on digital advertising. Graphs depicting locations where potential customers currently spend their time is also presented.

One of the most important platforms presented to the automobile franchise is retargeting. Once a potential customer visits the franchise’s website, a cookie is placed in their IP address which then follows the customer wherever they go online, serving banner ads that gently remind the customer that the franchise is there and ready to assist them.

Retargeting serves the same purpose for the franchise as newspaper ads did in the past. It gets the dealer’s name and brand out into the world, lists the current offer, and provides contact in the form of a button to click which redirects the viewer to the dealer’s website where all the current deals and services are listed. Unlike a newspaper, retargeting banners follow the customer around the Internet, appearing wherever their eyes are, quietly reinforcing the brand. Also, unlike a newspaper, a banner ad gathers information on the potential customer so the dealer can personalize the offers by directing the URL on the clicked button to specific landing pages for specific deals or services. The only thing a banner ad cannot do is line the bottom of a birdcage.

Retargeting is also much less expensive than newspaper ads, a point that hits home to the small franchise owner. For the cost of a full-page ad in a newspaper, they can retarget on the Internet for a month, only paying for the customers that actually click through the banners, although some companies charge for the total number of impressions served. Digonary employs the former method which offers the dealer more bang for his buck.

Once the automotive franchise owner understands the benefits of advertising on the digital level, they are more likely to spend their dollars there. Online advertising is the present and the future.

People once thought television was a fad that wouldn’t last and see where we are now.

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Digital Advertising Gauges the Success of Automotive Special Events

Summer days are anything but lazy when your objective is to sell automobiles and raise awareness of your brand. People are on vacation, soaking up the rays, traveling to new places and generally taking it easy. The last thing on their minds is buying a new car. Selling cars is the automotive dealer’s bread and butter. Just because their customers take time off doesn’t mean they can.

To raise brand awareness, a car dealer may try many things, such as clearance sales, direct mail, contests, radio sponsored giveaways, etc. In the past, traditional advertising has sent point of sale (POS) materials out by snail mail or through broadcasting, but there has been no definitive way of gathering and analyzing results.

Digital advertising brings a clear sense of immediacy to special events. Digonary is working closely with a well-known Tri-State automotive retailer to present a summer promotion in the form of a lease giveaway contest. Digonary has designed an online campaign that links radio spots, a website landing page, entry forms, and web banner ads and is managing the giveaway from every aspect.

The radio sponsors are driving listeners to the entry form via a landing page on their websites and e-mail blasts. When a potential customer fills out an entry form, they must fill in every line of this form or the entry does not count. Once complete, the form is sent to the automobile franchise’s web page where a cookie is embedded in the potential customer’s web browser and they are now being retargeted.

The radio stations are working hand in glove with the dealership and Digonary to maximize exposure and jumpstart the promotion. The car dealer has what is known as a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM). When an entry is submitted, all data entered is registered with this CRM tool and the IT department now knows the customer’s information as well as the source and time it was submitted. Digonary receives this information via an e-mail from the CRM tool which can be utilized in future promotions.

This promotion is an ongoing event for the entire summer of 2013 for this dealership. There will be live appearances by the radio stations with vehicle displays, on-air sponsorships, digital streaming videos and much more. The purpose of this campaign is to excite and entertain prospective customers while solidifying the dealership brand until the culmination event when the winner is finally chosen. The usage of digital advertising and the advantages are apparent in the interaction of the event and the customer. Through digital, the customer is more than an interested observer in the event as he becomes a participant, raising the value of the promotion.