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Want Millennials to Buy From You?

Video Marketing is Key.

News flash: Millennials are finally buying cars! The generation that was once written off as disinterested in driving is now responsible for a whopping four million cars and trucks purchased in the U.S. last year. That’s not really surprising; Millennials are growing older. They are finding jobs and moving out of their parents’ homes.

Roughly defined as the generation born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials range from 16 to 36 years old. There are currently about 75.4 million of them, surpassing Baby Boomers as the largest generation. They are expected to start spending at least $200 billion annually starting next year.

Auto dealers that want to tap into this spending powerhouse must understand Millennial purchasing habits and what they respond to the most. Overwhelmingly, marketing experts have identified video as a key influencer in Millennials’ lives.

Millennials Want Engagement

According to Nielsen, the average Millennial watches 35 minutes of online video every day, spread among Netflix, YouTube, ads and other sources. Millennials seek engagement and video is their preferred medium to get that experience.

In a recent study, consumer video-creation service Animoto discovered the following powerful stats about how Millennials use video to help them with purchasing decisions:

  • 80 percent consider video content when researching a purchase decision
  • 7 out of 10 are likely to watch a company video when shopping online
  • 76 percent follow brands on YouTube
  • Millennials are 150 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to comparison shop with video while in-store
  • 4 in 5 find video helpful during initial research for a purchasing decision
  • Nearly three-quarters find video helpful when comparison shopping
  • Millennials are 85 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand

How to Reach Millennials with Video

Millennials aren’t as responsive to the TV commercials and print advertisements that worked with older generations, and their purchasing habits are fundamentally different. They watch less television and are more likely to be loyal to brands that attempt to create an actual relationship with them.

Millennials also tend to be tech and marketing savvy, and don’t respond to obvious marketing ploys. In particular, dealerships need to tone down the promotional hype. Two in three Millennials lose interest in a video if it’s too self-promotional.

The most effective methods for reaching Millennials with video are with email marketing, social media and mobile marketing.

Email Marketing

Fifty percent of Millennials will read an email from a company if it includes a video. Remember, when sending out emails, be sure to include the word “video” in the subject line to alert customers to the fact a video is inside.

The best types of videos to include in your email marketing campaigns include:

1) Walk-arounds or test-drive inventory videos. Eighty-five percent of Millennials find product demos helpful9, 76 percent of Millennials want to be informed on specific topics1, and 75 percent want to learn things and become smarter1. So be sure to create inventory videos that are informative and highlight features and benefits.

2) Dealership branded videos. Six in 10 Millennials prefer to watch a company video than read a newsletter1. When you are creating branded videos for Millennials, keep in mind this generation is not brand-obsessed. More than half say they will switch brands for a better deal, but 50 percent also say they will return to a brand if they have earned their trust and and if that brand has made the effort to get to know them1.

Branded content is most effective for Millennials when it’s brief, entertaining, funny, fresh/new, unique and relevant to them.

3) Customer testimonials.  Sixty-nine percent of Millennials find customer testimonials helpful during the purchasing process, and 60 percent of Millennials rate products and services online16.

Social Media

Millennials spend an average of 20 to 21 hours every month on social sites and most of them say they rely on input from their network while purchasing17. Marketers who leverage video in their social media marketing will be the most successful at reaching and engaging with this social generation.

Take a look at these stats from Animoto:

  • 76% of Millennials follow companies or brands on YouTube
  • Nearly half of Millennials follow company brands on Twitter
  • 84% of Millennials follow companies or brands on Facebook
  • 40% of Millennials follow companies or brands on Instagram

Sharing videos on your dealership’s social media sites is critical. But again, promotional messages will largely be ignored. To increase sharing by Millennials, create videos that deliver an emotional payout. Make them funny, sad or inspiring.

If your dealership is involved in local or community causes, create videos that share stories about these causes. Nearly 40 percent of Millennials prefer to spend money on a good cause, even if it means paying more for a product, and as a group they prefer to purchase from socially conscious, environmentally friendly or charitable companies18.

Snapchat, Vine and Instagram are also very popular with Millennials. These platforms allow for the creation and sharing of very short videos. While primarily used for socializing, some companies are finding ways to introduce their brands on these sites with short, creative videos.


Millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to watch videos on their mobile device, and 48 percent of Millennials only watch videos on their mobile device, which means they don’t watch videos at all on their computers!1

Dealers who are serious about reaching Millennials will integrate a video marketing strategy with their mobile marketing strategy. Geo-targeting Millennials with video ads is a great way to increase brand awareness and engagement.

The Rise of Virtual Reality

A technology that has been perceived as science fiction is now officially here, not just the next big thing, but the big thing right now! Google search interest for virtual reality (VR) videos has grown four times in the last year, and anyone with a smartphone and a VR headset can view virtual reality videos.

OEMs, including BMW, Volvo and Infiniti, released virtual reality test-drive videos this year, and Cadillac is planning to build virtual reality showrooms. For auto dealers, this exciting new medium is ideal for creating immersive, VR inventory videos.

And guess who loves virtual reality videos? Almost three-quarters (73%) of Millennials say they are interested in VR, and even more (79%) of Gen Z’ers say they are interested (those currently in the 10 to 18 year age group)20.

As VR becomes mainstream, dealers who blaze the trail with this medium stand to gain the most. 81% of people who try VR claim they tell their friends about the experience, and they are sharing and discussing VR at very high rates21.

Know Your Millennial Customers

The majority of Millennials give their loyalty to brands they perceive as authentic, and who make an attempt to form a personal relationship with them. In order to form a relationship, you must get to know your Millennial customers. Who are they and what’s important to them?

Millennials were arguably the hardest hit group by the recent recession. Because of this they are tough and budget-conscious consumers. They have less money to spend and are encumbered with debt. In fact, the average millennial carries about $45,000 in debt.

It’s no wonder that compared with previous generations, Millennials tend to put off major life decisions. However, as they grow older, major life decisions can’t be put off forever. As mentioned earlier, more Millennials are buying vehicles.

When marketing to Millennials, it’s important to understand their values and incorporate them into messaging. In general, Millennials value:

  • Health and wellness. As a group they exercise more, avoid fast food, drink less soda and smoke less than previous generations
  • Belonging and recognition. Millennials tend to want to feel special and unique, and to be recognized for their uniqueness
  • High expectations. Many are impatient, have high expectations from life, and tend to seek instant rewards for their efforts.
  • Helping others. Eighty-one percent have donated money, goods or services
  • Authenticity. 75% see themselves as authentic and not willing to compromise family and personal values26

Millennials also tend to value happiness, passion, sharing, connection, experiences and discovery.

Of course, it’s impossible to stereotype an entire generation. But knowing what a growing majority of your customers value should help you in the creation of a more effective video marketing strategy.

In less than ten years, by 2025, Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce. Their spending power will far surpass that of previous generations, but they are choosy how and where they spend their money. If you want to get serious about reaching and engaging with this generation, get serious about connecting with them via the medium they prefer, which is overwhelmingly video.

CBT News
CBT News
For over 10 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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