Dealership Videos: Perfect Is Enemy of Good

In one Facebook video that was shot using a smartphone, a staffer’s finger is visible in the frame. Utah used-car dealer Nick Markosian says it turned out to be one of his company’s most-liked videos.

Jim Henry, Contributor

November 13, 2019

3 Min Read
“If you don’t get them in the first couple of seconds you’re lost. You have one to five seconds,” CarGurus’ Daly says.

“People aren’t looking for perfection,” user-car dealer Nick Markosian says. “People love legit. They love authenticity.”

Speaking at CarGurus’ Navigate 2019 conference recently held in Boston, Markosian offers tips for dealerships interested in shooting their own, low-budget, online marketing videos. Two CarGurus marketing experts also make recommendations.

Markosian owns Markosian Auto, with locations in Taylorsville, North Logan and Ogden, UT.

Through constant repetition in Facebook videos, and also on TV and radio, Markosian says he hammers home two simple catchphrases: “We won’t jerk you around,” and, “A job. A license. Approved.” That is, anybody with a job and a driver’s license can get a loan at his dealerships.

Keep It Real

Markosian offers buy-here, pay-here financing in addition to indirect loans through other lenders. “I’m not here because I’m a tech guy. I’m here because I’m a used-car guy who’s had some success on Facebook. My point is, to be authentic,” he says.

For instance, in one Facebook video that was shot using a smartphone, a Markosian staffer’s finger is visible in the frame. Markosian says it turned out to be one of his company’s most-liked videos.

The dealer says he doesn’t lose sight of the business purpose, even though he loves shooting videos and having his say. Markosian has vendors handle the targeting of specific consumers and buying media. “We definitely get people’s attention. But again, that’s not what it’s all about,” he says.

Keep It Simple

Here are additional tips for dealerships shooting homegrown, online videos from a separate presentation by Shilpa Reddy, CarGurus senior director-marketing, and Caitriona Daly, CarGurus social media manager:

  • Keep it short – as in 15 seconds or less for an entire online video. A video has even less time than that to hook a viewer’s attention and get them to watch it all the way through, Daly says. “If you don’t get them in the first couple of seconds you’re lost. You have one to five seconds.”

  • Brand early, brand often, brand organically. “You need to make sure you’re weaving your brand into an ad in a way that feels organic, not just slipping a logo in the corner,” Daly says.

  • Include an unmistakable call to action. “You need to be clear what action we need them to perform,” such as clicking on a link to learn more, Daly says.

Silent Movies

  • Assume most people will watch with the sound off. “The way we consume things when we’re reading is different from when we’re looking at online videos,” Reddy says. According to CarGurus, 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off. Marketers shouldn’t assume consumers will catch any soundtrack, so voiceovers should be backed up with text or graphics, she says.

  • Build for mobile. Assuming most people will usually watch online videos on their phones, marketers should use vertical or square images only – not horizontal, Reddy says. Text must be legible.

  • Reinvest savings. The CarGurus experts say dealerships can save money by shooting their own videos, but they recommend dealerships take the money they save on production and spend it on media. The idea is for dealerships to quickly replace inexpensive videos with new ones, rather than blow the budget and risk getting stuck with an expensive flop.




About the Author(s)

Jim Henry


Jim Henry is a freelance writer and editor, a veteran reporter on the auto retail beat, with decades of experience writing for Automotive News, WardsAuto,, and others. He's an alumnus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. 

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