According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, there are over 16,000 franchised new car dealerships in the United States. The vast majority of these auto dealers list their inventory online to generate more sales. In other words, this is a competitive industry, so it’s important to make your listings stand out if you want to grab your target audience’s attention.
Using high quality car pictures is one of the best ways to set your dealership apart from your competitors. What type of images should you upload? What are automotive consumers looking for when browsing online listings? Here’s what you need to know to attract your target audience with high quality car photos:
THE IMPORTANCE OF TARGETING AUTOMOTIVE CONSUMERS ONLINE
The car buying journey has changed drastically over the years. In the past, automotive consumers used to visit multiple dealerships to learn more about different vehicles, compare their options, and make a purchase decision. But now, most of the car buying journey occurs online.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 2% of vehicles were purchased online. However, nearly 30% of new car sales in 2020 took place online. Even consumers who don’t actually purchase the vehicle online are still conducting research and narrowing down their options online. As a result, many automotive consumers don’t actually visit a dealership until they know exactly what vehicle they want to purchase.
Because so much has changed in the car buying journey, auto dealers can no longer rely on foot traffic to generate sales. Instead, they must target consumers online.
Images play a huge role in helping automotive consumers decide which vehicle to purchase. Ninety-percent of automotive consumers consider images to be extremely important when looking for a vehicle online. Furthermore, 40% of consumers are likely to buy a vehicle based on the images they see online without ever seeing the vehicle in person. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that one of the keys to successfully attracting online automotive consumers is using the right high quality car pictures.
WHAT CAR PICTURES DO AUTOMOTIVE CONSUMERS WANT TO SEE?
If you want to grab your target audience’s attention, it’s important to understand what type of pictures they want to see when looking at online car listings. Research shows that automotive consumers who are looking at online car listings want to see pictures of:
- Dash control panel
- Infotainment system
- Navigation system
- Interior front seats
- Three-quarters view of the exterior
- Side view of the exterior
- Front corners of the exterior
- Front view of the exterior
- Trunk/cargo space
- Center console
These are the images that are most important to automotive consumers. If your online listing doesn’t include all or most of these images, you may not be able to attract your target audience to your dealership.
The same study found that although it’s not absolutely necessary, automotive consumers would also prefer to see additional images of:
- Back up camera
- Other tech/safety features
- Back corners of the exterior
- Back of the exterior
- Steering wheel
- Push start button
- Interior back seats
- Door panel with controls
- VIN label
Including some or all of these additional images in your online listings could help your dealership gain a competitive edge.
WHAT DO CONSUMERS FOCUS ON WHEN LOOKING AT ONLINE CAR LISTINGS?
You should have a general understanding of what consumers are focused on when looking at photos included in online vehicle listings. Having this knowledge will make it easier for you to choose the right images to attract your target audience.
In general, automotive consumers who are interested in purchasing a used vehicle focus mainly on each vehicle’s condition when evaluating their options. New car buyers, however, mainly focus on the look and style of each vehicle when considering their options. For this reason, it’s important to use professional photos that convey an appealing look and style when listing new vehicles online.
HOW MANY PICTURES SHOULD YOU USE PER ONLINE LISTING?
Knowing how many pictures to upload with each online listing is just as important as knowing what types of pictures to upload. If you only include a few pictures, potential customers may not find the information they need to decide whether they want to purchase the vehicle. On the other hand, including too many pictures could overwhelm potential customers and make it hard for them to find what they’re looking for.
The number of photos you include with your online listing can impact the number of vehicle detail page (VDP) views. One image per listing is not enough. In fact, using multiple custom photos can increase your VDP views by 69%
So how many high quality car pictures should you use? Studies reveal that including between 36 to 40 pictures can increase VDP views by 30%, whereas including over 40 pictures can increase VDP views by 36%. However, if your listing only includes between one to five pictures, this could reduce your VDP views by about 45%. Keep this in mind when deciding how many pictures to upload per online listing.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE LISTINGS STAND OUT WITH HIGH QUALITY CAR PICTURES
At this point, you should know how many pictures to upload per listing and what automotive consumers expect to see in these pictures. But there are a few other tips you can follow to improve the quality of your online listings and attract more customers. Here’s what to do:
- Choose the first image wisely. Most dealers use an exterior shot as the first photo in an online gallery. If you want your listing to stand out, choose a different picture such as the steering wheel or interior of the vehicle. This will make your listing stand out to potential customers who are scrolling through hundreds of listings.
- Don’t make potential customers search for what they want to see. Most automotive consumers want to see the three-quarters view of the exterior and the cockpit photo of a vehicle right away, so include these two pictures in the first three photos of the gallery.
- Point the vehicle in the right direction. If you use a three-quarter view as the listing’s featured photo, make sure it points toward the text describing it, not away from it. Pointing the vehicle toward the text will help guide the consumer in the right direction so their eyes immediately go to the image’s description.
- Stick to one call to action. Some dealers include multiple calls to action within one listing, but this could confuse potential customers. Keep it simple by sticking to one call to action so consumers know exactly what they need to do after reading your listing.
- List the price. Don’t tell potential customers to contact your dealership to find out the price of a vehicle. Price is an important factor when deciding which vehicle to buy, so you shouldn’t make consumers jump through hoops to find out how much a vehicle costs. Including the price in your listing can drastically increase VDP views.
- Use stock photos. Taking pictures of every vehicle in your inventory is time-consuming, expensive, and difficult. Simplify the process of listing your inventory online by using studio quality car photos from a stock photo database instead.
Follow these tips to perfect your online listings, attract more potential customers, and generate more sales at your dealership.