Paid Channel Focus — YouTube: In light of the need to stay indoors due to COVID-19, Honda Canada launched a campaign promoting online shopping for cars. The campaign visibility ranged across YouTube, Facebook and Search. YouTube saw the highest ad spend for this campaign at $340K over February and March 2021, with a +37% budget increase MoM. Facebook saw a $103K spend across February and March 2021, with a -39% budget decrease MoM. For this campaign, Search ads saw a very small experimental spend of >$2K in March 2021. Their strategy focused on very specific keywords such as competitor dealers in Canada. By adjusting their ad spends and experimenting with new channels, Honda opened themselves up to higher campaign accessibility and the ability to see what channel generated more traffic.
Content Tactic — Creating Compelling Ad Creatives: Throughout the channels used to promote this campaign, Honda maintained a similar creative across YouTube, Facebook, Search and the website landing pages. They maintained four main elements across the creative including:
Website Coordination — Build Resources to Support your Campaign: Though none of the campaign landing pages lead to the ‘Virtual Showroom’, Honda set visitors up to easily access this page by highlighting it in blue on the primary navigation. This content supplements the entire campaign by giving the viewer the opportunity to assess their car buying experience the way they would in person. Honda creates this through videos about each of their models that feature:
Model Presentation: Close ups and high quality footage of all angles and aspects of the car present details that viewers can continue to come back to.
On average, Google search interest for “Honda Online” has ranged higher than the average equivalent interest across competitors*. In March 2021, Honda saw a +113% difference in search interest compared to their competitors.
Honda Canada’s YouTube ad spend increased by +47% from January ($569K) to March ($834K) 2021.
In light of the changed buying landscape due to COVID-19, Honda promoted an ad creative that highlights buying cars online.
The YouTube ad landing page is Honda Canada’s homepage. The initial banner on the homepage follows up on the advertisement’s message with the tagline “Car Buying. The Couch Edition”. The learn more link leads to a slightly longer version of the YouTube ad.
To supplement the YouTube ad, Honda released a matching Facebook carousel ad to expand the message across platforms. The Facebook ad uses the same creative as the YouTube video.
The Facebook advertisement received a mixture of positive and negative comments.
Often Honda Canada only responded to the positive comments.
While Honda raised the YouTube ad spend for this campaign +26% in March 2021, they lowered the Facebook ad spend -40% MoM. The focus of these ads is to promote the ease of online car shopping stating that their tools provide a safe and easy way to shop from home.
The creative used throughout the Facebook ads, YouTube video and website offer a few key design and copy elements that speak to their customers.
The Facebook ad landing page lets users discover all car models available. Users can click on any model to learn more. The ad creative is also portrayed on each model’s landing page.
With a small percentage of the ad spend, Honda tested a few Search ads for their online shopping campaign. Their strategy focused on very specific keywords such as competitor dealers in Canada.
Honda’s primary navigation features multiple click-through options. A few key links are highlighted in blue to draw in the eye including the “Virtual Showroom”.
In the Virtual Showroom, visitors have the option to filter by desired car type. They can then watch a short pop-up video about the key aspects of the vehicle.
Typically, these videos range from 3-4 minutes in duration.
The video starts by introducing the specific model and giving the viewer an opportunity to see who will be guiding them through the tour.
The narrator is friendly, welcoming and delivers information succinctly.
A basic fact breakdown is offered two times throughout the video. Once at the beginning for a set of important overview facts and once at the end for more detailed facts.
The facts are presented neatly and with a large font as the narrator introduces each one.
The majority of the video features close ups on details of the car model including the entire exterior and interior, the trunk and under the hood.
While the narrator explains the benefits of the space, he provides examples of objects can fit in the truck or in the back of the car.