Ecommerce Product Commercials Strategy (Hint: One-Of-A-Kind Videos)

The other day my Mom sent me this message...

Screenshot showing an email

Because my mom has an eye for marketing talent, I looked into it.

What I found is a one-of-a-kind product commercial strategy that can be used in any eCommerce business to sell more products.

Here’s how it works:

Let me show you how Carsales is doing it, so you can apply it in your business.

Step 1: New Customer Buys Your Product

Carsales sells ad packages you can buy to advertise your car on their website. Here is what their product page looks like for selling your car:

Screenshot showing a plans page

Notice the option in the ad packages that says “Limited time car commercial.” Apart from getting a listing to advertise your car on their website, they’re also giving you a car commercial.

Now take note of the different information Carsales asks for when you create your ad (in Step 2 I’m going to show you how they use this information to create one-of-a-kind product commercials).

First they ask for the make, model, year, and type of car you’re selling.

Screenshot showing a page on carsales

Second, they ask for how many kilometres the car has according to its odometer reading.

Screenshot showing the add information page on carsales

Third, they ask for photos of your car before you review and pay for your car listing.

Screenshot showing the "Add photos" page on carsales

Obviously, Carsales needs all this information anyway to create your car listing (just like you need to collect a person’s name, shipping address, and order details to send your product to them).

But let’s take a look at how Carsales is using this information to create unique product commercials for their customers--and how they get their customers to share their product purchase right away.

Step 2: New Customer Gets One-Of-A-Kind Product Commercial

With details from your car listing, Carsales sends you this email:

Screenshot showing copy on AutoAds

When you click on the “Watch them now” button you are taken to a custom landing page that’s been dynamically generated for your car listing.

Screenshot of AutoAds

The Carsales software uses an algorithm to generate a commercial for five different personas. You get to select a commercial based on which type of person you think your car is best suited for.

Screenshot showing different kinds of autoads

Here is what the Adventure-themed car commercial my Mom made looks like:

Here’s a breakdown of how Carsales has customized the video with voice overlays in three different parts. Watch, follow along, and see how to use placeholders (highlighted in bold below) in your videos to customize them for your own customers:

  • 0:21 Car Type: “With this second-hand Van

  • 0:23 Year: “Built in 1974

  • 0:28Kilometres: “With under 300,000 kilometres”

  • 0:31 Outro (see screenshot below)

Screenshot showing an example of an ad generated by carsales

Carsales hired a comedy director and a versatile actor who could embody the five distinct themes and characters for the videos. In total, they have 1.2 trillion possible video combinations to make the product commercials one-of-a-kind for every individual. But for your own eCommerce products you don’t need to go that advanced.

You may not have variables like car type, year and kilometres, and even if you do, there’s a simple way to execute this strategy if you follow the below process.

  1. Identify your best-selling product

  2. Produce a funny “base clip” about your product

  3. Overlay your customers’ first names using placeholders

With this format you have the best of both worlds: a funny, shareable, and unique product commercial without needing to record voice-overs of every possible name in existence.

Here’s an example of how Maybelline New York did it with their “You Are Sensational” campaign to promote their Lash Sensational Mascara product.

Marketo did it to get customers to buy tickets for their Marketing Nation Summit event in Las Vegas (notice how they use the “Your Name” placeholder on the iPad at the 0:13 minute mark and again on the Las Vegas sign at the 1:02 minute mark):

You can create videos like the examples above using personalized video software like Vidyard, Impossible Software and Idomoo. These companies take your base clip and overlay placeholder text to generate individualized videos for your audience.

For more advanced campaigns that overlay dynamic, customized and personalized effects with motion tracking and clip-swapping, you can hire a personalized video agency like Imposium, CHE Proximity (the agency Carsales used) or Vehicle. Here’s an example of a clip I made for Noah Kagan, CEO at Sumo Group so you can see what one of these more advanced campaigns can look like:

Now you know how it’s done, let’s go over why this product commercial strategy is so sharable.

Step 3: New Customer Shares Your Product On Facebook

By giving private sellers the opportunity to have their own big, expensive-feeling car ad, Carsales has tapped into the psychology of why people share things on Facebook and social media.

People will share based on how they think sharing that thing will make them look to their friends and family. And sharing a funny, professionally produced car ad with their personal car details makes it an easy decision.

On the custom landing page generated for the car listing ID, Carsales has five sections (Adventure, Family, Tough, Luxury, City) where you can see what your different themed commercials look like:

Screenshot showing the "adventure" video selection

When you click the “Play video” button you can watch your custom commercial and click “Share Your Commercial” if you like it.

Screenshot showing a video generated by AutoAds

When you click the “Share Your Commercial” button, Carsales makes it easy to share with a popup that gives you a pre-written Facebook description with a link to your car listing so you can copy, paste, and share. This increases the chances of someone sharing vs giving them a blank message box to come up with their own post description.

Screenshot showing a page on AutoAds, describing how to paste the video somewhere

Here’s an example of where my Mom picked the adventure theme, wrote her own message, and shared it on her Facebook, to help spread the word about her friend's car ad:

Screenshot of a facebook post

Using a product commercial like this has a number of advantages for Carsales and their customers:

  • People get a big-budget commercial for their second-hand car

  • People feel proud to share the commercial with their friends

  • People have an opportunity to sell their car faster via Facebook

  • People see their friends listing their cars on Carsales so when they have a car to sell they are more likely to buy a car listing from Carsales

This isn’t an easy strategy to execute, but sometimes the most effective marketing campaigns are the hardest to replicate. I bet none of your competitors are doing this.

Start with one product commercial for your best-selling product and see how much more website traffic, product sales and new customers you can attract. By searching on Facebook for Carsales’ unique product commercial link, I was able to count 92 Facebook shares in one month for different listings.

Screenshot showing a facebook video

If you got more Facebook shares than that on your products in the last month, then send me a message on LinkedIn here. I’ll feature your business on the Sumo blog and buy you tacos if you send me a screenshot to prove it.

No proof, no taco.

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