The car dealership industry is a fast-paced game. To compete in this complex market and capture audience attention, dealership brands must put their best foot forward. To help you step up your strategy, we have compiled a list of the top car dealership advertising ideas. 

Whether you’re looking to boost brand awareness, fuel customer engagement, or turbocharge car sales, this blog post is the ultimate guide for your dealership brand to succeed in 2024. 

What is car dealership advertising?

Car dealership advertising is a promotional strategy automotive dealerships use to boost brand awareness, generate leads, and increase car sales for their brands. Popular dealership advertising strategies include social media advertising, pay-per-click advertising, video ads, audio streaming, etc. 

Why to invest in car dealership advertising? 

Investing in advertising campaigns helps car dealerships:

  • Boost brand awareness for their dealership group so customers choose them over their competitors. 
  • Engage interested prospects to fill up lead forms, peruse inventory, and become an active lead to boost sales.
  • Build customer loyalty in a particular location by running targeted campaigns. 

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) of the USA, total franchised dealerships invested 4.28 billion dollars in 2023 as per their mid-year report. Additionally, the report shows that investment in car dealer advertising campaigns has steadily increased since 2020. 

This image shows car dealership advertising investment for 2023 as per NADA.

All market trends indicate that now is the right time to invest in innovative and proven car dealer advertising strategies to accelerate growth. 

How do you build a car dealership advertising strategy? 

For dealership brands serving hundreds of locations, the significance of strategic advertising cannot be overstated. Strong marketing and advertising strategies ensure that you can customize the advertising campaigns according to each location’s demographics and requirements, guaranteeing success. 

Here are the steps to build a strong car dealership ad strategy: 

  1. Know your customer 
  2. Segregate and segment the audience to develop targeted campaigns 
  3. Identity dealership USPs 
  4. Define an advertising budget 
  5. Choose the advertising channel
  6. Design engaging advertisements
  7. Experiment, analyze, and iterate 

Let us look at how you can implement each of these steps. 

1. Know your customer

The most effective campaigns start with knowing your audience well enough to craft the perfect message and choose the right advertising platform. Your dealership advertising strategy must begin with analyzing first-party data that your dealer groups have collected to identify the target audience accurately. 

This data should inform you what your customers like about you, their pain points, and why they chose you over competitors. You can gather this information from customer surveys, reviews, and other feedback channels like social media conversations. 

Pro Tip: Using first-party data in addition to market knowledge helps drive better car dealership ad campaigns with accurate targeting and increases conversion rates. Leverage Birdeye Surveys and Insights to gather in-depth information about your customer base. 

2. Segregate and segment the audience to develop targeted campaigns 

Now that you know your target audience, it is time to segregate and segment them based on demographics, buying power, requirements, and purchase process. A PwC study shows that a significant portion of car buyers prefer to purchase cars online, while some explore a hybrid approach to the process.  

This image shows recent car purchase survey results from PwC

Your advertising campaign must not treat them as one category. Instead, craft messages and choose appropriate platforms for each segment to achieve higher conversion rates. 

3. Identify dealership USPs

Your dealership’s USPs are crucial for driving an effective campaign. You need to think about what aspects of your offer can make it appealing to car buyers. These USPs could include exemplary service, better credit facilities, an impressive car inventory, or attractive discounts.

4. Define an advertising budget

Advertising campaigns can be expensive, so starting with a predefined budget helps you optimize spending and ROI goals. This allows dealerships to pick the right platforms and advertising channels and set the right marketing objectives.

Choose a budget that allows you to stay competitive with your peers and is still economical for your dealership brands. 

5. Choose the advertising channel 

The return on investment of your car dealership advertising campaign would largely depend on the decisions you make regarding the advertising channel. Some platforms work better for auto businesses and yield a higher ROI. 

Car dealerships must choose an advertising channel that:

  • Reaches their target audience
  • Yields a higher ROI within the advertising budget 
  • Meets the goals of the dealership group – brand awareness or conversion

6. Design engaging advertisements 

You can choose from different media types – static design, video, or audio – for your auto dealership campaign in each channel. Work with your team to craft engaging, effective, and impactful advertisements.

Here’re some proven car sales advertising ideas:  

  • Follow trends your target audience interacts with on popular social media platforms to gain their attention. 
  • Ensure your advertisement design is consistent with your brand guidelines for better recall. 
  • Build an emotional connection with your audience by showcasing real stories and value propositions. 

7. Experiment, analyze, and iterate 

Any new campaign takes a while to settle down, and your advertising strategy must consider that. For best results, constantly monitor and experiment with various elements such as design, copy, and platforms. Iterating based on these experiments will help you identify the most effective solution. 

11 car dealership advertising ideas to grow revenue in 2024 

Car dealership advertising needs a unique approach that matches the car buyers’ journey and has the optimum return on investment. Some of the top car dealership advertising ideas are:

  1. Facebook Ads
  2. Google Ads
  3. Influencer marketing campaigns
  4. Text marketing campaigns 
  5. Customer review promotional campaigns 
  6. Video ad campaigns
  7. Programmatic advertising 
  8. Free advertising sites
  9. Audio streaming ads
  10. Billboard display advertising 
  11. Discount ads with direct marketing 

Let us take a look at these car dealership advertising ideas in detail. 

1. Facebook Ads

The average consumer spends a lot of time on social media, with Facebook remaining a leading platform. Its superior audience targeting capabilities enable businesses to effortlessly reach their target audience with ease.

In particular, Facebook’s dynamic product ads allow car dealerships to showcase their actual inventory to consumers. These ads allow dealerships to upload their current catalog to showcase up-to-date pricing and product descriptions. Consequently, customers can explore the inventory without the need to call or visit the dealership. 

As a result, dealerships generate easy-to-convert leads as the consumers express interest after knowing what they offer. 

Check out this example to know how to use dynamic product ads for car dealership advertisements on Facebook:

Image shows example of Facebook ads for car dealership brands

Video ads, lead form ads, and image ads are other advertising formats you can explore on Facebook. If a post performs well, you can explore the Facebook boost option instead of running an ad. 

You can improve the impact of your car dealership’s Facebook ads with:

  • Remarketing strategies that allow you to target your ads to an audience group already aware of your brand and has interacted with your page on the platform. 
  • Lookalike audiences that take your ad to Facebook users you choose based on criteria from your previously successful campaigns. 

2. Google ads

Your business can place text or banner ads on the search results page and other websites to reach your target audience with Google ads. Experts believe that 90% of local searches originate on Google, making it a robust digital marketing platform for car dealerships. 

However, running well-targeted Google ads can pose a challenge for larger car dealer brands. 

For large dealerships operating multiple locations in a 50-mile radius, the competition often comes from within. This internal rivalry inflates the cost of automotive ads, ultimately diminishing your lead funnel. 

In such cases, you can:

  • Target the outskirts of your dealership location so that each branch gets a significant lead volume without interfering with each other.
  • Target different keywords for each location to keep the cost-per-click minimum.
  • Limit the target radius when choosing a similar/generic keyword for more than one auto business listing, so you don’t compete with your brand. 

What are Google vehicle ads? 

Google Vehicle ads are a promotional strategy Google has rolled out for auto dealerships to showcase their inventory to potential customers. It is currently active in the USA and Canada. Google believes that using vehicle ads can translate into a 25% increase in conversation rates for auto businesses online. 

This image shows an example of Google vehicle ads

Car dealerships can enable Google Vehicle ads with the following process:

  1. Fill out this form to enroll in the program and await a confirmation email. 
  2. Once you have the email, log in to the Google Merchant Center. 
  3. Click “Growth” on the navigation menu.
  4. Next, click “Manage programs”.
  5. Click “Get started” on the Google vehicle ads program card. 
  6. Choose the country where your car dealership is present to enable vehicle ads. 

Google has upgraded all vehicle ads to Performance Max campaigns that increase the ads’ visibility on all Google customer touchpoints, such as YouTube, Display, Gmail, and Discover. 

3. Influencer marketing campaigns 

Social proof is a strong, convincing point for customers. Working with influencers with an established audience can help your dealership brands reach new audiences and boost brand awareness. 

While influencer marketing is new in the auto business world, it can be a successful advertising channel. For best results, make sure that the influencer you choose:

  • Has an established brand on social media and has launched successful campaigns in the past
  • Is relevant to your niche and location 
  • Will be able to reach your target audience
Pro Tip: Instead of paying celebrities to endorse your dealership franchisee, work with micro-influencers who can help build meaningful connections with potential customers. 

4. Text marketing campaigns

SMS channels are highly successful in launching car dealership marketing campaigns. It has a higher open rate compared to email and other similar channels. 

In fact, Birdeye’s 2021 study found that 

  • 36% of multi-location marketers use personalized text messages to connect with their customers.
  • 72% of marketers leverage the mass texting channel to connect with prospective customers.

Automated text messaging campaigns can help car dealerships boost brand awareness, promote ongoing discounts, announce new inventory, and stay connected with prospects. 

This interactive approach translates into a better customer experience and motivates customers to pick your dealership. 

Grow your auto dealership brand with Birdeye

Want to see the impact of Birdeye on your business? Watch the Free Demo Now.

5. Customer reviews promotional campaigns

Automotive dealerships have discovered that brand loyalty is currently at an all-time low. Customers are prioritizing customer experience, pricing, and convenience over loyalty. 

Although this realization may be difficult to embrace, it presents a significant opportunity for dealerships that prioritize customer experience above everything else.

This shift allows dealerships to fully engage in robust advertising campaigns targeting their dealership groups by:

  • Promoting Google reviews and customer reviews from niche car dealer review sites 
  • Showcasing customer testimonials 
  • Boasting about how you treat your customers by using dealership reviews at every marketing touchpoint, including website, social media, emails, etc. 

Your prospects are much more likely to believe in actual customer experience than promises from your dealership brand. 

Pro Tip: Invest in a review management solution like Birdeye to automate review generation, review management, and review marketing. The more reviews prospects see on your business listing, the higher the conversion rate. 

6. Video ads

According to Statista, 81% of car dealerships have invested in online video ads in 2022 for YouTube while 73% invested in social media, and 66% invested in search ads. This shows that video advertising campaigns remain a clear favorite for lead generation and growth. 

While video marketing is effective on almost every social media platform, YouTube is the top contender for video ads . Studies have also shown that 84% of customers have purchased after watching a brand’s YouTube video. Therefore, these YouTube video ads can be very effective for businesses aiming to generate leads and reach customers looking to move along in their car purchase journey. 

Car dealerships can leverage video advertising campaigns to:

  • Build an emotional connection with their audience 
  • Showcase a typical customer experience in their dealership
  • Capture the attention of the prospective customer and engage them further 

7. Invest in programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising allows car dealerships to automate the ad spot-buying process so that the focus remains on growing the brand and delivering quality advertising campaigns. With this strategy, you can engage prospective customers throughout their purchase journey. 

With the targeted programmatic advertising approach, dealerships can showcase banner ads, text ads, and video ads to a single consumer across multiple channels. This significantly improves brand awareness and simplifies the overall advertising process. 

Programmatic advertising also provides better attribution so that you can identify the channel that delivered the lead to you. 

8. Build a presence on review sites 

Popular car dealer review/listing sites like, Carfax, and Dealerrater have millions of people coming to them for recommendations. In addition to traditional review channels such as  Google or Facebook, these niche review sites can improve the reach of your business in the new and used cars market. 

Example of car dealership advertising

Car dealership brands can leverage their presence on car dealership review sites by

  • Listing available inventory on these sites and generating leads.
  • Encouraging customers to write reviews on these new and used car sales forums.
  • Announcing exciting financing options, price drops, and add-ons in new and used car advertisements. 
Related read: The guide to automotive reputation management  

9. Audio streaming ads 

While traditional advertising channels can be pretty successful for car dealerships, there is a new contender on the block: audio streaming ads. These ads bear resemblance to the radio advertisements many dealerships utilized in the past, yet they are significantly more impactful. 

Everyone is listening to something all the time- podcasts, their favorite music, or even the audio news channels. Running audio ads on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or YouTube Music can help you gain the attention of these customers.

According to Statista, 77% of advertisers mentioned that streaming audio ads delivered the highest ROI for car dealerships in 2022. 

10. Billboard display advertising to boost brand awareness

Car dealership brands require local customers to consistently recognize their presence and consider them when planning to purchase a car. Strategically placed billboards, with compelling messages and in optimal locations, can achieve this goal.

Billboard advertising has come a long way from just being a large-scale poster for your business. In fact, car dealership brands have been leveraging many out-of-the-box billboard designs to gain the attention of their prospective customers. 

For example, Prime Motor Group ran a campaign with upside-down billboard signages to show them they are turning the automotive marketing ideas on their head. The car dealership brand promoted its transparent and fair pricing policies with a simple design that made everyone brake and look up. 

Example of car dealership billboard ads

You can feature car dealership reviews, financing options, discounts, car dealership group ratings, and more on billboards. 

11. Unleash the power of discount ads with direct marketing

One of the most underrated strategies in car dealership marketing is engaging directly with customers with direct marketing. In this strategy, you reach customers directly via email, SMS, phone numbers, and home addresses to eliminate the middleman. 

While this is a top-of-the-funnel car dealership marketing strategy, you can leverage this fully to make sales with discount ads. The discounts can be for a service, car lease, or the sale of a new popular car model – it just has to encourage customers to talk to your team. 

Go global but stay local to ace your car dealership advertising campaigns 

As you can see, the road to success in car dealership advertising combines targeting local and global audiences. Dealerships must analyze customer data to choose the right platform, budget, and advertising design. 

Top advertising ideas for dealership brands include running social media ads, influencer marketing campaigns, promoting customer reviews, building a presence on review sites, video/audio ads, and investing in offline channels like direct mail and billboards. 

Whether it is social media ads or billboards, it is crucial for dealership brands to: 

  • Position themselves as the #1 choice against all significant players in the market 
  • Establish that you know your local customers well
  • Remind customers that they are a well-known global brand with a strong reputation 

Businesses that push the envelope and innovate to stand out in the competitive market come out on top. We strongly recommend leveraging digital and offline marketing strategies for the best results. 

FAQs on car dealership advertising 

How can I make my dealership stand out?

You can make your car dealership stand out by focusing on online reputation management, building a presence on car dealer review sites, investing in social media marketing, and running innovative advertising campaigns that feature your strengths. 

How much does the average car dealership spend on advertising? 

The overall automotive marketing industry was valued at almost 20 billion dollars in 2023, and the latest NADA reports show that car dealerships spend around $600 per new car sold in the USA. 

How can I increase traffic to my car dealership? 

You can increase traffic to your dealership by investing in programmatic advertising. This helps you reach prospective customers throughout their purchase journey via text and banner ads on Google and other websites. 

Move your car dealership group to the fast lane with Birdeye 

The automotive industry is highly competitive and challenging to navigate. One of the best ways to guarantee that customers flock to you is to invest in improving customer experience. 

An improved customer experience translates to higher brand loyalty, less advertising spending, and increased revenue for your car dealership group. And Birdeye can make that possible in just a few clicks. 

Birdeye is the leading reputation and customer experience management tool for automotive businesses. Our solution helps you:

  • Generate customer reviews
  • Manage dealership listings
  • Grow online reputation 
  • Manage customer feedback 
  • Engage prospective customers on social media
  • Boost customer experience with AI-driven tools 

Partner with the best in the customer experience business today! 

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