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What the Best Automotive Advertising Campaigns Have in Common

Your automotive advertising should stand out.

Not all automotive advertising campaigns are created equal. Some auto ad campaigns are all-around triumphs, whereas others seem to wither when they should have taken off. Here are some of the most important traits of sustainably stellar automotive advertising campaigns:


Omnichannel Experiences

The best automotive advertising campaigns are ones which have fully embraced omnichannel experiences. “Omnichannel” in this instance is best described as an advertising strategy that capitalizes on all methods of shopping. This means your advertising and marketing should support shoppers goals on each of their favored platforms.

The name of the game with an omnichannel advertising experience is consistency. Three-quarters of customers expect consistent experiences across all channels. Car shoppers want their experience of your dealership to feel connected, across all advertising and marketing.

Part of nailing an omnichannel experience means offering a truly device-independent advertising experience. Be certain that your advertising and marketing (including your website) is optimized for accessibility anytime and anywhere.

The penalty for not delivering an omnichannel experience to your shoppers is steep, probably more so than dealers are aware of. A startling 73% of consumers are likely to switch brands (or dealerships) if their expectations of consistent experiences aren’t met.

Now, omnichannel doesn’t mean that your advertising should be spread out across every possible channel. Beyond being a logistical migraine waiting to happen, that particular strategy would be tremendously inefficient. After all, your shoppers aren’t conducting their online vehicle research, or even considering a vehicle, across every channel. The best automotive advertising campaigns develop an omnichannel experience based on the most popular and effective channels for car shopping.

That being said, there’s a danger in being too narrow, particularly if your dealership is in an area with hot competition. If, for example, you’ve written off paid search because it just seems a bit overrated and unnecessary, you’re likely missing out on sales. Chances are that your competitors are killing it where you aren’t even competing.


Data-Driven Decisions

The best automotive advertising campaigns are built around insights gleaned from thorough data analysis, not hunches. Your advertising campaigns should begin with insights from the industry as a whole, recent updates on shopper behavior, specific community facts and statistics, and the success of previous advertising campaigns.

For example, if data reveals a relatively large influx of young professionals to your town or nearby city, it would be an exceptional time for advertising campaigns targeting these up-and-coming Millennials with attractive offers geared to their changing life situation.

While it can be challenging for dealerships to constantly gather and analyze this type of data for each and every campaign, the results are often increased efficiency, lower costs, higher engagement, and more sales.


Geared For The Right Result

Not all advertising will give you the same results, and nor should it. A key element of the best automotive advertising campaigns is that they are developed to address specific goals along the entirety of the buyer journey.

For example, a Facebook campaign to highlight your dealership’s commitment to customer experience and trust might not generate an immediate jump in sales. That’s fine. It isn’t meant to. These type of awareness campaigns shouldn’t be focused on driving sales, but building community connection, positive word of mouth, and a good reputation.

Alternatively, low-funnel advertising like hyper-targeted offers and VIN-specific retargeting should focus on delivering the best offer and important details to the shopper and encouraging a conversion.

Poorly constructed automotive advertising campaigns often aren’t optimized to get the maximum intended result from each specific element of your dealership advertising strategy.  


Embrace the Power of Video

Video has rapidly become the preferred way to absorb online content. This year, it has been estimated that 79% of all internet traffic will be video content. That is tremendous and has important implications for car dealers looking to optimize their advertising strategies for a rapidly changing future.

TV commercials, which are either skipped over, switched over, or ignored in favor of a mobile device, are rapidly being replaced by online video content. In fact, 72% of ad agencies rank online video advertising as equally effective, if not more effective, than television.

The best and most powerful automotive advertising campaigns invest heavily in producing and displaying high-quality video ads that address shopper desires and pain points. TrueView ads, YouTube’s exceptionally useful video advertisements, are exactly the type of advertising that dealerships should be capitalizing on as customer interest turns to video.

Want a full rundown on TrueView video advertising? We’ve got you covered. Read more here.

As always, remember the omnichannel experience, and don’t neglect to support your video ads with related ads on different platforms.



One element that continually distinguishes dealership with truly effective automotive advertising is a comprehensive approach. This means advertising all departments of your dealership (including your service department), maintaining consistent messaging, and rejecting a “set and forget” attitude.

A comprehensive For example, if a customer who bought a car from you has just reached their first maintenance milestone, they should receive ads that offer them a coupon or discount for returning to their home dealership for service.

Remember that along with advertising your entire dealership, each automotive advertising campaign should feel connected to your dealership. An internet shopper who looks at a Spring Sales Event ad, and later watches customer testimonial ads on Facebook should know, without even noticing or thinking about it, that these two pieces of information are related to the same dealership.

The last aspect of a comprehensive automotive advertising campaign is no less important than the other two. It is all too easy to set up an advertising campaign and let it run until it is time for the next, but this makes it almost certain that you’ll be missing out on sales. Constant optimization and analysis are necessary for a successful automotive ad campaign.


Customer-Centric Advertising

People don’t generally like advertising, and that’s because much the advertising we see on a daily basis is irrelevant, boring, ugly, needlessly distracting, or just plain annoying. But trust us, it doesn’t have to be this way.

The best automotive advertising campaigns are those that take a customer-centric approach to their advertising. How do you know if your advertising is customer-centric? Well, there are a few questions to ask:

  • Was this campaign informed by customer behavior insights?
  • Are the offers in the advertisements relevant to your shopper?
  • Is the information provided useful?
  • Is it the right time for this offer?
  • Does the ad convey transparency and honesty?

If the answer to any of these questions is “I don’t know,” it’s likely that your automotive ad campaign is lacking in a customer-centric philosophy.