The Latest Auto Advertising Trends for Dealers, Body Shops, and Other Local Auto Brands

09.07.2023 Sara Brasfield4 min

Production bottlenecks are finally in the past, and the chip shortage that disrupted new car sales and inflated used car prices has been largely fixed. After a difficult few years full of uncertainty and disruptions, the automotive industry is finally enjoying some stability for a change.

New vehicle sales are on the rise, and overall industry sentiments are increasingly positive. Instead of holding tight and trying to survive economic uncertainty and industry-wide challenges, automotive businesses are trying to seize upon surging demand for vehicles and automotive services.

To keep pace with this swing in momentum, automotive advertising and marketing strategies are also changing their tactics to stay aligned with evolving business goals. Here’s a look at how recent automotive industry trends are prompting new best practices for auto marketing and advertising campaigns.

Digital Auto Sales are Changing the Customer Path to Purchase

Years after disruptive brands like Carvana forged alternative paths to buying new and used cars, online-only auto sales have gradually increased in recent years.

The COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in forcing the development of online tools to support a digital car-buying process, with virtual tours and test-drives allowing consumers to shop for cars and even evaluate individual vehicles from the comfort of their home. Now that infrastructure is allowing consumers to shop and buy without visiting a dealership, expanding their inventory options and the convenience of the car-buying process.

As a result, automotive marketing isn’t exclusively focused on directing consumers to physical dealerships and connecting them with on-the-ground salespeople. More automotive marketing strategies are building conversion funnels that leverage dealership websites and other online destinations to qualify prospects while giving them the option of an online-exclusive shopping experience.

Incentives for New Vehicle Sales are Accelerating

Increasing new car inventories have given dealerships far more urgency to sell vehicles and accelerate new vehicle turnover on their lots. As a result, those dealers are offering attractive incentives for new vehicle purchases that go far beyond the incentives offered over the past few years.

Since incentives are usually aligned with inventory—with high inventory requiring better incentives to increase sales—auto marketing campaigns should be more aggressive in highlighting these incentives to attract prospective buyers and secure sales.

As part of these incentives, collision centers associated with specific dealers and car brands may be able to leverage cross-promotional opportunities, such as discounted or packaged services for vehicles bought at the dealership, to attract ongoing business and revenue from those vehicle buyers.

Social Media’s Star is Rising for Both Auto Promotion and Customer Insights

For both dealerships and auto repair shops, social media offers multi-faceted value to auto advertising and marketing campaigns. By running social media ad campaigns and engaging with customers across social platforms, auto businesses are achieving the following outcomes:

  • Ad campaigns can be targeted to a relevant audience. Behavioral data, demographics and user location can all be incorporated into audience targeting to enable a cost-effective approach to advertising to prospective car buyers.
  • Social reviews and feedback to inform other buyers’ decisions. From business ratings to other feedback on inventory, services or the car-buying experience, this user feedback is highly influential for prospective car buyers and customers. Encouraging this feedback and engaging with it directly can help convince potential customers to choose your business.
  • An active social presence can build trust. Social media activity can be used to validate your automotive business and its reputation.
  • Social media performance can help you learn more about your customers. From vehicle preferences to the services and brand experience elements that matter most, social media insights can help your business better serve its customer base.

Mobile-Optimized Websites Drive Conversions for Body Shops

With more and more consumer activity taking place online, auto body shops—as well as dealerships and other automotive businesses—can capture more business and revenue by offering a website optimized for mobile devices.

Online scheduling and other mobile tools can increase the utility and value of your website. But the user experience also needs to be seamless and efficient. Responsive page design, fast page load speeds, links to social media accounts, a clean website layout, and accurate business information will all make it easy for customers to get what they want from your business website—which can lead to more appointments and stronger customer relationships.

As marketing conditions change and industry trends evolve, automotive digital marketing needs to be responsive to the shifting needs of your customers, as well as the goals of your business. Cox Media can help your business create auto advertising campaigns that can be flexible to your desired outcomes.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

View All of Sara Brasfield's Blog Posts

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