3 Proven Tips To Leverage Targeting For Car Dealer Display Advertising


If you think about it, car buying has evolved dramatically over the last decade. Gone are the days when customers would have to visit multiple dealerships, haggling over prices and features. In this digital age, much of the car-buying process happens online, with 92% of car buyers researching online before they buy. This is where display ads come into play and maximize visibility and sales with effective car dealer display advertising. Reach your audience and increase dealership success.

Targeting the right audience is critical for car dealer display advertising. In this article, we’ll share tips and tricks from our seasoned CMOs to help you target your ads to reach potential buyers.

Get the best from car dealer display advertising strategies from fractional CMOs that have over 10 years of experience.

Understanding Digital Display Advertising for Car Dealerships

1. What is Car Dealership Digital Display Advertising?

Simply put, digital display advertising uses visually appealing images, videos, or animations to market your dealership’s vehicles online. These ads appear on websites, social media platforms, and even apps that potential car buyers use. The goal? To catch their eye, pique their interest, and ultimately lead them to consider buying a vehicle from your dealership.

2. The Rise of Display Advertising in the Automotive Sector

We’ve come a long way since the early days of newspaper ads and TV commercials. The automotive sector has been increasingly embracing digital advertising, with display advertising being a significant part of the mix.

According to eMarketer, the automotive sector spent nearly $16 billion on digital advertising in 2020, and a sizeable chunk of that was on display ads. This signifies a shift from traditional advertising platforms, giving car dealerships the power to engage with potential customers like never before.

The Power of Targeting in Display Advertising

What is Targeting, and Why is it Important for Car Dealers?

It’s all about understanding who your potential customers are, their needs, and where they are in their buying journey. Targeting allows you to tailor your ads to be seen by the right people, increasing the likelihood of conversion. According to a report by eMarketer, targeted display ads can help car dealers achieve up to a 70% higher click-through rate. Without targeting, your ads are just shots in the dark.

Different Types of Targeting Methods in Digital Display Advertising

Digital display advertising is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and there are several ways to target your ads:

1. Geographic targeting:

This allows you to display ads to people in a specific location. So, if you’re a dealership in Austin, Texas, you’d want your ads to reach people in Austin, not Alaska.

2. Demographic targeting:

You can target based on age, gender, income, etc. Selling luxury cars? You’d want to target an audience with a higher income bracket.

3. Behavioral targeting:

You can target potential customers based on their online behavior, previous searches, websites visited, and more. For instance, if someone has been visiting websites reviewing electric cars, your electric vehicle ad would be more relevant to them.

4. Contextual targeting:

This involves placing ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re selling. Ads for your sports cars might do well on a website reviewing high-performance vehicles.

With the right mix of these targeting methods, you can ensure your ads reach the people most likely to be interested in your dealership’s inventory. It’s not just about casting a wide net; it’s about casting it in the right waters.

Maximizing Car Dealer Display Advertising Through Retargeting

1. What Are Retargeting Ads for Car Dealerships?

Just because a potential car buyer visited your dealership’s website once and left without making a purchase doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Perhaps they were just researching or comparing different options. This is where you can use retargeting ads.

Retargeting is a form of online advertising that keeps your dealership front and center in the minds of these potential customers. It involves displaying ads to people who’ve previously interacted with your website or social media platforms. It’s like a gentle nudge reminding them of the sleek sedan or the sturdy SUV they were checking out on your website. According to Criteo, website visitors retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert. Thus, leveraging retargeting can improve your odds of turning that casual visitor into a bona fide customer.

2. Best Practices for Retargeting in Car Dealer Display Advertising

There’s an art to retargeting that makes it effective. Here are some best practices to consider:


All your website visitors are not the same. Segment them based on their behavior, what they looked at, how long they stayed, etc., and target them with personalized ads.

Frequency capping

You want to remind them of your dealership, not annoy them. Limit how often your retargeted ads are displayed to avoid overwhelming your potential customers.

Burn pixels

These allow you to stop showing your ads to people who’ve already converted. No one likes a clingy salesman, right?

Compelling creative

Ensure your ads are visually appealing and the message resonates with the viewer. They should enhance their interest, not distract from it. Retargeting is not a mere second chance at conversion; it’s a strategy to stay on top of the mind of your potential customers, nudging them down the purchase funnel.

Tips for Creating a Successful Display Ads Strategy for Car Dealerships

There’s an art to retargeting that makes it effective. Here are some best practices to consider:

1. Understanding Your Audience

You should understand your potential customers’ needs, their preferences, what drives their buying decisions, and even their apprehensions. Are they price-conscious or value-driven? Are they looking for fuel efficiency or performance? The more you understand your audience, the better you can tailor your ads to resonate with them. This detailed guide on Audience Segmentation can give you more insights into understanding your audience.

2. Selecting the Right Platforms for Display Ads

Not all advertising platforms are created equal. Some platforms may be more popular with specific demographic groups, while others may have features that align better with your marketing goals. For example, Facebook’s robust targeting capabilities can be helpful for detailed demographic and behavioral targeting, while Google Display Network’s vast reach can help increase brand exposure.

The right platform also depends on your dealership’s specific objectives and the kind of vehicles you’re selling. For instance, if you’re selling luxury cars, a platform like LinkedIn might be an excellent bet to target high-income professionals.

3. Measuring the Success of Your Display Ads Strategy

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure,” a wise person once said. Okay, it was Peter Drucker, management consultant extraordinaire. But the point is measurement is crucial. Key performance indicators (KPIs) like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per acquisition (CPA) can help you understand the effectiveness of your display ads.

Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can provide detailed reports on these metrics. Remember, analyzing these metrics will help you gauge your current campaigns’ success and provide insights for future strategies. Crafting a successful display ads strategy is not just about launching a campaign and hoping for the best. It involves understanding your audience, choosing the right platforms, and constantly measuring and tweaking your campaigns for optimal performance.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the vast sea of digital display advertising might seem daunting, but the beacon of targeted marketing can guide you toward achieving your business goals. You can reap the benefits of an effective display advertising strategy by understanding your audience, choosing the right platforms, and constantly measuring and tweaking your campaigns.

Retargeting, too, plays a crucial role in capitalizing on your existing website traffic. Giving you a second shot at engaging potential customers significantly improves your chances of conversion.

The future of display advertising for car dealerships looks promising. With new trends like programmatic advertising, AI, and personalized ads, you have the potential to reach your target audience more effectively and efficiently.