10 Automotive Dealership Marketing Trends

10 Automotive Dealership Marketing Trends

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever for dealerships to stay ahead of the curve and adopt new marketing strategies to reach and engage with potential customers. We have identified the top 10 marketing trends for automotive dealerships as we look to 2024, providing valuable insights and actionable advice on how to enhance your dealership’s marketing efforts and drive more leads and sales for your business.

1. Exit Third Party Cookies. Enter First Party Data.

The disappearance of third-party cookies is expected to (and already has!) had a significant impact on automotive dealerships that rely heavily on targeted advertising and tracking user behavior online. Third-party cookies have historically been a fundamental tool for dealerships to track user behavior across the web, target ads, and gain insights into consumer preferences and habits. With the elimination of these cookies, dealerships will face challenges in understanding consumer behavior, measuring ad performance, and delivering targeted content.

Automotive dealerships can overcome the end of third-party cookies by investing in first-party data collection and focusing on creating valuable and engaging content for their target audiences. Dealerships can build customer trust by being transparent about their data collection practices and offering personalized experiences that are relevant and helpful to customers. Additionally, dealerships can utilize contextual advertising, which uses the content of the webpage being viewed to deliver relevant ads and invest in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather insights and deliver more targeted messaging to their audiences. By adapting to the changing digital landscape and investing in new data-gathering and advertising techniques, automotive dealerships can continue to effectively engage with customers and drive business growth.

2. Artificial Intelligence Drives Automotive Dealerships to Success

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changing marketing trend for automotive dealerships, fundamentally reshaping the way they do business. Today, forward-thinking dealerships are leveraging AI-driven solutions to optimize every aspect of their operations. One of the standout applications of AI in this context is the deployment of intelligent chatbots, which provide instant and round-the-clock customer support. These chatbots can answer inquiries, schedule test drives, and even guide potential buyers through the purchasing process, ensuring that customer engagement remains high and sales opportunities are maximized.

Moreover, AI-powered predictive analytics has become a linchpin in the marketing strategy of automotive dealerships. By analyzing vast volumes of data, AI systems can pinpoint potential buyers with precision, allowing dealerships to target their marketing efforts more effectively. This data-driven approach not only helps dealerships identify prospects but also offers insights into consumer preferences and trends, enabling more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. In essence, AI is driving automotive dealerships toward a more customer-centric and data-driven approach to marketing, allowing them to stay competitive in an ever-evolving industry. As these AI-powered tools continue to evolve and mature, we can expect the automotive dealership landscape to be increasingly characterized by their transformative impact.

3. Retargeted Social and Display Ads

Automotive dealerships can best utilize retargeting and display ads by focusing on targeting specific audiences with personalized and relevant content. This can be achieved by using data gathered from customer interactions with the dealership’s website and marketing channels to create custom audiences that are more likely to be interested in the dealership’s offerings

In retargeting, dealerships can target users who have previously interacted with the dealership’s website or shown interest in specific vehicles, with ads that showcase similar vehicles or special offers to incentivize them to return to the site and make a purchase.

With display ads, dealerships can use targeted messaging and visuals to capture the attention of potential customers as they browse the web. Display ads should be visually appealing and convey a clear and concise message that is relevant to the audience being targeted.

To make the most of retargeting and display ads, dealerships should also use advanced analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and optimize their strategies based on the data gathered. By constantly monitoring and tweaking their retargeting and display ad campaigns, automotive dealerships can effectively reach their target audiences and drive more sales and revenue.

4. Video Marketing Is Taking the Wheel

Increasingly, video is being used in automotive marketing to provide engaging and immersive experiences that capture the attention of potential customers. Dealerships are using video content for:

  • Vehicle showcases: Dealerships are creating high-quality videos that showcase the features and benefits of their vehicles, giving customers an immersive and engaging experience that allows them to see the vehicle from different angles and learn about its key features.
  • Test drives and reviews: Video content is being used to give customers an inside look at the driving experience of a particular vehicle, with test drive and review videos becoming increasingly popular.
  • Brand awareness: Dealerships are using video to build brand awareness and establish trust with their audiences, with video content that highlights the dealership’s values, history, and commitment to customer service.
  • Social media marketing: Video content is being used across various social media platforms to reach potential customers where they are and engage them with compelling messaging and visuals.
  • Email marketing: Dealerships are using video in email marketing campaigns to grab the attention of potential customers and provide them with a more immersive and engaging experience.

Overall, video is proving to be a powerful tool in automotive marketing, helping dealerships to stand out from the competition and effectively engage with their target audiences

5. Mobile Optimization Is a Must-Have for Auto Dealerships

Mobile website optimization is more important than ever before. With the increasing prevalence of mobile devices and the growing trend of mobile browsing, dealerships must ensure that their websites are optimized for mobile devices to provide the best possible user experience for potential customers. According to recent studies, more than 70% of internet traffic is now generated by mobile devices, making it crucial for dealerships to prioritize mobile optimization in order to reach and engage with their target audiences.

Additionally, mobile website optimization can have a significant impact on a dealership’s search engine rankings. With Google’s mobile-first indexing approach, websites that are optimized for mobile devices are given priority in search engine rankings, making it essential for dealerships to ensure their websites are mobile-friendly. In addition to improving search engine rankings, mobile optimization can also increase website traffic and reduce bounce rates, helping dealerships to drive more leads and ultimately increase sales. By investing in mobile website optimization, dealerships can improve their online presence and provide a seamless and engaging experience for potential customers, ultimately driving more business growth.

6. TikTok Is Driving Success for Automotive Dealerships

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms among younger generations, and automotive dealerships should take note of its importance in reaching a new audience. With its short-form video content and algorithm-based feed, TikTok provides dealerships with an opportunity to showcase their brand in a fun and creative way that resonates with a younger demographic.
By utilizing TikTok, dealerships can create engaging video content that highlights their vehicles, services, and dealership culture. TikTok’s algorithm also allows for content to be easily discovered by new audiences, providing an opportunity for dealerships to reach new customers beyond their existing network. Additionally, TikTok provides a platform for dealerships to showcase their expertise and provide educational content to their followers, building trust and credibility with potential customers.

7. Accelerating Spend on Digital Advertising

As more and more customers are shifting to online channels to research and purchase vehicles, automotive dealers are continuing to increase spend to capture attention of buyers in multiple stages of their buying process. With the rise of digital marketing, dealerships can target their advertising to specific audiences, track performance metrics, and optimize campaigns for better results. Additionally, with advancements in technology and data analytics, dealerships can gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing them to create more personalized and effective advertising campaigns.

Digital advertising also provides automotive dealers with the ability to reach customers at different stages of the buying cycle, from awareness and consideration to purchase and post-purchase. By targeting specific audiences with tailored messaging, dealerships can increase their chances of capturing potential customers and driving more sales. Moreover, digital advertising is often more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods, allowing dealerships to maximize their advertising budgets and increase their return on investment.

8. Are Voice Commands a Future Dominator of Search Terms?

Voice recognition technology is becoming increasingly important for automotive dealerships in order to provide a more seamless and convenient experience for customers. Voice recognition technology allows customers to interact with a dealership’s website or digital assistant without the need for typing or tapping, which can improve the overall user experience and make it easier for customers to find the information they need.

Voice recognition can also be integrated with virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing customers to search for vehicles or schedule service appointments hands-free. This can be especially helpful for customers who are driving or multitasking and need to interact with a dealership while on the go.

Voice commands are likely to have a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, as they fundamentally change the way people search for information online. Voice searches tend to be more conversational and longer than text-based searches, and often include question phrases such as “What are the best SUVs for families?” rather than shorter keywords like “SUVs”. This means that SEO strategies will need to adapt to optimize for these longer, more conversational search queries.

9. Google VLAs – An Essential Component

In March 2022, Google announced automated Google Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs). VLAs are a type of advertising format that allows automotive dealerships to promote their vehicle inventory to potential customers through Google search results. VLAs appear as a carousel of images at the top of search results pages, showcasing vehicles available for sale along with key details such as make, model, year, and price.

VLAs allow dealerships to target customers who are actively searching for vehicles, ensuring that their inventory is visible to potential buyers at the moment they are most likely to make a purchase. Additionally, VLAs can be customized with specific messaging, promotions, and calls-to-action to entice customers to click and learn more about the vehicles being advertised.

Working with an agency to set up and manage Google Vehicle Listing Ads can provide automotive dealerships with valuable expertise, insights, and support to improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and drive more leads and sales for their business.

10. The Rise of Digital Retailing 

No question, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards online car buying, and dealerships were forced to adapt quickly to meet the changing demands of their customers. As a result, digital retailing tools and strategies have become more sophisticated and integrated into the overall buying process.

Fast-forward to today, many dealerships are using digital retailing platforms that integrate with their inventory management systems and customer relationship management tools. This allows dealerships to provide a seamless and efficient buying experience for customers, while also improving dealership operations and data management.

Overall, digital retailing for automotive dealers has become more advanced and integrated over the last 12 months, providing a more personalized and convenient buying experience for customers while also improving dealership operations. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, digital retailing will continue to be a key tool for dealerships to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of their customers.

The challenges ahead are not small, but a strong digital partner can help. Pin-Up Marketing wants to see your dealership succeed and thrive in the changing digital marketing world!