the tug-of-war between digital & traditional automotive ads

Alison Hrevnack
March 10, 2021

Do you spend most of your time on the computer or scrolling through your phone? Well you’re not alone.

Did you know that the average person spends a whopping 6-7 hours online every day? And roughly half of that time is spent on mobile devices? With numbers like that, automotive dealerships have to adjust their marketing accordingly to increase sales. There’s no way around it - online is essential and must be added to all media mixes.

Ad spend as a whole is up, with the largest increases in online advertising. Despite the uncertainty that last year brought, digital ad spending still totalled around $332 billion. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, those numbers are expected to rise even more. So, what exactly does digital advertising offer dealerships? And what does traditional advertising provide that digital does not? Which form of advertising should your dealership focus on?

Traditional Results

Traditional automotive advertising is still an effective way to reach a broad audience. In fact, studies have shown that television ads are more memorable than online ads. Research also suggests that television performs better than other forms of advertising in areas such as new sales, making it the preferred method to gain clients.

But let's not forget about print.

Print advertising is a trusted way to reach consumers as well as build trust between your dealership and its audience. The proof is in the stats:

  • About 77% of Americans check their mail immediately.
  • 80% of people open and read the mail.
  • 33% of consumers would not place their trust in a business that didn’t offer printed forms of communication.

Traditional advertising is a tried-and-true tactic for leaving a longer impression, establishing credibility for your dealership, and reaching a more diverse audience.


Digital Dominates

Online ads, particularly social ads, are one of the most popular & effective ways to reach your target audience. Effective automotive online advertising requires proficiency in social media, banner ads, videos, and more to reach targeted demographics. The statistics on digital advertising speak for themselves:

  • 84% of people expect brands to create digital content.
  • 88% of customers research vehicle options on the Internet.
  • 22% of car-buyers used social media as a source in shopping for a new vehicle.
  • 13% of car-buyers said that social media influenced their decision.
  • More than half of automotive shoppers (about 53%) research options on mobile devices compared to other devices.
  • 54% of people say they would like the option to purchase or sell a vehicle from the comfort of their homes.

What does this mean for your dealership? Considering the rapidly increasing popularity of Internet usage, online advertising - and overall optimization of digital - is imperative to the success of your marketing plan. With online research being such a prominent part of the car-buying process, your website must be mobile-compatible, online buying has to be an option, and social media is mandatory.


The Perfect Mix

Having a mix of traditional and online advertising is best to reach as many potential customers as possible. Traditional advertising is a generalized method for gaining customers by building credibility & reaching consumers who aren’t necessarily your target audience. Meanwhile, digital advertising reaches your targeted demographics through devices that are being used 6-7 hours every day.

As the tri-state leader in automotive advertising, the Giovatto Agency will create a customized marketing strategy based on your dealership’s goals and develop the media mix you need to reach your target audience and more. Ready to get started? Contact Giovatto today for a free consultation.



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