304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

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Weekend: 10AM - 5PM

Section 3: Alternatives to Online Marketplace Advertising

Facebook & Instagram Ads

Facebook and Instagram offer Automotive Inventory Ads designed to target in-market shoppers at various stages of the marketing funnel. These platforms enable dealerships to:

  • Enhance brand awareness and generate buzz around sales promotions and events.
  • Generate leads with lead form ads.
  • Advertise current inventory, driving potential buyers to Vehicle Description Pages (VDPs).
  • Implement VIN specific retargeting ads.
  • Utilize first-party data from Dealer Management Systems for targeted audience building.

Google Ads

Google Ads, particularly Dynamic Search Ads, are increasingly effective for dealerships. These ads automatically promote in-stock vehicles, targeting shoppers in the consideration and purchase phases. Dealers provide a list of vehicle description pages to Google, which then creates ads linking to these pages. Additionally, dealers can retarget shoppers across the Google Display Network.

Classified Advertising Websites

Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp are effective for selling used inventory. These sites can be optimized with custom logo overlays for branding, clear tracking numbers for measuring calls, SMS-enabled ads, and trackable shortlinks to VDPs. Such platforms are useful for targeting prospects in the middle and bottom of the marketing funnel.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool for staying top-of-mind with leads from other ad platforms and winning new customers. Dealerships can target in-market customers with direct emails advertising current inventory and specials. It also supports loyalty campaigns, encouraging customers to “trade-in and trade-up” or maintain their vehicles.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Online Advertising

PPC is a growing strategy in the automotive industry, where dealerships pay search engines to display ads linked to specific keywords. These ads can be text, image, or video-based. Dealerships should carefully research keywords to target the right customers and exclude irrelevant searches. “Programmatic display” is another component, allowing hyper-targeted ads based on users’ current online activities.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves optimizing website content to improve visibility in search engine results. A well-designed website with helpful content for car buyers is crucial. This approach includes responding to voice searches and ensuring the website provides detailed information necessary for an online vehicle purchase.


Blogging about car-related topics can improve a dealership’s search engine ranking. Blogs provide consumers with general knowledge about cars and buying processes, helping dealerships to appear as trustworthy information sources.

Local SEO

Optimizing for local SEO ensures that dealerships appear in search results for local queries. This is particularly important as mobile searches for local results are increasing. Local SEO involves setting up profiles on platforms like Google My Business and including geographic information on the dealership’s website.

Social Media

Social media platforms are essential in digital marketing strategies. They enable dealerships to engage with potential customers, post regular updates about the dealership and vehicles, and purchase targeted ads. Metrics on these platforms provide insights into ad performance and ROI.

Online Videos

Creating online videos about dealership experiences, car features, and customer testimonials can significantly influence potential buyers. These videos attract more clicks, deepen website engagement, and enhance search engine visibility. Uploading transcripts with videos can further improve their search engine ranking.

SMS Texts

Sending text messages to opt-in customers is an efficient way to reach consumers, driving immediate website traffic. As mobile usage increases, SMS marketing becomes an increasingly relevant communication channel.

Online Directories

Listing the dealership in online directories, both national and local, can improve visibility. Ensuring complete profiles with links to the dealership’s website and social media accounts is crucial.

Online Reviews

Online reviews significantly impact where customers choose to buy vehicles. Dealerships should encourage reviews on their website and other platforms like Google and Yelp. Monitoring and responding to these reviews is part of effective online reputation management.

Third-Party Websites

Listing inventory on third-party websites like,,, and is still important. These sites are often the first places consumers visit when searching for a vehicle.


  1. AutoSweet: Facebook & Instagram Ads
  2. AutoSweet: Google Ads
  3. AutoSweet: Classified Advertising Websites
  4. AutoSweet: Email Marketing
  5. AutoFi: Pay-Per-Click Online Advertising
  6. AutoFi: SEO & Website Design
  7. AutoFi: Blogging
  8. AutoFi: Local SEO
  9. AutoFi: Social Media
  10. AutoFi: Online Videos
  11. AutoFi: SMS Texts
  12. AutoFi: Online Directories
  13. AutoFi: Online Reviews
  14. AutoFi: Third-Party Websites