A Breakdown of Marketing Channels for Car Dealerships


As a car dealership, you have seemingly limitless options where to advertise your inventory online. Where you advertise will depend on many factors including advertising budget, location, and more. Different dealers have successes and failures with different marketing solutions and there is no one size fits all answer as to where to advertise. The best way to figure it out for your dealership is trial and error, just be sure to have a way to track your leads and really dig into what is working.



AutoTrader is probably the biggest and most well-known nationwide vehicle classified site. They claim to have 11 million users searching for vehicles on their site monthly. That is no small number. They have a large advertising budget so they do a good job of keeping your cars in customers faces. Accordingly, they tend to be the most expensive site to advertise on by a decent margin. AutoTrader ads can allow for a lot of information and pictures, depending on the package you purchase from them. With MotorLot, AutoTrader standard listings are free.



Cars.com tends to be a very affordable solution for dealers. They claim to be getting 27.3 million visits per month. While this number sounds drastically larger than AutoTrader, remember that this is actually a very different statistic than what AutoTrader publishes and is not comparable. Cars.com is growing in userbase and brand recognition. This is probably thanks to their large advertising budget, included in which is a yearly SuperBowl ad.



Craigslist publishes no stats on their user base, but it can be easily assumed it’s very large. We’ve talked at length about the value in Craigslist here. Craigslist ends up costing $5 per vehicle per week. Craigslist is a well known name across the US and tends to be an extremely effective place to advertise.



CarGurus is a newcomer to vehicle marketing but they are already building a large user base. Car Gurus has some nice features for customers, most notably they help customers compare pricing on vehicles to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. CarGurus is unique in that their free package for dealers is actually pretty inclusive. They also sell some upgrades (featured ads, etc.).



CarsForSale is a name that nearly every car dealer recognizes, but very few car shoppers do. CarsForSale is popular among dealers mostly based on price. $100/month for a dealer website and advertising on their own classified site. CarsForSale claims 6 million users per month and 10.82 site searches every second. It’s worth noting, too, that CarsForSale has stepped up their advertising budget in the past year and are even sponsoring a NASCAR.



Vast’s main claim to fame is that they push to countless other classifieds. Vast has a great classified site in and of itself, but it is not a household name. They push ads to AOL Autos, Car and Driver, everycarlisted.com, and countless others. Best of all, Vast is free.



Oodle is a free classified that has local sites for markets around the US. Oodle claims 15 million unique users each month. Their interface is not the cleanest or most simple, but it is hard to beat the price of free.
These are just a few of the countless options out there for your dealership. Dealers should always cash in on the free classifieds, and experiment on which combinations of paid ads work the best for your dealership. To make managing your classifieds easy on you, check out MotorLot, we can manage all of your classifieds, and give you a website and desking software all included at our base package! We automatically post to Vast, Oodle, CarGurus and even give you free ads for AutoTrader.

August 25, 2014 - Written by

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