How to Convince Dealerships Not to Drive Off with their OOH Marketing Dollars

Joshua Lawton Market Leave a Comment

Let’s just put it out there, the vast majority of vehicle shoppers would prefer to buy their next automobile online. From cars to trucks, shoppers would love to be able to customize their options and hit a buy now button. But there’s one catch. While shoppers want to be able to buy their next vehicle online, a majority of shoppers wouldn’t buy their next automobile without test driving the model. In fact, shoppers love the test drive experience. What they hate is the buying experience. Who can blame them? There’re only so many free waters that a dealership can give you while your new car is being detailed while you wait.

Even with online searches and social media, shoppers are still more likely to directly search for dealerships of which they are aware. Adding to this need by dealership to be top of mind for shoppers is the fact that 61% of new car buyers’ first contact with a dealer is still done by walking into the dealership.

This means that with less and less Americans watching local commercial television and with more sophisticated ad blocking done by consumers online, dealerships need to get their name and brand out in front of consumers in order to drive them to their lots. While, digital marketing is an important part of the marketing mix for dealers, when only 22% of shoppers use social media to search for their next vehicle, and out of those 13% state that the information on social media influenced their purchase decision, it is hard to see a significant return on investment on a heavily weighted digital marketing strategy. In fact, if creating online traffic is the first step to get a shopper to come to the dealership, Nielsen has shown that out of home advertising is the most effective means of creating online activity across all mediums. If you think your Facebook ad does a better job of getting people to your site, the data says otherwise. Suddenly, U.S. dealerships spending $1.3B on digital campaigns does not seem like the wisest use of money.

But, for all of us in the Out of Home market, don’t fret. As late as 2015, dealerships were still spending over $2B on newspaper ads! So, why aren’t dealerships spending as much on Out of Home media as they should be? Simply put, it’s the age-old story of a lack of data.

It’s easy for them to see the conversions on their websites from their digital marketing. It’s hard for marketers and agencies schooled these days in the data science approach to marketing versus the Mad Men creative school of marketing to get past doing out of home advertising for any other reason than the reason why politicians do robo-calling when they know everybody hangs up the moment they realize it’s a robo-call: everybody else is doing it. Yet, this is not a strategy for success and knowing what we know about cost per impressions and driving online activity, it is hard to understand how marketers can defend this marketing spend mix.

Beyond using our product at Abraxas Technology which provides the accurate number of impressions to include their duration and frequency combined with being able to know if one of those people who passed a billboard came into a dealership, there are several other points that you as an OOH owner can use to sway dealers:

  • Adding OOH to other media can increase reach by 300%.

  • During a Clear Channel experiment to combine print and digital billboards, “participating dealers saw a 4% lift in visits to dealerships among consumers exposed to the OOH campaign versus a control group in the same DMA, who were unexposed.”
  • Combining Out of Home marketing with online data has shown a 12% increase in vehicle purchases.
  • OOH media lowers the total cost of an advertising campaign.
  • OOH media has the greatest effect on the percent of vehicles sold if a marketing campaign has a small budget.

At the end of the day, the way to convince marketers and dealerships who rely on data, is to present them with data. Beyond using Abraxas Technology’s product, these facts above combined with the sources below should help you.


If you’re interested in how Abraxas Technology can help you increase dealerships’ marketing spends with you, don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail at

Joshua Lawton is the COO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology

Follow us on Twitter @Abraxas_Tech


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