Mobile devices are a big part of our lives, and smart dealerships are using them as audience targeting tools. Let’s talk about four ways that your business can use mobile marketing to be present on the phone in your customer’s purse or pocket. 


Display Ads  

When 53% of customers are using their phones to shop for their next car, using display ads to stay present is a pretty smart move.  But what exactly are these customers looking for? 

Most want to see interior and exterior shots of the vehicle and its features. Video content can be very valuable in this respect. A Google study found that 69% of car shoppers who incorporated YouTube in their customer journey were influenced by what they saw there. With video, customers favor test drive, walkthrough, and features and options content.   

Once you have your display ad content assembled, you’ll want to make sure that your mobile marketing strategy includes targeting and retargeting your customers’ devices. Why? You want your display ads to be a familiar presence on your customer’s smartphone as he or she works through the car buying process.  

A lot of dealers use VIN-specific advertising. This usually takes one of two forms. With VIN-specific campaigns, you target customers with information about specific vehicles on your lot. With VIN-specific paid search, you’ll match a vehicle on your lot to your customer’s criteria, then feed their device ads about vehicle mileage, price, features, and so on. At some point your customers will want to get off their phones and on the lot, and VIN-specific advertising creates a mobile marketing bridge to your dealership.  


Social Ads  

If you were to start peeking over people’s shoulders when they were on their phones, you’d find that an enormous number of folks are scrolling through social media sites. Facebook and Instagram are dominant overall, with other platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn speaking to somewhat narrower audiences. 

Social media can be very influential in the car buying process. 90% of car shoppers who use social media in the buying process claim that it helped shape their decision, and 38% say they’ll use social the next time they buy a car. Investing in the right social ad solution keeps you on your customers’ minds as they check their feeds. 



What is geofencing? According to, it’s the use of a global positioning (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) signals to define a geographic area. Once this area is established, whoever set up the geofence can send texts, alerts, and notifications to mobile devices as they enter and leave the defined area. There are several ways dealerships can use geofencing. 

You can target customers who are at your dealership. A well-timed ad can be useful if your customer saw a vehicle in your showroom that piqued his interest, and he turns to his mobile device to find out more about the make and model. You can also connect with customers in your service area who are not on the premises to shop for a car on that particular day, but could be nudged in that direction with the right incentive or financing option. 

You can choose a more aggressive form of mobile marketing and set up a geofence around a competitor’s dealership. This approach allows you to deliver a competing offer when the customer is in a pretty active engagement stage. If it’s a good offer, your customer might choose to check out your dealership across the street.  

You can also geofence around complementary auto businesses. You can target auto-oriented businesses like auto detailers, repair shops, window tinting services, parts stores, and so on – businesses that don’t necessarily sell cars but synch up with the process in other ways. If a car owner is facing down an expensive repair, she might welcome a special offer on a new vehicle. 

You can also target complementary businesses that have nothing to do with cars. If you own a luxury car dealership, you might want to geofence around the high-end retail space down the street. If you have a lot of pickup trucks in your inventory, then why not set up a temporary geofence around a rodeo or stock show?  


Voice Search

Did you know that 52% of smartphone users report using voice assistants on their mobile phone? This equals 41% of the U.S. population. It’s safe to conclude that voice search is a technology that most dealers won’t want to pass up. 

Voice search lends itself nicely to auto-selling process because every customer journey includes something called “micro moments.” Micro moments are individual moments during the customer journey where he or she turns to a resource like a smart phone to answer a question, discover a preference, or make a decision. A customer might have a hazy set of preferences as she plans her next car purchase; then she suddenly realizes that what she really needs to know is, “What full-sized SUVs have the best gas mileage in the city?” To her, the question suddenly seems urgent, the key to the puzzle, so she uses the voice assistant on her phone. Wouldn’t you like to be the dealership who gave her the best answer? 

Succeeding here has a lot to do with SEO. You’ll want to focus on integrating valuable longtail keywords like “how long does it take to charge an electric car” into your content. Getting to the bottom of user intent is important – a street-racing aficionado and a fifth-grade science student might have different motives when asking a device “how fast does a mustang go.” You’ll also want to pay attention to natural speech, the way that people talk versus how they write.  

If there is a master key to being effective with voice search, it is asking yourself if your content answers who, what, when, where, and why. Who is making the voice inquiry? What are they trying to find? You get the idea. 


Don’t Just Phone It In

The good news is that you don’t need to get a city map and plot every geofence on your own. LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE has the end-to-end automotive marketing solutions, local market insights, and mobile marketing technology to connect with customers where it counts – on their mobile devices. 


Related Content