Stop Losing Business: The Case Against Carousel Ads & Your Alternative

by | May 30, 2023

As an independent dealer, you want to steadily grow your business. To do that, you need to be the dealership that customers choose to come to first. The problem is using the same type of cookie-cutter strategy as every other dealership isn’t helping you stand out. Inventory carousel ads, which are ads that show images of your inventory and vehicle prices in a slideshow, may seem like a great solution but there’s a few glaring problems with that particular strategy.

The Problems with these Inventory Ads:

Blending in

Inventory carousel ads, commonly known as automotive Inventory Ads, have become increasingly popular among dealership digital advertisers. In fact, Facebook/Meta has reported that a whopping 89% of the digital ad budget of dealerships goes towards these automated and state inventory ads. While these ads may seem to be a time and cost-effective way to showcase inventory, you’re going to be competing with every dealer in the market, especially franchise stores.

Imprecise Audience Targeting

Another issue is the quality of your targeting. The platforms on which these ads run, such as Facebook, optimize the ads to reach people who click on ads frequently, which could mean that the people you want to target with your ads may not actually be interested in buying your car. Additionally, as a dealership, many platforms limit the targeting to everyone over 18 within a minimum of a 15 mile radius of your store. That’s going to be expensive to make a dent.

Diminishing Your Brand

Advertisements that merely showcase your inventory and prices tend to convey that your dealership’s only value is its selection and pricing. Unless you’re confident that you continually have unique inventory and great prices, these type of advertisements will quickly begin to backfire.

The Fix

To tackle the problem, it’s crucial to collaborate with your marketing team and advertisers to construct a simple but distinctive strategy that caters to your dealership’s needs and sets you apart from your competitors.

Standing out

One such effective strategy to consider is using video ads to introduce your dealership to people who may not have heard of you before. Research shows that in-stream video ads have a completion rate of almost 70%. What’s more, video ads can be shown in social media newsfeeds, stories, and other digital forums where your customers are likely to spend most of their time.

Precise Audience Targeting and Prescriptive Messaging

With the availability of data service providers like TransUnion, you can target a specific audience for your dealership using unique customer data. For instance, if you excel at qualifying customers with less than perfect credit, you could target this specific audience through data analysis and show them a video highlighting how your dealership can get customers with low credit scores qualified, with an affordable down payment and reasonable monthly payments.

By using these tailored and unique strategies, you can set your dealership apart from the abundance of automated, mass-generated inventory ads while still reaching the right people with your messaging.

After watching your video a couple of times, potential customers will know about your dealership and be interested in learning more. This is where your paid ads can start to work their magic. Your ads can mirror Facebook Marketplace, making it easy for customers to tap to call, fill out a credit application, or visit your website.

Once a potential customer is on your advertising pixel(s) will identify them so you can retarget them with your comprehensive paid ad strategy. This means you can target people who started filling out a lead form of credit application but didn’t complete it.

Assuming everything goes as planned and a customer eventually ends up buying a car from your dealership, you can take advantage of the opportunity to target them with ads for up to 180 days after the purchase is made. These ads, rather than trying to sell them another vehicle, can serve as a simple yet effective way of saying ”thank you” by expressing your appreciation for their business while also requesting referrals from their network or anyone they know who might be interested in purchasing a car. By doing this, you can effortlessly expand your reach and attract new potential customers who were referred by someone they know and trust, all while nurturing the relationship with your existing customers.

By implementing targeted strategies, such as the one mentioned above, you can effectively increase new sales conversions in comparison to a more traditional approach of just saturating a particular area with inventory. The strategic approach permits you to be more precise with the message you want to convey while catering to the correct audience. This, in turn, optimizes the utilization of your advertising dollars and ultimately promotes business growth.

To wrap up, while inventory carousel ads may seem like a viable option, they can eventually turn out to be a futile investment. An ideal approach would be to collaborate with your advertiser to create a distinctive strategy that hones in on the right audience and emphasizes your dealership’s strength, guaranteeing that your ads are more impactful and exceptional in comparison to your competitors.

About Dealer OMG

Dealer OMG is an automotive digital marketing firm focused on helping dealers measurably grow sales, service, and trades. Founded by former Facebook employees and automotive executives, Dealer OMG pioneered the VINAmp platform to refine target audiences, making ads more relevant to shoppers. Through white-glove dealer-specific creative and VINAmp platform, Dealer OMG’s dealership clients are able to be the dealership continually in the shopper’s feeds.

For more information, you can contact our Chief Operating Officer, Keith Turner at