Automotive Advertising: Fuel Your Campaign Results

Handing the Keys to Engagement

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Automotive Advertising

Compared to social, native ads in premium environments are:

+21% more clicked on

How is the industry evolving?

Buying a car is one of the most expensive purchase decisions that consumers will make in their lifetime. For that reason, it’s no surprise that 76% of car buyers take time to understand their options. For brands, it’s about being involved in the customer journey in order to be top-of-mind. Today, that journey continues to move from in-person experiences to one that starts – and even ends – online. Knowing this, automotive brands are using online channels to engage shoppers at new and relevant touchpoints – from research and finding the right vehicle, to finding local dealers and testing a dream car from the driver’s seat.

Source: CDK Global, Friction Points Study, 2023

How has spending on advertising changed over time?

Not only is the automotive industry expected to be one of the highest growth sectors this year, but also among the top invested in digital. Advertising on the open web is an effective channel for auto brands to reach a wider audience and make an impact across various digital touchpoints. Moreover, native advertising is among the main beneficiaries for brands in today’s open web environment, with native ad spend projected to grow 12.5% year-on-year in 2023. Its rise creates an opportunity for brands to create end-to-end, engaging experiences throughout the buyer journey on the open web, as more consumers switch off social media and return to editorial and content-based recommendations.

Source: Insider Intelligence, eMarketer, 2022

of car buyers research online before they buy, and visit an average of 4.2 websites in the process

Source: Google/Kantar TNS, The Drive to Decide Survey

pieces of content is the average that a consumer needs prior to making a purchase

Source: Forrester

of people prefer video over written text, and find it more engaging

Source: Vimeo

How to get started with automotive advertising

Automotive brands generally require several consumer interactions prior to a purchase decision, making each digital touchpoint crucial.


How to increase awareness

Identify high-intent car audiences who are ready to discover and learn about your brand. The best ads for this stage introduce your brand without a specific model or strong CTA to a landing page. Content is impactful and aspirational, evoking the current state of your brand. Measure brand lift to quantify positive shifts from your campaign, such as awareness, ad recall, and purchase intent.

Key KPIs:

Brand lift, CTR, Viewability

Case Studies

How to engage your audience

Build on your brand story to develop more engagement touchpoints with your audience; for example, ads showing car models within the brand that meet the customer's needs and directs to site to learn more. Measure campaign success through site visits and on-site interactions, as you look to push customers further along their decision process.

Key KPIs:

Landing rate, Time spent, New visitors, Repeat visits, Car configurator

Case Studies

How to convert

Direct those points of engagement toward a specific action, with performance ads leading to specific deals on chosen models for online conversion or booking a meeting.

Key KPIs:

Brochure download, Test drive booking, Dealership locator

Case Studies

Car Ads Best Practices

Learn from successful automotive campaigns running on the Outbrain platform to reach your goals.

Watch engagement take off with numerals

Promote a listicle, mention an offer, call out a ranking, or even the year of the car model

Test drive a question format

Rephrase your top-performing headlines into questions to encourage your readers to engage

Fuel post-click engagement with landing page callouts

Hint at the action you're looking for the user to perform post-click within your headline

Drive attention using close-up images

Swap out medium or wide shots of the entire car body for a tight body shot of the car grill, wheel, headlight, or rear-view mirror

Merge auto content with other interests

Amplify content that may be appealing to an audience wider than mere car-lovers

Diversifying media mix

One, two, or even three channels is often not enough for a robust marketing campaign. While the content of your ad is important, where you advertise says just as much about your brand among consumers.

Compared to social, native ads in premium environments are:

44 more trusted on
21 more clicked on
24 more likely to lead to purchase

It's simple for marketers to adapt their existing assets with native ads on the open web, safeguard their brand, and maximize ROAS in the process.

Exceed Your Goals With Outbrain

Brands big & small choose Outbrain as part of their core media mix

Success stories // Care by Volvo

1.8M site visits in 6 months


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+33% brand message recall

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Success stories // Honda

-32% CPC vs. Social


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