More Car Dealer Ads on YouTube?’s Jon Torrey expects a greater number of auto retailers will become digital advertisers. To date, not many of them are.

December 5, 2019

2 Min Read
smiling woman on smart phone
YouTube users tend to skew young. “However, I wouldn’t overindex that,” Torrey says.Getty Images

More car dealerships may join the ranks of YouTube advertisers, providers of snippet spots that come before, (sometimes) during and after user video views on the popular social-media platform.

Jon Torrey of expects a greater number of dealers will become such digital advertisers. To date, not many of them are.

The non-participants are missing a relatively inexpensive way to get their name and product out, says Torrey, production manager-video for, a provider of digital services to car dealers.   

Jon Torrey.jpg

Jon Torrey

He touts a product that combines templates and dealer-specific information to create marketing blurbs to mainly run on You Tube, but also on  FaceBook feeds. (Jon Torrey, left)

The three-tier video-building product, called Video Advertising Plus Creative, includes a basic automated version and two others offering greater customization, videography and voiceovers (and are priced accordingly).

Torrey sees the base model as an inexpensive way for dealers to try marketing on YouTube for the first time. “Digital video historically has been an underpriced ad channel, sometimes costing only three or four cents a click.”

He notes heretofore many dealers haven’t availed themselves of it, largely because they lack production teams to create the spots.

The base ads aren’t elaborate. Accompanied by energetic music, they consist of slides sequentially showing the following:

  • The dealership name framed in a color scheme.

  • Three “tagline” slides that briefly describe dealership attributes. Dealer clients pick which ones. A Volvo dealer's ad touts free CarFax vehicle histories and title searches, a powertrain warranty and a 5-day/500-mile (800-km) return/exchange policy.

  • A photo of a featured vehicle in inventory and text on deals or incentives that come with it. The Volvo ad mentions a $489/month lease on a ’20 XC90 full-size CUV.

The base ads lack voiceovers. “Some people questioned that,” Torrey says. “But the music is just as strong, and a voiceover wouldn’t be scalable” considering the low production cost.

He says he’s spoken with hundreds of dealers. Some are interested in diversifying their current marketing strategy with model-focused video campaigns. Others aren’t so sure.

“Some dealers who advertise on TV aren’t willing to give that up and go to video,” he says, while adding it’s not a choose-one case. “Some dealers just aren’t aware they can compete with video. It’s largely been unexecuted because dealers haven’t had access to creative assets. This is the solution to that.”

Many dealers on their websites include vehicle-walkaround videos of inventory. Those are different from the video ads Torrey speaks of.    

Recognizing the latter’s underutilization, formally launched and began promoting its video-ad-builder product in November.

YouTube users tend to skew young. “However, I wouldn’t overindex that,” Torrey says.

He recalls a Cadillac dealer who balked at YouTube advertising, feeling it wouldn’t appeal to the store’s older clientele. “But don’t underestimate how much older people watch YouTube,” he says.

Ideally, the dealer ads would reach consumers who are in the market for a vehicle, he says. Second best: Reaching people who aren’t in the market but ultimately will be.       

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