Car Dealers Will Invest More in Digital Ads in 2024

Automotive digital ad spend increased by 11.7% in 2023. Experts predict this figure will continue to rise in the future. (source: eMarketer)

The increased investment into digital makes sense. 76% of new and used vehicle shoppers run a search before buying.

Automotive consumers overwhelmingly turn to search engines to find dealerships and get answers to their questions. (source: LSA)

U.S. Car Dealers’ Ad Spend

According to data collected and released by Statista in 2023 (most recent data), car dealerships in the United States spent in total 8.57 billion U.S. dollars in advertising the previous year.

The amount slightly increased compared to the year prior. However, ad expenditures remained below the level recorded pre-pandemic.

A Breakdown of Car Dealer Ad Spend, by Medium

Digital advertising accounted for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. car dealerships’ media budget in 2022. That year, car dealers’ advertising spending amounted to a total of around 8.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Automotive advertising spending in the U.S. was forecast to increase 7.7 percent in 2023 to reach some 20.8 billion dollars. One year earlier, the industry was among the country’s top five leading categories in measured media spend.

Advertising Media with the Highest Return-on-Investment

Eight out of 10 U.S. car dealerships in a survey by Statista stated they invested a share of their ad budget in online video advertising. Social media and search followed as the most popular digital formats.

Regarding return-on-investment (ROI), audio streaming took the lead. Nearly 80 percent of respondents deemed platforms like Spotify and Pandora worth the ad dollars invested.

Streaming TV and online video followed, both mentioned by 70 percent of respondents.



of recent grads on Spotify expect to purchase a vehicle in the next 6 months

Source: GlobalWebIndex, Spotify Free Users A18-25, Graduated College or Trade School, Market = US Q421, Q122, Q222, Q322


of first-time buyers on Spotify are under the age of 35

Source: GlobalWebIndex, Spotify Free Users, Market = US Q4 21, Q1 22, Q2 22, Q3 22

What This Means for the Independent Dealer

While the studies included here include large new car dealers and auto manufacturers, in addition to independent auto dealerships, you may be thinking that digital streaming on platforms like Spotify, Pandora or iHeartRadio is just something for big national brands.

But you don’t have to have a huge marketing budget to advertise on audio streaming apps. In fact, most offer hyper-localized ad targeting where you can get started with a very minimal investment, and then scale up as you see success.

And while the automotive industry continues to invest in online marketing, there’s a huge opportunity to put advertising dollars into audio streaming – the platform that your peers have recently found the highest return on investment.

Leverage Your Floorplan to Free Up Advertising Dollars

Leverage Your Floorplan to Free Up Advertising Dollars

Maintain your cash-flow (for things like marketing) without the excessive and unexpected fees by leveraging a Kinetic Advantage Floorplan.

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