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Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

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GM Please Take Your Hands Off My VDP

Let me open this article by saying that automotive advertising platforms like,, and the Automotive Advertising Network (AAN) provide marketing opportunities that should be considered in a comprehensive dealership marketing strategy. In fact all three companies were awarded Dealer Satisfaction Awards this year by in the Used Car Advertising category.

Car dealers need to evaluate existing and new methodologies to connect consumers with the cars that they have for sale. The Internet has become more expensive to attract clicks than ever before as more dealers participate in Google Adwords and similar online marketing services.

When I look at local competition in the search engines for a car dealer, one consistent competitor appears. Dealers are under attack by their own OEM automotive advertising campaigns.

This can come from national advertising campaigns or Tier 2 regional advertising campaigns, and I have some examples to share below.

Vehicle Detail Pages With OEM Ads


Let me give you an example of what gets my blood boiling.

A dealer makes an investment to list their cars on automotive advertising websites for many reasons. One reason is that consumers, outside of their normal area of responsibility or PMA, may connect with a car that they have in stock. The key point here is that for out of area shoppers, their zip code would normally be a part of another dealer's PMA.

If you look at this example below, a Tier 2 Banner ad runs on the top and right side of this dealer's Vehicle Detail Page (VDP). The other areas are also advertising leaks, but not associated with a GM advertising campaign.

That's another topic called Dealer Centricity Scores that you should engage.

When you click on the top Silverado HD Banner or the right side Silverado banner, you are taken off-page to a Tier 2 Chevy website design for lead collection. If a consumer engages with this Tier 2 website, and completes a lead form, the lead most likely will not be sent to the dealer listed on this page, rather it will go to the dealer covering their zip code.

Does anyone have a problem with this model? VDP

So the OEM endorsed advertising campaign or Tier 2 created advertising campaign, is working against this one dealer for any consumer outside of his market. It seems to me that this is just counter productive and is using the dealers inventory against him.

If a dealer is paying to list this car, on this site, why would he want an interactive Ajax banner ad running, that catches the consumer's attention, to drive them to another Chevy website?

Could you say that this dealer's advertising investment is funneling leads to his local competitors?

This is not limited to as you can see from this VDP. Once again, a national OEM sponsored banner campaign is taking prime real estate to drive consumers to the national Cadillac website.

Anytime a consumer gets to a national site, the dealer can not be assured that the lead will be routed to their CRM system. It's all based on zip code or consumer choice but the action was based on this dealer's advertising investment.

AUtotrader VDP with OEM Advertising

Inspect Automotive Advertising Investments


I'm not sure if any other dealers agree with me that this a topic that should be discussed at OEM Marketing meetings. A bigger issue to remind car dealers is to inspect their automotive advertising investments. When you take the time to inspect how your brand is being marketed online, many light bulbs start to go off.

Larry Bruce
There are as many as 8 ads in the SRP for Autotrader and 5 in and equally as many in the VDP for each. I covered this in a conversion analysis of Cars, AutoTrader and Ebay back in Sept. But this is not an OEM problem they have the oppertunity to buy the space and they are doing it. The fact is that Cars and AutoTrader shouldn't be selling the space period. They have no business model without the dealers inventory so they are there for the dealer not the OEM. "A listing site of OEM ads would certainly not get the traffic they get today." Dealers need to come together and pressure Cars and Trader to stop this practice or do something else if they won't stop. As far as I am concerned when I paid to list my invetory on AutoTrader I bought that VDP, it's my property and ads have no business there. If you look at he analysis I did Ebay motors is the only listing service with NO ads in the VDP and only ONE ad in the SRP so its no wonder my store sells far more from Ebay and we make more gross doing it.
Brian Pasch
"As far as I am concerned when I paid to list my inventory on AutoTrader I bought that VDP, it's my property and ads have no business there. " Larry, many people feel the same way as you and thank you for the link to that article. The more this is brought up to dealers, the more they will be reminded to speak up. does not run any OEM Ads on their VDEP, as seen here: Also, the AAN has no ads on the VDP's as shown here: So there are some options for dealers who want less brand leaks on their Vehicle Detail Pages.
Jeff Collins
HMMM...This makes me sick to my stomach. A/T recently started offering "Tower Ads" They seem to be rotating with Tier 2 Ads.
Jeff Simonton
I can't blame my OEM for advertising on my VDPs. It's the same extortion plan they use with dealers. If my OEM isn't advertising there, another OEM will. I'd love to find a way to list inventory in a place that consumers use without the distractions of AutoTrader and Cars. EveryCarListed does show competing dealers vehicles and show similar vehicles at other local dealers on their standard VDPs.
Luke Stoker
Cars was on a push a few months ago pushing for dealers to buy up their competitions (same brand) tower ads. Their hook was buy your own and your competitions to keep all your traffic eyes on your inventory. Seems like the big guys are getting too big! O and keep an eye out, March will bring the anual price hike for the big two as well!

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