written by
Landon Bennett

Automotive Co-Op Advertising: Improving performance and efficiencies

Co-op advertising 6 min read

If you run an automotive dealership, then chances are you use co-op advertising regularly to bolster sales numbers in your area.

However, not all companies offer the same value, and some have strict rules regarding when and how your business can be mentioned on their digital platforms.

Automotive co-op advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise your business' products and services. Many companies offer substantial co-op advertising rebates or reimbursements to car dealerships that agree to advertise their brand in an agreed-upon manner.

When it comes to increasing your bottom line, automotive co-op advertising might be the best way to do it, but there are several ways that you can make this type of marketing work for you even better than it does today – especially when paired with a company that specializes in automaker co-op programs.

This article will explore how to improve automotive co-op advertising using the ultimate goal of boosting sales via their digital channels while reducing the time spent to get your reimbursements. Let's get started!

What Is An Advertising Co-op?

An advertising co-op is an arrangement between a dealer and a manufacturer that allows dealerships to buy advertising at a discount. A manufacturer will periodically give its dealers a predetermined amount of money to purchase advertising.

The more they spend, the greater their discount. Advantages of co-ops include increased exposure for all participating vehicles and increased sales from any additional traffic generated by purchasing ad space in multiple locations simultaneously instead of just one location.

Disadvantages include competition from other local dealerships for those locations and increases or decreases in your market area's demographic or economic landscape that may impact your sales regardless of your marketing efforts.

How Does Automotive Co-op Advertising Work?

Automotive co-op advertising is when manufacturers pay auto dealerships a commission on sales of their vehicles. Usually, these commissions are paid by manufacturers in two ways: A percentage of profit made on each sale and/or a one-time, flat payment after meeting specific selling standards.

These payments can vary greatly, depending on how well dealerships meet sales quotas. Why Would Manufacturers Use Automotive Co-op Advertising? In general, automotive co-op advertising makes sense for carmakers who want to increase brand awareness without spending as much money on marketing or dealer incentives.

These programs give consumers access to cars they might not otherwise be able to afford, especially if they're planning to buy a used vehicle or shop at an independent dealership that doesn't have big incentive packages.

How Do OEM’s Boost Automotive Co-op Advertising?

Automotive co-op advertising is a powerful method of reaching customers and boosting sales. Effective automotive co-op advertising is leveraging OEM relationships with strong manufacturer brands.

Automotive manufacturers have long used co-op marketing campaigns to help promote their products, especially through channels such as television. The best OEM co-op advertising will work closely with dealerships to create informative and engaging ads that can reach an audience that matches their target demographics—such as young adults who are just beginning their careers or families looking for a new vehicle purchase.

Automotive co-op advertising can be incredibly effective when done right, but dealerships need to ensure they maintain a high level of engagement throughout any campaign by using targeted messaging.

Tips On How To Improve Automotive Co-op Advertising

The automotive industry is currently facing a great deal of uncertainty regarding sales figures and their standing as a viable source of transportation. This is why automotive manufacturers need to consider co-op advertising as an affordable and effective way to increase brand awareness and establish their products as market leaders.

If you are looking for ways that your company can improve its co-op advertising efforts, keep reading for our top tips on how you can make your campaign work harder for you.

Run Digital Ads and Automate Screenshots

One of today's most effective and cost-efficient marketing tactics is digital ads especially on platforms most people spend their time. Think Facebook or Google.

Since we're glued to our devices all day, if a brand can get in front of us through a smart social media campaign or great sponsored post, they have a much greater chance of being seen by a buyer and getting them in their store. Facebook Ad Manager and Google Ad Manager offer granular targeting so that a car dealership can target people that are searching for cars in their local market. It’s also the easiest channel to track a campaigns effectiveness and performance.

Most OEM’s offer 50-100% reimbursement of co-op ad spend for Facebook and Google. Free advertising is a no-brainer. While the workload to handle the reimbursement process is heavy, there are tools and processes out there to make this easier. At Ad Reform, we take the co-op advertising screenshots off your plate on Facebook, Google Search, and the public web.

Automotive OEM co-op advertising screenshots and pre-approvals

Have A Retail-Oriented Tier 2 Website

A retail-oriented tier 2 website can help dealers grow their local market share by providing product information and competitive pricing to local consumers. Tier 2 websites are often not found in dealership or manufacturer platforms and act as a separate revenue source for dealers who want exposure in their area.

This is one aspect of automotive co-op advertising that many dealers don't use as effectively as they could but should. If your dealer uses tiered advertising effectively, it can be a major source of leads, revenue, and even profit.

Adjust Or Improve Your Media Mix

One way to test an advertising campaign is by changing your media mix. For example, you might try running ads in more places, using different ad formats, or increasing your budget. If you do find yourself seeing better results from one kind of campaign over another, then you'll know that direction's a good idea for future campaigns.

Experimentation can provide valuable insight into which types of advertising work best for your business and how much it might cost in time and money to get results.

This can help you fine-tune your strategy down the road when you're ready to take things up a notch and ramp up your ad spending.

Build A Sense Of Urgency

Auto dealerships should build a sense of urgency with prospective buyers to sell these cars. The more urgency you create around your offerings, especially for new models, will help you move the product faster.

Try something like this: This may be your last chance before prices go up! Or We have five in stock today so call now.

A sense of urgency creates a sense of scarcity, which means that shoppers are likely to move quicker than they would have otherwise because they feel like their opportunity is slipping away from them. In other words: they don't want a miss out on their dream car if they don't buy it right now.

Have Control Over Your Creativity

An initial concern is working with OEM co-op advertising and advertising that you may not have control over your creativity. How do you ensure that they'll listen to your ideas and consider them when you're dealing with an established automaker?

The best way is simply by showing them why their current campaigns are failing. If their campaigns aren't bringing in new customers (which, statistically speaking, they likely aren't), then using co-op advertising might be a good way for them to get new business without alienating existing customers.

Showing how you can give consumers something that aligns directly with what they will help sell your idea. You have a chance to establish yourself as an expert in all things automotive—so use it. It’s free money!

Co-op Ad Screenshots