For Auto Dealers, Radio, More than Web, Is Big Driver

Inside Radio, Updated Mar 18, 2016
If you buy all the hype, then Internet-based marketing is all the rage; the reality is, it’s not always the case, especially when you drive in certain circles. A lengthy feature in Automotive News finds that many auto dealers are less interested in social media than in traditional media—and without any regrets.

“Even as the industry rushes into a more Internet-based reality, big money still is going into legacy media,” the article surmises.

Last year, Southern Georgia dealer Woody Folsom sold 1,500 new Chevrolets and other GM vehicles, 1,200 new Fords and almost 1,000 new Chryslers, “all through the power of radio advertising around his home base in Baxley, Ga., population 4,400,” the article reads. Says Folsom, “I started 19 years ago with one dealership, and we advertised on the radio to reach people as far away as we could. Now I have five dealerships, and radio is still working for us.”

Auto News adds, “Deep into the digital age, as automakers and retailers stampede to online marketing, a curious truth remains: Many car dealers prefer to advertise the traditional way: radio, TV, direct-mail fliers and even the occasional full-page ad in the local daily newspaper. They like the human touch. They are pleased with the results.”

It’s not a surprise—given auto’s place as radio’s No. 1 advertising category—that commitment from dealers has increased since 2012, Auto News reports, growing from $641 million to a forecasted $746 million, according to Borrell. “And despite predictions of the demise of traditional TV in a bubbling world of Internet program viewing, video-streaming over mobile phones and the rise of on-demand formats such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube,” car dealers are also still committed to TV as well, Borrell reports.

Vic Koenig, owner of Vic Koenig Chevrolet in Carbondale, IL, also stands by the traditional media. “It’s working for us. And working in ways that I’m afraid the Internet can’t deliver,” he says. “A lot of people around here aren’t wealthy enough to have satellite radio,” he says. “So we hit radio hard.”


Southern California Broadcasters Association White Paper Report

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