Create the perfect ad

Time 13 years ago

motors.jpgMOTORS.CO.UK has just completed research into what works in car ads – and what doesn’t.

A survey of over 1000 buyers showed that acronyms are what turns buyers off most. Nearly two-thirds of people said it was their pet hate.

That’s way ahead of the next biggest gripe – daft phrases such as ‘nice little runner’, which 35 per cent of buyers said were a cheesy turn-off. A quarter of buyers didn’t like poor quality photography, 15 per cent hated misleading descriptions, while one in 10 were most frustrated by inadequate vehicle details.


And such issues are not just off-putting. They cause buyers to question the car on sale – and when you consider that there are over 7.5m used cars being brought and sold in the UK each year, that’s a lot of cars. 14 every minute, in fact!, which guides 2.7m visitors through their network, has therefore offered some advice. Marketing Manager Katie Armitage said: ‘When placing an advert, try to avoid clichés and stick to the facts of make, model, condition and price. Describing a car as a ‘lovely runner’, ‘immaculate’ or a ‘good starter’ will just make you sound dodgy.’

‘Like lonely heart ads, car adverts can be a minefield of dodgy descriptions, twisted truths and outright fibs. This latest survey demonstrates the importance of a well written and accurate car advert in buying and selling used cars.’

So, to the good. What actually works with buyers? Well, providing accurate make and model details was a hit, with a massive 88 per cent of buyers rating it the ‘most important’ feature of a car ad. Next up were price details and good photography. Stick to these and you won’t go wrong.

Indeed, to help car buyers sort the ‘absolute peaches’ from the ‘total lemons’, the website has a full range of information to help car buyers find their next car from buyer’s guides and a free valuation tool, to free history checks.

To help guide us all, Motors has produced a top-five ‘good’ and ‘bad’ car ad tips. Check out the good tips – and the horror ads!

Top advert tips

List the basics, make model, age, engine size and fuel type.
Give the price.
Include a good photograph of the interior and exterior of the car.
Give clear contact details, mobile number and email.
Avoid too many acronyms and clichéd phrases.

Top ‘bad ads’

‘An excellent runner but unfortunately an MOT failure – mainly rust.’
‘Citreon Xsara, Manual, 110,000 miles, X-reg, Met Blue, C/L, E/W, PAS, E/S/R, Alloy Wheels, CD Player.’
‘Low mileage!!! Cheap insurance and low petrol costs!!! No scratches or damages!! One lady owner!!’
‘New tyres, engine problem, £300 ONO.’
‘Dual controls, bought to teach daughter to drive. Overheated, now a none runner.’

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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