TV Ads for Auto Repair Factsheet: Budget, Branding & Benefits

We’ll walk you through TV ads for auto repair shops: major advantages and disadvantages, timing, ideal use, and budgetary considerations.

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Conceptual Minds | July 10, 2023

TV Advertising for Auto Repair: Budget, Branding & Benefits

If you’ve moved around some, you might have noticed that every corner of the country has at least a few legendary local commercials that all residents can recite by heart.
Though the public doesn’t consider TV ads to be as relevant as they once were, many are rediscovering the format’s proven history of delighting and inspiring.
That’s why we’ve decided to take a stab at demystifying TV advertising as it relates to the auto repair industry. In this guide, we’ll walk you through its performance, major advantages and disadvantages, and what type of auto shop will benefit most from its persuasive power.

TV for Auto Repair Shops: Performance Overview

Credit: AutoNetTV
If TV commercials were students, we’d call them high-achieving.
Beyond top-tier strength in generating broad awareness and car counts (over time), its ability to evoke emotion is unparalleled. When commercial messages are conveyed through the tube, they’re more memorable and motivating.
When consumers view content on a big-screen tv—and not their smartphone—research has shown a 2.2 times improvement in brand recall and 1.3 times greater intent to buy. 
Beyond customer generation, TV commercials also keep your shop top-of-mind for customers between visits, as well as notifying about promotions or other changes. 
That said, while commercial TV’s longterm ROI is high, so are the upfront costs. This makes it not ideal for single-location shops, as well as multi-location shops that haven’t yet tapped opportunities in other direct response channels—like such as direct mail, Google ads, and reputation management

Advantage #1: TV Ads for Auto Repair

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Almost every business needs a high-volume awareness-generating channel. For most auto shops, Google ads and direct mail, which helps you to spread your message deep into your coverage area.
TV advertising can serve the same purpose but do so at a greater scale, as well as impacting viewers more profoundly. 
While upfront costs can be an impediment to many, local ad spots are more affordable than most would expect, with a $5 to $10 charge per every thousand viewers. Neither Cable TV nor prime time slots are necessary to make a name for yourself in your area.

Advantage #2: TV Commercials Evoke Strong Feelings 

It’s easy to dismiss commercials as phony and not all that entertaining, but TV’s visual component helps it connect to consumers more viscerally than other ad format.
Sure, consumers like them far less than extensively produced TV shows, but they get a lot more out of them than they do banner ads or billboards.

Advantage 3: TV Advertising Offers More Credibility

Photo by Zachary Keimig on Unsplash
It may be hard to believe that the tube is highly credible in consumers’ eyes, but most trust it far more than most other channels. 
The thinking goes if a company has gone through all the hoops to appear on TV, then they’re far more likely to be legitimate than those appearing in a digital ad. 
Consumers often feel the need to double-check the legitimacy of a company before they purchase from digital ads. Not so with TV.

Disadvantages: Upfront Cost & Message Saturation

Photo by Ryan Hafey on Unsplash
There’s good reason why we don’t recommend TV spots for most single-location independent shops; things can get costly between production costs and airtime fees.
While local ad spots feature low CPMs, and it’s possible to produce a commercial for a few thousand, such ads need to be repeated for many months to make their impact. 
This makes it unfeasible for many shops, who are perhaps best served by Google ads and direct mail as alternatives(though it’s important to note that direct mail often needs several repeat viewing before customers are willing to purchase). 
How many times do consumers need to see my ad?
While studies have shown that only a few views improve short-term sales, many more are needed to change consumer attitudes. For less “exciting” goods like auto services, as many as ten repeat viewings are ideal.
Over multiple exposures of the same ad, your message will gradually worm it’s way into your viewer’s mind. After the first few, they’ll take notice. Another few will get them to file away your brand in their long-term memory, which is where attitude change occurs. 
However, it’s important to clarify that you’ll need to show your commercial far more than ten times. To guarantee you’ll catch enough viewers enough times, TV ad campaigns often have to be run on a weekly basis for 9 months to a year before you can be assured that you’ve reached enough people enough times.
For this reason, TV advertising is not recommended for smaller shops and multi-location shops that haven’t yet tapped their Google ads and/or direct mail audience.

What’s a Good Alternative to TV Commercials?

Because of its cost and campaign length, TV advertising is not an essential marketing channel for many shop owners. 
Most single-location shops are better off focusing on direct mail for mass-market awareness and customer generation, combined with other traditionally high-performing channels like pay-per-click Google advertising and reputation management across review sites.
However, for ambitious and established single-location shops, as well as multi-location shops with a defined local, regional and/or national footprint, TV advertising can be incredibly lucrative. ROIs around 300 to 500 percent are often possible.

Great for Gaining Lots of Ground, Worse at Modest Short-Term Growth

TV advertising isn’t right for every auto shop. Its cost and time for campaigns to take hold make them out of reach for some. For more established shops looking to increase their market share even further, there’s nothing better. 

Learn About Conceptual Minds

As veterans of the automotive industry, the Conceptual Minds team are experts at growing car counts through effective and personable marketing. If you are unsure of your current marketing strategy and would like some guidance, contact us today at 877.524.7696.

Need help implementing winning auto repair promotions?

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