How to Create an Effective Car Ad for Listing Sites

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​After you've determined your car value, the next thing to do is create an effective car ad for an online listing site. In order to maximize your car's selling potential, CARFAX has put outlined some of the most important things to consider when creating your online car ad.

Choosing Where to Place Your Car Ad

First and foremost, you will need to decide where you would like to post your car ad. There are many options to choose from on the internet, including both international sites, such as AutoScout24, and more localized sites, which focus on specific markets like and in Sweden. Many newspapers also offer an online vehicle classified section on their corresponding websites.

Thinking about the following things can help you decide where to place your car ad:

  • Ad reach: Is the site popular? How many people visit the site and may see your ad?
  • Placement cost: Do you only want free listings or are you willing to pay a little to increase the chances of your ad being seen?
  • Running time: How long does your ad run? Various sites have differing expirations for their ads, from one week up to until the car sells.

Utilizing social media platforms is another great way to gain traction for your advertisement. Posting links to your listing or creating an ad directly on Facebook or Twitter can go a long way.

It doesn't hurt to place your car ad on more than one platform. This increases your selling potential. But be 100% sure to immediately remove the ad from any other sites if your vehicle sells to avoid potential problems.

Writing the Text Description

Just like a good book, the best way to hook readers' interest is with some well-written text. Potential buyers respond better to text which is clearly thought out as well as helpful and explanatory. Try to think like a buyer while writing to get a better understanding what they may be looking for.

Giving the Basics

Every car ad should include the basic technical details. This includes all things such as:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Transmission type (manual or automatic)
  • Color
  • Number of doors
  • Fuel Type (petrol or diesel

Highlighting the Good Things

On top of the basics, your car ad should focus on special details which increase the value and set your vehicle apart from the rest. Some examples of value adding information include:

  • Non-smoker vehicle
  • No accident
  • Original owner
  • Vehicle upgrades (e.g. sound system, wheels, paint, head/taillights, roof/bike racks, etc.)
  • Fuel economy

Honesty is the Best Policy

While it may make you nervous that no one will be interested in your car, if you don't highlight the bad along with the good in your ad, people will most likely find out when they research more into the car or see it in person. To save both yourself and potential buyers time, include information in your car ad about any negative things you know of. This could be anything from accidents, breakdowns, mechanical problems, exterior or interior damage, etc. If you mention everything up front, there are fewer reasons why a buyer would ask you to lower the price.

Explaining Your Pricing

Including a few words after the price in your description will let buyers know how fixed you are on the price listed. Words like "firm" or "non-negotiable" send a clear message that you're not in the mood to haggle. Phrases such as "or best offer" and "price negotiable" allows a little room to negotiate.

Taking Good Quality Photos

searching for a car

A picture is worth a thousand words. This mantra applies to car ads as well. Many buyers won’t even look at a vehicle listing if there are no pictures. But poor quality photos are also a reason to push people away. Consider the following important things in order to make a good impression and show off your car in the best way:

  • Clean car: Giving your car a wash, along with cleaning and vacuuming the inside is the best way to show the car in photos
  • Time of day: Try to avoid taking photos where the sun is too bright. This will cause hard shadows which disrupt the clarity of the photo. Shooting in the early morning or late in the afternoon will provide a nice soft light, which makes your car's color pop, chrome shine, and glass sparkle.
  • Location: Choose the surrounding area of your photos carefully. Try to avoid tight places which will limit the distance you can stand when taking full-body shots of the car. Also consider what viewers see in the background. Your neighbors uncut grass or garbage cans don't make for a nice image. Try to minimize distractions so people focus only on the car.
  • Damage: If your vehicle has any damage (e.g. dents, scratches, rust, etc.), be sure to document this in your car ad.
  • Equipment: If possible, use a good digital camera rather than your smartphone. This gives you more flexibility with adjusting the settings as well as higher quality images. If you have supplementary lighting sources as well, this can help balance out any shadows that may remain.
  • Variety: Make sure you take a variety of pictures at different angles. Be sure to show all sides of the vehicle, as well as important things like the interior, instrument cluster, and trunk. Also include photos of any special features your car may have that improves the value of your car ad.

Offering the CARFAX

Providing potential buyers with a CARFAX Vehicle History Report shows them you have nothing to hide. The CARFAX Report explains in a clear, easy-to-read format all of the detailed history of your vehicle. This includes things such as service and maintenance history, mileage records, vehicle usage, ownership history, and much more.

By providing this information openly, you are able to give buyers confidence that there are no hidden problems with your vehicle, as well as back up anything you say in your car ad.