When Does an Auto Wrap Make More Sense Than Digital Advertising? 3 Things to Consider

I saw something interesting on my way home from work yesterday. A new Dodge Charger pulled up next to me at a red light, covered from hood-to-trunk in a massive advertisement graphic for a new local alcohol manufacturer. For a moment, it felt like I had traveled back in time to 2004. You don’t see many flashy company cars these days. Not when most small businesses prefer to spend their ad budgets on social media and other digital campaigns.  And that made me wonder – is the age of the auto wrap ad really over, or have we simply just forgotten about it?

After doing some research, I found that the answer is a conclusive “It depends.” While those flashy, fancy ads aren’t suitable for all businesses, they can still be an effective way to market your small business if you’re in the right market with the right demographic.  So if you’re looking for a clever new way to promote your company, or if you’ve simply been looking for a reason to justify decking your car out in a massive graphic mural, here are a few things to consider before you purchase an auto wrap.

1)      Does it make sense for your location?  Before you spend money on an auto wrap, you need consider where your business is located. While it’s true that a single vehicle wrap can generate between 30,000 - 70,000 impressions daily, result will greatly vary depending on where you live. If you live in a major auto-commuter hub like Houston or Atlanta, then a wrap makes sense. If your town has a population of less than 100,000, you might want to reconsider.

2)      Will your target demographic see it? Okay, so let’s say your business is based in a major city. You know that your auto wrap will be seen, but now you need to consider how many of those impressions will be made on members of your target demographic. If your business is strictly local, such as a restaurant, real estate agency or retail store, then it makes sense to cruise around in one of those wrapped Dodge Chargers. However, if you provide a boutique service to, then a wrap loses some of its luster. You’d likely be better off with a better-targeted form of advertising.  

3)      How much is your advertising budget? One of the biggest advantages to auto wraps is that, if done properly, they can provide a lot of marketing juice for the money. This doesn’t mean that they’re cheap, though. A quality wrap will likely run you between $10-$16 per square foot, which translates to a final price somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. That’s on par with some form of digital advertising, like an infographic with a distribution package, but it might be out of reach for your small business. This is especially true when you consider that most companies choose to wrap several vehicles, not just one.

With all of the forms of advertising available to small businesses these days, it can be hard to justify putting money into something as retro as a vehicle wrap. However, if you live in a highly populated area where the majority of your customers are local, then a flashy, physical ad like an auto wrap can actually generate more business than a digital campaign. So if you’re thinking about decking out your company car, take a minute to consider your options and decide whether or not a wrap is really the best move for your business.

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