When to Update Your Used Car Ad

Congratulations! You’ve taken some photos of your car, decided on a price, written an informative description, and finally published the perfect ad on Autotrader.com. But the phone isn’t ringing. Or maybe it is, but you’re not hearing from the serious buyers you know are out there. What now? Read on for ideas about how and when to update your ad to attract more quality leads.

Choosing a Time
First, consider the ad’s duration as well as your own patience and flexibility. If you’ve selected an ad with a three or eight-week run, there is little time to waste. In general, buyers are more likely to make inquiries and schedule test drives on weekends. After one weekend passes without any calls, it might be time to tweak your ad.
Purchasing the Run ’til It Sells package will allow you to exercise a little more patience. After several weekends without any calls, listing enhancements are in order.
In the meantime, search for your ad on Autotrader.com at least once a week to see where it shows up in the listings, and how it compares to ads for similar vehicles. Looking with the eyes of a potential buyer might give you good ideas on how to make your ad stand out from the rest.
Updating Your Price
Your listing price is the first thing that will pop out to buyers in the Autotrader.com Search Results, and it often determines where your vehicle will appear on the page. Even if you’ve followed every recommendation on how to price your used car to sell, many shoppers will judge it based on how it compares to other vehicles for sale in your area.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to have a window in which to negotiate, because few buyers will expect to pay any seller’s initial asking price. Read our used car negotiation tips for advice on how to gain the upper hand. Also keep in mind that while pricing a car too high can turn off buyers, an unusually low price can have the same effect.
Upgrading Your Listing
Pricing aside, you might not be getting calls because your ad simply isn’t catching enough eyes. If you think that may be the case, consider three ad enhancements that will make buyers stop and stare:
  • Spotlight Ad: This type of ad puts your vehicle at the top of the heap, above all the other vehicle listings. Four Spotlight Ads appear near the top of each Search Results Page, and yours will rotate in on a regular basis.
  • Premium Listing: Premium listings appear first — above Featured and Standard Listings. They’re the largest listings with the biggest thumbnail photo and the maximum vehicle details, descriptions and seller information. Premium Listings get roughly twice the views of Featured Listings.
  • Graphic Tile: These colorful graphics will appear on your ad whenever it comes up in search results, and they give buyers an instant reason to take a second look.

Finally, remember the details that can make all the difference. Though optional, these details will let people know that you’re serious about selling—and serious sellers attract serious buyers.

  • High quality photos: Include good photos from every angle of the vehicle. Most used cars have some imperfections, and potential buyers may wonder if you’re hiding something if your photos are limited. Max photo size is 10MB.
  • Vehicle Identification Number: Your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) allows potential buyers to purchase a Vehicle History Report—an investment that more and more used car shoppers make each day.
  • Tell your car’s story: Buyers appreciate it when you take full advantage of the Vehicle Description area and go beyond the specs. How has the car been driven? Why are you selling?

Even if you’ve done all the right things, the right buyer rarely comes along overnight. But being proactive about updating your listing will ensure that, when the right buyer is looking for you, you’ll be easy to find. Andrew Golaszewski is a staff writer at Autotrader.com.

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