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February 21, 2023

This Ad Format Gets 10x CTR // Local Marketing Insider #053

Exclusive case study: How customer review video for car dealers is generating social ads with 10x the CTR of static image ads.

Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider where 8,000+ local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more with insights delivered 2x a month.

Thank you to Car Dorx for this week’s insights. If you’re a car dealer looking for a social ad agency, check them out.

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Almost a year ago we made a video covering a report on user-generated content in video ads. Its conclusion: 28% lift in conversion when using UGC.

Since then, we’ve been on the lookout for further proof. Now we have it.

A couple of weeks ago, we got an email from Daniel and Tyler at Car Dorx

They’ve been testing customer testimonial videos in Facebook ads for a few months. They work with car dealership clients.

Let’s just say, it’s working out. Ten times as many shoppers are going to vehicle pages with customer video testimonials compared to static image ads. Crushing.

Nice work, Car Dorx team. And thanks for sharing.

Enjoy this week’s case study.

Customer Video CTR = 10x Static Image CTR

Car Dorx is all in on video. It doesn’t even run static image ads anymore for its clients. Looking at some retired ads, the benchmark static ad CTR is 0.27%.

Since switching to video, ads containing video reviews from customers have a CTR of 2.70%. That’s 10x as effective at getting car shoppers to dealer websites.

Customer testimonial videos outperform even stacked up against vertical videos recorded by the dealership staff.

Customer video vs. dealership video:

  • 25% reduction in Cost Per Click
  • 40% increase in Click-Through-Rate to Vehicle Detail Pages

So, why does this work? For one, the format. Short, vertical video is ideal. I cover why in the next section. 

Two, social proof. Video testimonials stand out. The endorsement is implicit and the insights are more valuable coming from a peer. They build trust.

Tip from Car Dorx: Performance varies greatly based upon brand and location. Take regional model/brand popularity into account. Think trucks vs. small cars in Texas. Not a fair fight. Even brands should not compare 1-to-1 across different regions. Historical ad performance specific to the brand, vehicle type and region is needed to accurately compare different media formats and messages.

Format Selection: Why Short-Form Vertical Video Works Today

Social ads compete against two things: 

  1. Short attention spans (the scroll)
  2. Ad fatigue (i.e. inauthenticity)

Customer review videos address these challenges. 

Their vertical orientation fills up the mobile screen (social is 90% mobile) and the “shot on a phone” level of quality blends in with the surrounding content. Win-win.

Also, keep the videos short. Car Dorx advises that after 8 seconds viewer attention drops dramatically.

Technical Advice: Frequency, Ad Groups and Messaging Categories

Frequency: Avoid Ad Fatigue

If you’ve ever seen the same ad creative so many times you want to pull your hair out, the marketer behind that ad has a frequency problem. It’s the metric for how many times a user has seen your ad in a given time period.

In the context of a car dealership, frequency depends on:

  • How many people are in your market (rural vs. metro)
  • Your budget
  • How many ads you’re running

Car Dorx recommends showing someone a piece of creative no more than once a week. 

And, while specific to each business, have a plan to rotate creative monthly. 

Ad Groups: Target 3-5 Testimonial Videos

Car Dorx recommends 3-5 videos in an ad group with a target frequency of 2-3 per month per video. 

A minimum of 3 avoids creative fatigue and high frequency. Limiting to 5 avoids diluting the budget. This advice is broadly applicable to businesses spending $5,000-$15,000/month. Larger budgets will be able to support more creative variants.

Messaging: Types of Ads to Test

Before you attempt to collect testimonial videos, it helps to know what ads you’d like to create.

E.g., “Tell us about your loaner car experience” (specific) vs. “leave us a review” (general). 

Widewail’s Campaigns feature helps build specific messaging into automated workflows.

For car dealers, Car Dorx recommends these ad types: vehicle type, non-English language (where relevant), buying cars, low credit, selling cars, new inventory, custom orders and electric vehicles.

On the service side, consider oil changes, premium experience, loaner cars and waiting area.


Trust is going peer-to-peer. Social is going vertical video. It seems to be the perfect time to test customer videos in ads.

Arguably, this case study is even more useful if you’re not in automotive. Inspiration found in other industries is a great competitive advantage. Am I wrong?

Ok, a little housekeeping.

The LMI Live Video Library is out. 37 videos. More to come.

We launched a revamped The Local Business Reputation Management Playbook.

And the Invite Video Testimonial Example Library is worth a look.

Also, find all our content in the Resource Hub.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

Read the local business reputation management playbook to learn about the psychology of your prospects and why shoppers care.

Tag(s):

Jake Hughes

I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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