How to Write the Best Online Used Car Ad

How to Write the Best Online Used Car Ad

Selling a car is never easy, especially if you to do it online, where there are so many other used cars to compete with.

Making your car ad stand out is a key part of selling a vehicle online. So many ads omit important information or don’t tell the full story about a used car. Some ads are also so minimalist that they’re quickly ignored by used car shoppers. Services like Craigslist, AutoTrader and eBay Motors feature thousands of ads online, but the folks at eBay analyze their transactions and helped us pinpoint what kind of ads work and what you need to have a successful sale.

Don’t think these tips are only useful for eBay Motors, as they can be helpful on other services too.

See Also: Tips for Buying a Car on Craigslist

The basics:

“To receive the highest amount of traction for your sale, create the best looking and most informative listing,” explained a spokesperson from eBay Motors. “A vehicle’s accurate listing can make or break a sale.”

Obviously, include the model, make, year and trimline of the vehicle. Mileage, fuel efficiency and type of transmission helps establish the value of the car, too.

“Beyond including the basic vehicle details (make, model, year and trimline), be sure to write clear and accurate descriptions, since this information is entered routinely in consumer searches,” said the eBay Motors rep.

“More importantly, include a photo, as listings without images receive diminished volume of prospective of buyers and typically lower prices,” explained eBay Motors. Would you buy a car without even seeing it?

A successful ad will include a lot of photos of the car inside and outside from all angles. Of course, pick where you photograph your car wisely and take the effort to clean your car before taking photos of it. Pay attention to what’s in the background of your car photo; make sure there aren’t garbage bins or random people in your shot.


Those are just the basics though. More information is never a bad thing, and will help prospective buyers understand what you’re selling. You can list the details in point form to make it faster and easier for a prospective buyer to read.

How to Write the Best Online Used Car Ad

“Beyond listing the details and facts, personalized descriptions, including background and history of the vehicle are impactful,” said the eBay Motors spokesperson.“The text should be comprehensive and include as much relevant detail as possible. Often, simply listing facts isn’t enough.”

Mentioning when and where the car was purchased, when it was driven and why it’s being sold helps paint a better picture of the car for sale. Service history, any upgrades, any warranty information, any known issues, and any useful features should also be highlighted. Did you smoke in your car or carry pets in it? Did you only drive it twice a week? People want to know. You just want to be transparent. The last thing you want is for someone to feel cheated, and the best way to avoid that is by being honest.

Many cars have features that are abbreviated or acronyms, so it’s best to explain things that could be misinterpreted to browsers. “For descriptions, make sure they are clear and accurate – and avoid hard-to-interpret abbreviations,” said the eBay motors rep.

This may also seem obvious, but take the time to properly proofread your ad to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors or typos. Use proper punctuation and write in language that’s easy for people to understand. On the same note, avoid using cliches and vague statements like “Runs like new!” or “It comes loaded!” Instead, describe why it runs like new and what it comes with that makes it loaded.

Also, price your car accordingly. Don’t get too greedy, and make sure what you’re asking for is fair. If your price is over or under the going market rate for something similar, you should point out why.

Answers and Hassles:

Like articles on the internet, used car ads need to be easily searchable. Think about what someone is typing into a search bar. “What words would you enter if you were searching for the item? Include as many of these key words as possible in the title of the listing,” said our contact at eBay Motors. “For instance, subtitles are a great way to improve search results, so you can leverage the various characters that are available.”

Also helping to make your ad rise above others is the answers it provides to any questions that a buyer may have. “While a description can be enough to convert general interest to a sale, often, buyers might have questions. To ensure they know who to contact, that information should be in each listing.”

All of this is to reduce the potential for headaches both for you and for the buyer. “Be transparent with descriptions and details when it comes to the condition of the vehicle,” said our contact. They point out that the condition of the vehicle is one of the most important aspects to a buyer when considering a car to buy. “It’s not only the ethical thing to do, but will aid in setting buyer expectations and result in better results and far less hassle in the future.”

See Also: How to Sell Your Car

Be Creative

If you you want to really make your online used car ad stand out, do something different, like make a silly video about your car. It gives the buyer a chance to see more of your car, and if you make them laugh, it’s a bonus. If you’re lucky, the video will go viral and even more people will see your ad, increasing your chances of selling it for a good price.

The video below is a cheeky example:

Creating your ad with these tips in mind will help increase the confidence that prospective buyers will have about your car. You’ll come across as knowledgeable and trustworthy, and that’s always an important trait to display online when it comes to selling a car.

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