car top advertising

Car Top Advertising: Benefits, Limitations, and Uses

Advertising using cars can be a strong mobile marketing tool. This marketing idea takes advantage of the cars to show powerful ads directly to people in cities. Whether they’re on the street or driving a car, car top advertising is a good way to target specific customers that might be harder to reach. In this article, we’ll will talk about the different kinds of car top advertising, its benefits, limitations and its possible uses in every type of business.

What Is Car Top Advertising?

Putting ads on car roofs is called “car top advertising.” This works especially well in busy cities with lots of people and foot traffic. The marketing theory behind car top ads is called out-of-home (OOH) advertising. It utilizes mobility and movement to deliver ads to people. With the movement of cars, it can reach more customers that billboards and signs cannot reach since these are stationary. Because of the mobile nature of cars, the ads can reach more people than traditional signs because they can go through different neighborhoods, business districts, and high-traffic places.

Car top advertising using screens showing car top ads
Car Top Advertising Using LED Screens

Also, advertising on car tops tries to get people’s attention in unique ways. Car top ads stand out from the rest of the city because of their design and image. This feature makes them memorable and powerful to users. Also, the fact that these ads are higher up on car roofs makes them easier to see and more noticeable to people in the sidewalk.

Targeted marketing is also a big part of the idea; cars can be carefully moved through certain places to reach the right people. One example of a brand aimed at young workers is one that focuses on busy business areas during the workday. This focused method makes the ads more relevant and effective, which increases the chances of involvement and sales.

Car top advertising uses the ideas of high exposure, movement, and focused reach to make a strong marketing tool that gets the attention of a large group of people while also being cost-effective. This raises brand knowledge and encourages involvement.

Popular Car Top Advertising Techniques

If you’re interested in car top advertising, there are several ways to use this type of advertising for any type of business. It’s best to select which technique works best for your needs and budget.

Car Wraps

With this method, the logo is printed on plastic that covers the whole top of the car. Any car can be used as a traveling sign for a low price. Vinyl wraps can last for months and don’t get damaged by the weather, so they’re good for long-term projects. In our opinion, car wraps can be limiting since it is pasted in the car, making it hard to change.

Digital LED Screens

LED screens show moving ads like posters, videos, or animated ads. Most of the time, they are attached to the roof of the car.Digital ads are very interesting and catchy because of their bright colors and movement. In our expert opinion, LED screens are more versatile. And if you get the best digital LED screen at the right price, you can efficiently use car top advertising without going over budget.

Magnetic Signs

Magnetic signs are easy to put on and take off of a car’s roof. They are a flexible choice for companies that use their vehicles for more than one thing or for short-term projects. Magnetic signs don’t cost too much and can be used on different cars.

Partnerships with Ride-sharing Services

Ride-share partnerships uses the large reach and high exposure of ride-share services like Uber and Lyft to deliver dynamic ads around cities and neighborhoods. Advertisers who work with these ride-share services can reach a huge network of drivers who can take them to a wide range of urban and suburban areas to reach different kinds of customers. This wide reach makes sure that ads are seen by a lot of different people, like walkers, cyclists, and other cars.

One of the best things about this method is that it lets you target specific groups of people and places. Advertisers can put ads on cars that are working in certain areas or during events to make sure the marketing message gets to the right people. For example, an ad campaign for young workers could focus on cars that are driving in business areas at busy times. This amount of targeting makes the advertising effort more relevant and powerful, which makes it more successful.

Benefits of Car Top Advertising

Below, we discuss the most important benefits of car top advertising. From reaching a wider customer bases to content flexibility, we’’ll explain below why car top advertising is a good tool to add to your marketing programs.

Exposure to a Wider Customer Base

Ads on the top of cars are very noticeable as they drive through crowded cities, busy streets, and roads. The ad has a better chance of being seen by more people because of this changing exposure. Unlike signs and posters that stay in one place, car top ads can reach a lot of different people, from people walking or riding bikes to drivers and vehicle passengers.

Localized Advertising

Ads that go on top of cars can be put carefully in particular neighborhoods, cities, or regions where the target audience lives. Advertisers can put ads on cars that drive to trade shows, concerts, and other events, making sure that the message gets to a specific group of possible buyers.


Putting ads on car tops is usually less expensive than putting ads on TV, radio, or in newspapers or magazines. Because the ads can reach a lot of people, businesses often get a better return on their investment. This is because the ads are seen by thousands of people every day without paying for airtime fees or subscription to digital billboards.

Content Flexibility

Advertisers can quickly change or update the content of the car top displays to match new deals, seasonal campaigns, or marketing efforts. Changing is easier for digital cartop displays. This flexibility lets them cater to multiple clients who want their ads shown in multiple car top boards and displays. Custom designs like digital displays, LED screens, and creative images can be used to make the ad stand out and get people’s attention.


Ads on car roofs naturally get people’s attention because they are so unusual. People are more likely to see and remember an image on a moving car than one that is still. And if the ad is intriguing, it’ll spark curiosity and prompt viewers to look for the brand on the internet. Moreover, some ads on the sides of cars can include QR codes or virtual reality experiences that let people connect with the ad in more ways than just seeing it.

Available 24/7

Ads on the top of cars can be seen at all times, especially ones with digital or lit screens that are still easy to read at night. Unlike traditional ads that may only show up at certain times or places, car top ads make sure that the brand message is always visible, increasing exposure and making the brand more recognizable.

Types of Car Top Displays or Screens

If you want to invest in car top ads, you need to know what type of display or screen. Here are some of the displays you can choose from:

LED Panels

LED panels are practical for car top advertising but not accessible to those with limited budgets. It can cater to different content whether video or image, making it versatile and easier to use. When considering LED panels, you need a bright panels. High-brightness LEDs make the sign visible even in full sunlight, and the bright colors make it stand out more.

Scrolling LED Screens

Scrolling LED screens show text messages that scroll down and can be set to change often. They are good for getting messages across, like ads, statements, or contact information. The moving text naturally draws people’s attention, which makes the image even more noticeable.


The traditional way of showing ads on these screens is with lighboxes. They are easy to use and work well for showing text and flat pictures. Lightbox screens can withstand light to moderate rains and wind. They won’t easily get damaged from elements unless it’s an extreme typhoon or hurricane. However, lightboxes are static. You can’t change the ad on the screen unless you change it manually.


Compared to LEDs, LCDs can be more affordable, depending on the brand. LCD screens have high resolution displays, which means that pictures and words are clear and full of detail. They are easy to update and can be set to show different kinds of material, from still pictures to videos. However, LCDs are more prone to damage than LEDs. 

E-paper Screens

E-paper screens don’t use much power, so they’re good for long-term use without having to change the batteries often. They can show clear pictures and writing, but they can only do grayscale most of the time. They are also easy to read in bright sunlight.

Rotating Screens

These screens have three faces that can be rotated, so they can show more than one ad at a time. The moving feature attracts people walking by, which raises the chances that the ads will be seen.

Car Top Advertising vs Billboards & Signages

Now, let’s compare car top ads with traditional billboards and signs. Most companies use billboards and signages because these are popular. But with the rising popularity of LED screens, car top ads are slowly gaining more popularity.

Car Tops

  • Not static: Since car top ads are put on moving vehicles, they can reach a larger and more varied audience as the vehicle goes through different areas, such as home neighborhoods and busy city centers.
  • Visible 24/7: Ads on the top of cars, especially ones with lit screens, can be seen day and night, so they are always visible even when parked.
  • Wider reach: Advertisers can place their ads on cars that are traveling in certain areas or during certain events to make sure the message gets to the right people.
  • Dynamic Content: Digital LED screens on car top ads can show animations and videos, which may be more interesting than still images.
  • Affordable: Compared to signs and billboards, car top advertising usually has lower cost, depending on what type of material or technology you’ll be using. This makes it a better choice for businesses on a tight budget.
  • Distraction for Drivers: Moving ads could confuse drivers, which could cause road accidents and mishaps
  • Limited viewing: Because the car is always moving, people have less time to look at the image than when they look at a static sign.
  • Legal limitations: Some places or regions may have rules or laws about advertising on car tops that limit where and how these ads can be shown.
  • Small display: Compared to signs, car top ads usually have smaller display areas, making it harder to get your message across.
  • Weather-dependent: Ad exposure can be changed by weather conditions like fog, rain, or snow. The weather may make it hard to see ads, especially if it’s moving.
  • Maintenance: Displays on the top of cars, especially digital ones, need to be serviced regularly to make sure they work right and stay noticeable. There may be times when technical problems make it so that the ad can’t be seen.

Billboards & Signages

  • High Visibility: Billboards are usually put up in high places with a lot of people, like on roads, in city centers, or near shopping malls, so that a lot of people can see them.
  • Large screen area: Billboards give advertising a bigger area to work with, so they can make designs that are more artistic and powerful and include more information.
  • More time to look: Because signs don’t move, people walking by have more time to look at and understand the ad, which can be especially helpful for long messages. You can even stop walking just to read the ad if you want to.
  • Recall: A sign that stays in the same place can help people remember a brand over time because they see it every day on their way to and from work.
  • More expensive: Billboard advertising is usually more expensive because it takes longer to make. Renting the ad space is also expensive, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Fixed Location: Since signs are fixed in one place, they can only reach people who pass by that spot, which may not be as many different people as mobile ads can reach.
  • Regulations and Permits: Billboards often need permits and have to follow local rules and building laws. Obtaining these permits add to the cost of advertising using billboards and signs.
  • Ad weariness: Over time, static signs may not work as well because the same people see the same message over and over, which is called ad weariness. Changing the ad will entail more costs on your part.
  • Lighting: Billboards often need lighting at night so they can be seen. Lighting can raise costs. However, you may try to negotiate if electric cost can be included in the rent.

Performance Evaluation of Car Top Ads

The best way to determine if car top ads are working is to evaluate its performance using key performance indicators. Below, we’ve included the most important KPIs to look for when evaluating ad performance.


It is the number of times people who might buy something see the ad. To get an idea of how many people see the ad, use GPS and traffic data.

Impressions = Daily Traffic Volume x Days Displayed x Ad Visibility Factor


It refers to the number of different people who see the ad separately. Ride-share app data can be used to get an idea of reach because it shows what places the cars cover.

Reach = Number of Impressions ÷ Number of Times Ad Was Seen

Engagement Rate

An advertisement’s engagement rate is the amount of people who engaged with the add (e.g., view a website, call a number, or use a discount code.) Keep track of how many websites were visited, QR codes were scanned, and calls were made because of the ad.

Engagement Rate = Number of Impressions / Number of Interactions x 100

Click-through Rates

The click-through rate or CTR is the measure of how many people took visited your website or landing page after they saw the add. To know CTR, just keep track of how many times someone clicks any link within the landing page.

CTR = Total Clicks / Total Impressions x 100

Conversion Rates

The conversion rate is the number of people who performed a transaction (e.g., check out goods from basket or subscribe to a free trial) after seeing the add. A higher conversion rate is desirable because it means that the ad is working.

Conversion Rate = Total Conversions / Total Interactions x 100

Return on Investment

The return on investment, or ROI, is the way to figure out how profitable the advertising effort is. It is the rate at which a particular marketing effort yielded. Keep track of how much money the effort brought in and compare that to how much it cost.

ROI = (Ad Campaign Revenue – Ad Campaign Cost) ÷ Ad Campaign Cost x 100


Advertisements on car tops are changing how brands reach their customers because they are mobile, flexible, and affordable. Whether it’s digital, lightbox or ride-share partnership cartop advertising, the method of car top advertising won’t matter unless you know how to deliver your message across. Hence, knowing how to advertise is a must.

Partnering with top car top advertising companies can also help businesses get their ads seen by more people by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to raise awareness of their brand and get people to interact with it.

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