Best PracticesSep 26th, 2023

The Critical Role of Audience Suppression in Effective Dealership Marketing

Audience Suppression for Dealership Marketing

We talk a lot about how sending the right message at the right time to the right shopper is key in creating hyper-personalized shopping experiences for car buyers today. But what about the opposite? What happens when you send the wrong message to the wrong shopper at the wrong time? It’s just as important to have the infrastructure to avoid– or suppress– these types of messages to our dynamic shoppers.

That’s where audience suppression comes in. Audience suppression refers to the practice of excluding certain shoppers that should not be targeted with a specific campaign. You can consider it to be the opposite of lookalike campaigns, where marketers build audiences based on specific customer attributes, only with audience suppression, you are actively using those parameters to exclude those shoppers from your campaign audiences, rather than target them.

If, for example, a shopper is in the market for maternity clothes, after a few months, those campaigns will no longer be relevant for that shopper. Rather than continue to target them with those ads, the retailer should instead start targeting the shopper with car seats, strollers, and baby clothes in order to reach the shopper with relevant ads. Audience suppression keeps your ad messaging tight and dynamic so you can seamlessly move shoppers from campaign to campaign and turn off irrelevant messaging once the shopper changes their status in the journey.

How should dealerships look at audience suppression?

Audience suppression gives dealerships the ability to turn shoppers into customers for life. With audience suppression, you can make sure shoppers who just bought a car, for example, will not be targeted with price drop or VDP-specific marketing. Sales messaging will be turned off (suppressed) and those shoppers should seamlessly be moved into the service bucket where they will be targeted with timely messaging about getting their vehicle serviced. Bringing customers back in for service increases the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer, making every sale worth even more money.

Over time, dealerships should suppress service campaigns and move the shopper into trade in and equity marketing campaigns. This fluidity is really only plausible with the proper audience suppression strategy that is always focusing on showing the right message at the right time and turning off messaging that is no longer relevant for the shopper to ensure a positive customer experience.

CDPs and audience suppression

Having a connected data strategy is the best way to implement audience suppression at the dealership because the more data you have on each shopper, the easier it is to place them into the relevant buckets.

Shifting customers from bucket to bucket becomes simple when you have all of your data aggregated in one place. With a Customer Data Platform (CDP) in place at your dealership, you can utilize your shopper data to build relevant audiences for your ads - and determine which shoppers should be excluded from those audiences, all with a few clicks. If you utilize a Customer Data and Experience Platform, the technology should take care of this process automatically as part of its audience automation capabilities.


Audience suppression makes dealership marketing way more efficient. You will no longer be wasting dollars sending a message to someone who already bought from you, or already just serviced their car with you. While there has been a heavy focus in the industry on hyper- targeted marketing to the right shoppers, audience suppression is what you need to round out your marketing strategy by removing newly irrelevant shoppers out of the audiences so they don’t get the wrong message in their shopping journey. This process, made easier with a Customer Data Platform, also helps increase your customer lifetime value (LTV) since you are always sending the relevant message at the right moment in the shopper’s buying journey to constantly push them down the funnel and closer to purchase.

Ilana Shabtay is the VP of Marketing at Fullpath, Automotive’s first customer data and experience platform (CDXP). She is an experienced marketer, highly skilled in digital marketing and artificial intelligence, and the host of the InsideAuto podcast. Having spent almost a decade in the automotive industry, Ilana continues to develop critical skills to drive marketing and serve the dealership community in a new era of technology.

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