Cartop Advertising: Out-Of-Home Marketing To Drive Brand Awareness

ADS ON cars

If you’ve ever been outside or in a rideshare service, then you might have seen those ads being placed on vehicles. This is exactly what cartop advertising is all about. 

Over the years, more people have realized that placing ads exactly on top of vehicles could be the perfect way to build brand exposure. And in this article, we’ll examine some of the important things you should know about cartop advertising.

Cartop Advertising: External Marketing’s New Golden Child

The cartop advertising trend is starting to gain a lot of steam. What started as a bit of an experiment with services like Uber has now grown into a full industry and expanded to everyday taxis as well. 

As you can probably imagine, cartop advertising is quite simple – brands essentially take advantage of boards on cars, place their ads on them, and achieve optimal visibility. This outdoor advertising form takes advantage of the fact that people see cars everywhere. So, ad boards are placed on their roofs, trunks, etc., showcasing brands from there. 

For cartop advertising to work, it is important to develop specialized roof structures known as cartop signs. Anyone can easily palace their brand logos on these signs, and the cars pretty much do the work on their own. 

One of the most popular over-the-top advertising examples, cartop advertising allows businesses and brands to promote their products and services to a broad audience, since cars travel to different locations. The ads being placed on their vehicles are usually eye-catching and large, and advertisers can take advantage of the strategic placement of car advertising on roof to optimize their exposure and visibility. 

The popularity of this method is that it is both effective and relatively low-cost. You can easily get unique car toppers or place an electronic billboard on car trunks, and once your ad is on the car, the vehicle essentially takes your business to different areas. So, instead of using billboards that are static and in one place, you could get car advertising Los Angeles for example and make sure that word about your brand reaches as far and wide in the city as possible.

All in all, cartop advertising serves as a dynamic and attention-grabbing outdoor advertising solution that leverages vehicles as moving billboards to attract the attention of pedestrians and other drivers on the road.

Most Prominent Cartop Advertising Methods

One of the benefits of cartop advertising is the fact that it is highly flexible. You can take advantage of Uber ads and Lyft ads – we’ll look into that later. But, you should also be aware of the different formats available for this ad method. 

Some of these include:

  • Ride-Sharing Partnerships: Perhaps the most prominent option for cartop advertising is the rideshare partnership. Services such as advertise with Uber allow brands to get a car roof advertising sign and palace ads on them. 
  • Magnetic Cartop Signs: A magnetic cartop sign is designed to magnetically attach to a car’s roof or trunk. You can have magnetic car roof cones, as well as other signage types. Installation and removal for these signs is quite simple, thus making them a great option for a car roof advertising sign that’s designed to be temporary. 
  • Roof-Mounted LED Screens: You might find cartop advertising signs that come with digital displays or LED screens. These screens can show interactive and dynamic ads, with the possibility of remote updating if the need arises. So, you can use an on vehicle digital signage to make real-time changes in displayed messages. 
  • Vinyl Wraps: Companies not looking to use traditional cartop signs can choose vinyl wraps instead. These ones cover the entirety of the roof or vehicle exterior, essentially turning your entire car into a moving signpost. 
  • 3D Cartop Signs: With their three-dimensional appearance, these ones easily stand out. You might need to pay a higher advertising rate for them, but they are quite effective. 
  • GPS-Targeted Advertising: Some cartop ad systems come with navigation GPS technology that allows them to target particular locations or demographics with specific ads. If you’re looking to optimize the efficiency of your rideshare advertising, then this is a good option. 
  • Incentive-Based Advertising: We have services like Wrapify that pay drivers incentives to wrap their cars in ads. This provides additional revenue for drivers, while helping brands optimize their reach.

When making a choice, it is important to consider the availability and prominence of a cartop ad method. Whichever option you choose, rest assured that we at NSE LED Cloud can help implement and even provide consultation services. 

Comparison With Other External Ad Forms

To understand just how effective the revolution of cartop advertising has become, consider how it compares to some of the conventional ad strategies

Visibility and Reach

Cartop ads offer high visibility – especially in urban areas and busy regions, where theft can reach pedestrians, other drivers, and random people. With the vehicles moving, you can easily achieve exposure across different locations and audiences. 

Compare this to traditional ads such as billboards and print ads, which only offer visibility in specific regions. 


Cartop ads are very cost-effective, allowing businesses to reach more people without having to incur recurrent expenses. 

This is unlike traditional ads, which can be expensive – especially if you want to get prominent placements or prime slots. Consider the fact that these costs can be ongoing and pretty considerate, and you get why they’re not so efficient.

Targeting Capabilities

Cartop ads can incorporate GPS targeting to deliver location-specific ads. Businesses will be able to reach specific demographics as well, so the benefits are quite considerable. 

With traditional ads, targeting is limited. However, the advent of social media advertising and Email has made that much better.

Flexibility and Content Updates

With cartop ads, you can easily update your content easily. So, if you have seasonal offers or promos, you can display the content without incurring any significant production expenses.

Traditional ads can be flexible as well, although they might require more lead time for content updates. So, in situations when you need to make changes on a whim, you might not be able to get what you want with a traditional ad. 

Engagement and Interaction

Both cartop ads and traditional ads allow you to engage audiences. However, while the process is relatively seamless with cartop ads, traditional ads might not necessarily allow for direct interaction – while engagement can be limited to just passive viewing and audio experiences.

By the Numbers: The Rise Of Cartop Advertising

Digital ADS

The cartop ad space is currently at a very vibrant point. Activity in the industry is at a considerable high, and this has come in no small part from the current growth in the traditional marketing space. 

A few years back, ad spending across the United States dropped by 31% to $5.8 billion due to the global health crisis. However, since the pandemic has now become a thing of the past, ad and marketing spend is increasing significantly across the board. Forecasts already believe that spending on the industry could rise significantly, and this will only lead to more dollars roling into the cartop advertising space. 

Research has shown that mobile advertising is still the most effective outdoor advertising channel. Its reach dwarfs that of other outdoor ad forms, and the inclusion of LED billboards and more can easily help to display the right messages to people across distances. 

When paired with other outdoor ad measures, cartop advertising can easily help to engage customers dynamically based on factors like weather, location, demography, and much more. All of this will make it possible for advertisers to run ads that are effective and which will optimize marketing reach.

With the ads being displayed for a broader audience, tools like location targeting will help brands to tweak their campaigns and show them at the optimal times and locations. For instance, you can show a different ad to audiences within business districts between 8 AM and 5 PM everyday, when they’re most active. Then, when your cars head to suburban locations where families stay,you can show them different ad formats.

According to research, a vehicle that clocks 1,500 miles driven annually will pass through over 9 million other vehicles. So, with cartop advertising, you can achieve untold levels of impressions. 

Then, let’s consider Uber rooftop advertising and other forms of rideshare ads. This form of cartop advertising is especially loved by brands and advertisers as it allows them to capture riders’ complete attention as they sit in cars. And, considering that an average Uber ride hits 5.41 miles, you have more than enough time to engage not just your passengers – but anyone who sees the car itself.

How Cartop Advertising Works

The Elements Of Cartop Advertising

To operate effectively, cartop advertising needs to incorporate several critical components. These elements work together to deliver the right message to a broad audience, especially as the car moves from one point to the other. And, some of the most important of them include: 

  • Cartop Sign or Display: Of course, the central element of every cartop advertising service is the display itself. Here, you have the main physical structure that holds the ad and which is put on the car’s trunk or roof. Different materials can be incorporated to make the sign – ranging from metal, plastic, magnetic materials, etc. 
  • Advertisements/Graphics: Another critical element is the graphic or content itself, which displays the message you’re trying to convey as a brand. Here, you could have a dynamic digital display, a static image, or perhaps even a 3D design that is incorporated to reinforce the right levels of brand recognition. 
  • Design and Branding: When it comes to cartop advertising, you want to make sure you have the right ad and branding structure. Look out for something that’s easily comprehensible, attractive, and easy to work with. You could have your logo, a catchy slogan, or something else that’s memorable and which will reinforce your brand recognition. 
  • Targeted Messaging: With cartop advertising, you could theoretically target specific audiences or demographics. Understanding how to tailor the right message to the right audience will be critical to the success of your campaign overall.  
  • GPS Technology: While this isn’t a necessity, we’ve seen some cartop ad campaigns that incorporated GPS technology to deliver targeted ads. With this, you can achieve higher levels of personalized ads based on the vehicle’s location and demographic characteristics. 
  • Illumination: Also optional, the concept of illumination can also be incorporated into a cartop ad campaign. You can achieve this through LED lights, which are placed strategically to ensure visibility in low-light conditions. 
  • Call-to-Action (CTA): It is important for you to include a clear call-to-action in your cartop advertising campaign. This encourages audiences to take specific actions – visit your website, contact you, try out your product, etc. 
  • Compliance with Local Regulations: Before a cartop ad campaign can be implemented, it is important for you to ensure that you’re not flouting any local laws.

Cartop Advertising’s Working Principles

Understanding the working principles of cartop ads will help you to understand why the strategy is so successful. To that end, here are some of the important principles you might want to keep in mind: 

  • Strategic Placement: For you to achieve the desired results for your campaign, you need to make sure that you can place your ads at areas that are designed to offer you the highest levels of visibility. Generally, we’d recommend always taking advantage of the rooftops of cars. This way, they are elevated enough and can ensure that your ads are even viewed from a distance. 
  • Visibility: In general, cartops ads are built to establish optimal visibility across the board. With the use of large fonts and bold colors, you can easily grab the attention of anyone in general. 
  • Mobility: One of the unique aspects of cartop ads is that they leverage the fact that your cars move all the time. So, with each location visited, your ads can attract someone new every time. 
  • Exposure: This point is quite similar to the former in the sense that you get the chance to expose your brand to a diverse audience. You could park the vehicle and let it stay in one place or make it move from point to point. At the end of the day, cars get high visibility. And as such, so will your ads. You get to stay top of mind for people who already know you, while attracting new people as well. 
  • Brand Awareness and Recognition: Of course, there is always the principle of improved brand recognition. With repeated ads, you get people encountering your content time and again, thus reinforcing your brand message and increasing familiarity with your offering across the board.
  • Flexibility: Cartop ads allow you to be as flexible as possible when providing content. You can update and change content whenever you want, so you don’t have to worry about dynamic messaging for promos and other important events.
  • Non-Intrusive Messaging: Cartop advertising itself is non-intrusive. Unlike pre-roll videos or pop-up ads, anyone can choose to engage with your ads if they want. Or, they could just passively take in the message without necessarily causing a disruption to their regular activities. 

Capitalizing on these working principles will allow you to leverage the mobility of cars and deliver the right dynamic, attractive ads to potential customers. So, for your business, having a sign on car is a perfect way to go.

At NSE LED Cloud, we have the tools and infrastructure needed to help you get started with a cartop ad campaign.

Advantages of Cartop Advertising

Taxi ADS

Cartop advertising provides several critical benefits for businesses and ad executives looking to reach a broad audience and promote their brands and services. A few advantages you could hope to achieve with this ad strategy include: 

Impressive Visibility

The entire point of a cartop ad is to be incredibly visible. These ads are placed on trunks and roofs, providing elevated sightings and positions that make them especially visible to pedestrians. 

With this increased visibility, you have a higher chance of capturing peoples’ attention. 

Mobile and Wide Reach

With cartop ads, you can also leverage vehicle mobility to reach a broad, widespread audience base. With vehicles moving through different locations, you get exposure to people in neighborhoods, events, and much more. 


Compared to billboards and other forms of traditional ads, cartop advertising is significantly more cost-effective. You get continuous visibility, while also not having to bother with recurring payments. 

Targeted Advertising

Marketing today is designed to be as effective as possible. And with the targeting opportunities, you can essentially create better reach for your cartop ads across the board. This increases efficiency, especially when it comes to displaying specific messages for specific demographics.

Flexibility in Ad Content

There is no limit to the type of message you can send with a cartop ad. Even more, you can change messages remotely, ensuring that the right people get the right type of content. 

Just as well, you can easily share new information when it arrives – product changes, service updates, etc. – all without spending so much money.

Increased Brand Recognition

Repeated exposure ensures that a cartop ad is able to guarantee the right levels of brand recognition and loyalty. As more people encounter your ads, they become more familiar with your brand and can easily remember it when they need your product or service. 

Localized Marketing

If you run a local business, a cartop ad provides an opportunity for targeting specific regions of neighborhoods. Essentially, this improves your ability to focus on a specific market more effectively. 

Dynamic and Eye-Catching

We should also mention the fact that cartop ads allow you to create appealing, creative designs. With the vibrant colors and compelling visuals, you can leave a lasting impression that ensures you won’t be forgotten anytime soon. 

Versatile Application

You can pretty much use cartop ads in different settings – and regardless of the type of business you run. All you have to do is get in touch with us at NSE LED Cloud, and we’ll be able to get you set up.

Implementing an Effective Cartop Advertising Campaign

When working out a cartop ad strategy, it is important for you to understand some critical steps that can make or break your entire effort. 

To wit, here are a few steps that you want to keep in mind going forward: 

Set Your Goals

You generally want to start by defining the objectives of this campaign. Understand what you’re looking to achieve – whether it’s traffic, increased awareness, or the promotion of a specific product or service. 

Identify Target Audience

Next, understand your target audience and the type of content that appeals to them. This way, you’re able to design ads that resonate with the right people you’re looking to find. 

Choose the Right Locations

Generally, it is recommended that you find high-traffic areas where people you’re looking to target are present. You can develop cartop ads strategically in these locations, thus optimizing your reach and visibility across the board.

Design Eye-Catching Ads

Next, you move towards the creation of the ads themselves. As you can expect, you want this to be as attractive and eye-catching as possible. Use bold colors, and deliver a punchy message that immediately communicates what you’re trying to do.

The point here is to design ads that allow you to stand out and immediately resonate with the right people. 

Tailor Content to Context

A huge recommendation will also be to consider the context in which your audience will see the cartop ad. The context needs to suit the location, time, and event to make things more relatable and ideal.

Utilize GPS Targeting

If your ad system will support GPS targeting, then you want to take advantage of it to deliver targeted ads. This will go a long way to improve effectiveness. 

Engage with Drivers

It is highly likely that you’ll be using someone else’s car for your ads. So, build relationships with them and be clear in your communications about what you’re looking to achieve. See to it that they understand your schedule and message, and that they can maintain professionalism and consistency in service.

Compliance with Regulations 

As explained earlier, you want to also keep an eye on existing local ad regulations to ensure that you’re not flouting any rules. Just as well, look into vehicle signage rules and consider safety standards to protect your audiences and drivers.

Time and Frequency

Determine the right times to display your ads based on the habits of your audience and their location. We would recommend getting your ads out at peak traffic hours – as well as in locations close to events. This way, you can maximize exposure. 

Evaluate The Campaign’s ROI

Keep a conscious eye on the return on investment (ROI) that your cartop advertising campaign is bringing. If the need arises, you can  make adjustments to it to improve performance and achieve your set goals.

Is Your Cartop Ad Campaign Working

For you to understand whether your campaign is working, it is important to keep an eye on several factors and implement them. Some of these include

Metrics to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Cartop Advertising 

To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your strategy, be sure to set up metrics to track just how effective it is.

Some key metrics you want to keep in mind include: 

  • Views & Impressions: The number of people who view the ad itself. 
  • Interactions & Conversions: The number of people who take specific action after seeing the ad
  • Mentions: People who talk about your ad on social media

A/B Testing

We recommend that you implement standard tests for just about everything before your campaign rolls out. From the content to locations and more, test every variable. We would recommend liaising with a marketing professional to get this done. With A/B testing, you ensure that whatever choice you go with is the one that works best for you.

Popular Implementations Of Cartop Advertising

As of today, several companies are blazing the trail when it comes to cartop advertising. And, these companies have been able to optimize their performance, even going as far as partnering with brands to help get their names out. 

Some of these names include:  

  • Uber: Can Uber drivers advertise? Absolutely. Uber cartop advertising allows you to share ads on Uber rideshare cars, and the company now welcomes brands to partner with it on this.
  • Lyft: Like the Uber rooftop advertising, Lyft has also opened its business model for ads. Advertising while driving for Lyft is a good way to make additional income for drivers, and these Lyft ads have also proven to be quite effective across the board.
  • Firefly: Firefly is a company that uses digital screens over rideshare vehicles to display dynamic ads. The company operates in different cities, offering location-based and targeted ad options.
  • Carvertise: With Carvertise, advertisers are connected with drivers who are willing to display vinyl-wrapped cartop ads on their cars. Whether local or national, their ad campaigns work.
  • Car Quids: This UK-based company connects businesses with car owners who are also willing to display vinyl ads on their cars. If you’re a British brand, you might want to consider them. 
  • Vugo: Vugo focuses on cartop ads for rideshare vehicles.they offer digital screens with interactive content, as well as targeted ads that can engage passengers as they ride too.
  • Wrapify: Although the company focuses on full-vehicle wraps, Wrapify also provides cartop ads. Advertisers are offered the chance to display ads on vehicle rooftops, thus making it easy to participate in campaigns.
  • StickerRide: StickerRide is a cartop ad company that operates across multiple countries, providing mobile advertising solutions with cartop displays and stickers.
  • CarBucks: This company provides ad solutions for companies that would like to promote their services and products via moving billboards and vehicles.

Possible Implementation Challenges and Mitigation Strategies 

Like every other ad format, cartop advertising can also come with its own set of hiccups. And, an understanding of these challenges could help you also understand some strategies that can help you navigate them. 

Soe of these potential issues include: 

Visibility and Attention: At the end of the day, you need to work through the challenge of capturing the attention of your target audience. This is especially true ina reas where traffic can be high or people can be distracted. 

To navigate this, work one ensuring that your ads are as attractive and eye-catching as possible from the start.

  • Ad Clutter: If your ads will be shown around events or in busy urban areas, then you could easily have other companies vying for attention using the same ad format. 
  • This is why you want to make sure that your ads are as unique and memorable as possible. It differentiates you from others, allowing you to be unique. 
  • Wear & Weather: A cartop ad is exposed to different harsh weather conditions, which could lead to material wear over time. We recommend that you inspect and maintain these signs to ensure that they are always in top condition. At NSE LED Cloud, the ad boards and components we provide are of the highest quality – you can count on that. 
  • Local Regulations: Like every other law, the regulations surrounding placement of ads like these tend to vary from one jurisdiction to another. And, you need to make sure you’re not running afoul of any laws before you embark on the entire campaign. 
  • Ad Performance Measurement: For campaigns with poor execution, understanding the tracking metrics might not necessarily be easy – after all, how do you know if a person really viewed your content if it’s always moving all the time? This is why we recommend implementing proper tracking mechanisms to ensure that you can keep an eye on how your campaign is doing from the ground up. 
  • Driver Participation: There is a significant chance  that your campaign will require additional drivers who will allow you to show your ads on their cars. To that end, it will be important to communicate with them about what you expect from this collaboration as well as what might be in store for them.
  • Targeting and Relevance: If you don’t implement proper targeting for a specific area, then engagement rates could be significantly lower. This is why you want to analyze audience demographics and preferences to tailor your content based on the parameters you’ve chosen.

To navigate these challenges, you need a properly devised strategy, as well as continuous monitoring and flexibility that helps you adapt to the dynamic landscape.


At the end of the day, cartop ads are incredibly effective advertising channels. And, with the advent of ridesharing ads and more, you have an even broader range of options available for you to capitalize on as you begin your marketing campaign. 

If you’re looking to optimize your outdoor marketing, then feel free to reach out to us at NSE LED Cloud to help you out. 

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