This is a guest blog by Silvia Potempa, Social Media Manager at Saxton Horne.
She is speaking at the DrivingSales Executive Summit on 4 Facebook Advertising Strategies You Need to Utilize.
Welcome to 2018 where “yell sell” tactics are fading and organic content is on the fritz. With the algorithm changing constantly, Facebook is truly a pay-to-play platform with undeniable performance metrics already put in place to show you exactly where your money is going. Put your money where your mouse is, because if you aren’t utilizing Facebook to its full capacity, you’re not selling enough cars. These four Facebook advertising strategies are neglected in automotive and can help you move metal and keep the dealerships lights on.
Let’s state the facts…customers LOVE our dealership sites – always reliable and always easy to navigate.😏 We wish. Facebook released the canvas ad format to keep users on the site while giving them a full-screen (even website-like) experience. This is solving the problem of high bounce rates and flawed mobile experiences by walking customers through the journey you truly want to take them on. Building a canvas for awareness around a new model, a custom build, or a new dealership is not only reaching new customers, but keeping them actually engaged. How often do you have a potential customer engaging with an ad for more than 30 seconds? Canvas ads allow your customer to find their perfect vehicle all while staying on Facebook and giving you the lead information after.
Too often dealers are too caught up in the “yell sell” on Facebook. It’s time to transfer the energy into why they want the vehicle with a full-screen experience—the same way you would do on a test drive.
Dynamic Ads for Auto
Introducing you to the newest, most mysterious ad type known to the automotive industry – Dynamic Ads for Auto or, DAA. Let’s cut the chase, you either have a vendor or are hearing from a vendor who is pushing a “dynamic Facebook ad”. Stop them right away. Make them clarify if they are running dynamic product ads or dynamic ads for auto. We are seeing this far too often. Why would you take your minivan up the mountain when you have a 4Runner in your garage?
DAA was designed for vehicles, stock numbers, miles, vehicle state, etc. They work flawlessly with your Facebook pixel and your vehicle feed. Users on your site looking at VDPs are some of the highest intent customers. They want a deal. Follow them. Give them more options. Show them similar inventory right on Facebook. The beauty of DAA is that you can choose to send them back to your site or make it a lead generation ad, sending that information immediately into your CRM. Need another reason? DAA are using this platform to continue to build the brand and personality of your dealership. Give them a sassy message as why they’re seeing the ad in their feed or why they should come back to your site. People love talking about how ads show up in their newsfeed and they “don’t know why”. I don’t want to over complicate this ad and why it should be an “always on campaign”. Work with your online inventory provider to set your vehicle feed up properly for Facebook. Make sure your Facebook pixel parameters are mapped and working properly. And please, make sure you use DAA not DPA.
Lead Generation Ads
Since launching, lead generation ads and automotive have been a match made in heaven. We are a lead driven industry! But let’s go beyond the “sign up for a test drive” or “get a personalized quote” message. Two other areas we have found success using lead generation ads are in the hiring and subprime/CRC departments.
Let’s start with one of the biggest issues within the dealership, hiring the right people to take our customers on a test drive or giving them a quote – hiring leads. Your job postings are probably already on Indeed, which has over 200 million unique monthly visitors, or even LinkedIn, with 250 million active monthly users, but Facebook has over 2 billion monthly users, and 84% of job seekers have a profile. Currently, only 55% of recruiters are utilizing this platform. Take advantage of opportunity and get quality applicants you need, like sales consultants, finance managers, master technicians, you name it. Utilize your employment page pixel targeting/retargeting, engagement retargeting, and interest targeting to ensure you are reaching all future employees in your area. Add preliminary questions to ensure each candidate meets your requirements before you give them a call. And finally, make sure you have a bridge or system in place so your hiring manager calls the applicant in a timely matter.
Talking to your subprime and CRC customers is an art of its own. Making them trust your dealership and feeling confident in calling you to help them into their next vehicle is one of the biggest hurdles. A lead generation ad is an easy option for a few reasons. First off, they are filling out credit apps all day without knowing outcomes. Save them that initial stress with just a few questions on a platform they are familiar with and not with 15 questions that they are going to have to fill out again in an application. Second, find a way to communicate with them that makes them feel comfortable. Some of these customers are avoiding phone calls all day, so have a question that asks them how they want to be communicated with: Facebook, text message, email, or call. Cater to them. They trust this platform. Third, this is your opportunity to communicate with your subprime/CRC messaging in a very non-threatening way. Facebook and Instagram allow you to bring personality and comfort to a pretty touchy topic. Talk to them conversationally, use a video, let them know the process before even coming in or submitting that lead. And finally, just like your normal vehicle sales lead generation ads, feed these leads right into your CRM or the rockstar at your dealership who manages all the subprime/CRC customers.
Offer Claim Ads
The offer claim ad has been around for a few years now. It’s had a few revamps and even started out as its own objective under conversion campaigns. It’s one that dealerships may not have tested to its full potential because of the complexity of the actual process of handling the offer, or the measurement isn’t as easy as a website session or lead. After a lot of testing, the sweet spot is simple – start with Facebook-specific service offers.
Here are a couple things that make a service offer claim ad so enticing for dealerships:
Now that you want to utilize offer ads, make sure you have a process in place at the dealership. Facebook allows you to use customized codes that can match the codes you already have in place but we recommend creating Facebook specific codes. Also make sure you inform all your service writers ahead of time so they are not caught off guard when a customer brings the offer in – just like you do with a mailer or email.
There are many digital outlets for dealerships to capitalize on deals and attract new customers and it seems like a new one is evolving monthly. Advertising budgets are not getting bigger – but dealerships are getting smarter on where to put those dollars and what produces the highest ROI and works with their PVR. Facebook allows you to advertise to current customers, but generate awareness to all of those in the community if you have a full-funnel advertising strategy. Cherry on top? Facebook allows you to not only measure you efforts with lead generation and pixel reporting, but offline conversion tracking, you’re able measure car sales and service ROs back to a specific ads. As all advertisers say, stretch your dollar, reach more people, use Facebook to marry your dealership goals and your other marketing efforts. And as always – sell cars.