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We know navigating the digital space can be tough. With so many options for digital marketing, how do you decide where to spend, and most importantly, how to spend on those platforms?

When running a dealership is your main priority, making the most of the time you have towards marketing is going to be critical.  At Facebook we have simplified the process and created four strategies for you to follow when building out your Facebook campaigns that drive all of your business objectives, including increasing awareness of your dealership, reaching auto shoppers, connecting with your customers, and promoting key events.  These strategies are: Why Buy Here, Ready to Buy, Customers For Life and Events.

Below, I’ve outlined each strategy and some of the best practices to implement to execute a full funnel strategy to meet all of your marketing goals:

Why Buy Here

Promote your business and create intent when shoppers are in discovery mode.

For those potential buyers who are still in discovery mode on where they want to purchase their vehicle, having a clear answer to “why should I buy from you?” is critical.  At Facebook, we can help you build a discovery “Why Buy Here” strategy to reach consumers at the top of the funnel. Your dealership brand is important, and we can help it come through with your ad campaigns  – beyond just the clicks.

Let’s start with targeting. We recommend starting with broad with targeting across the Facebook Family of Apps and Services to adults 18+ that are a certain mileage away from your dealership, or that fall within your franchised zip codes.  Or, maybe you’re in search of an audience that is similar to an audience that your dealership already has a relationship with? Using your CRM you can create a prospecting audience against all of your customers using our lookalike audience feature, or more specifically, customers who have bought a specific vehicle from you.  We also have the ability to build this against people who are actively researching on your website.

When it comes to messaging, focus on what makes you stand out. If I told you I was about to buy a car, but I don’t know if I want to buy from you or another dealership, what would you tell me so I bought that car from you?  That is what your creative messaging should include.  Examples of key messages to include in your campaigns include key differences or attributes such as a non-commission sales staff, the largest inventory in the area, community involvement, or great amenities like a kids room.

Before diving right in to ask for contact information, use the “Why Buy Here” strategy to build trust and create a first impression with your customers that fuels your lower funnel strategy.

Ready To Buy

Help shoppers take the first step to browse your vehicles and turn them into buyers.

We are all familiar with the marketing phase where shoppers are in research mode.  In a study we conducted last year on the auto shopper journey, 63% of car buyers discovered new vehicles online.* On Facebook, marketing to shoppers in this phase of research and discovery is what we call this the “Ready to Buy” strategy.  What’s great about this strategy and the tools that go with it on Facebook is that it’s programmatic, and when paired with our automotive ad units, no creative weightlifting is needed. Once you set this strategy up with your campaigns, the audiences are automatically refreshed and creative is dynamically produced from your inventory feed. Here’s how you can use some of our optimization tools to find ready to buy customers online:

Out of all the targeting options available to you, retargeting and prospecting will be two of the best audiences you can leverage .  If you measure vanity metrics like clicks, CPC or CTR, you’ll see some of the best results of those metrics in your ads reporting.  For retargeting, we look at the people on your website and match them back to an actual profile.  When they come back to a Facebook property, we can deliver a very relevant message based on what we know about them and what they were doing on your dealership website.  Something like a picture of actual inventory on the lot with a deal or price.

Prospecting is one example of a solution we have built that we strongly encourage you to take advantage of.  Whereas targeting was previously limited to recent website and app visitors, you can now expand to target a broader audience and optimize ad delivery to those who have displayed vehicle intent on Facebook properties and across the web that you have not interacted with yet.

This “Ready to Buy” strategy has become so popular that we have created an ad unit specifically for it, Automotive Inventory Ads. This is the ad unit that is programmatic and requires little to no creative weightlifting, as the creative is dynamically served via your inventory feed as well as the ad unit to use if you want to take advantage of the prospecting audience mentioned above.

Customers For Life

Re-engage with buyers post vehicle purchase and turn them into loyal customers.

We’ve learned that advertising is the second most influential source as to why people re-buy from the same brand or dealership.  When it comes to gaining lifetime customers, Facebook provides a great opportunity to create highly relevant messaging to re-engage specific groups of customers at scale. We call this the Customers For Life strategy.

This strategy centers around one thing: your CRM.  You want to ensure the right customer is getting the right message. Think lease maturity, equity mining, sold not serviced. You have the best audience at your fingertips, so make sure to segment them into different custom audiences to deliver a message relevant to a customer’s current position post vehicle purchase.

You’ve been using CRM data for years to market to your customers through traditional forms of media like direct mail and e-mail — try it on Facebook to see how you can reconnect with your customers right where they are – on mobile.   Solutions like Messenger allows you to have a conversation directly with a potential customer to book a service appointment.  Mobile friendly forms like lead ads allow potential customers to book an appointment right within their Facebook experience and fill out the day and time that they would like to come with the lead ads schedule appointment feature.


Promote your events and reach people most likely to attend.

If you’re hosting or sponsoring an event, you should consider investing in Facebook to complement your TV spend. You’ll be able to extend the life of your campaigns and reach people in a place they are already spending a large amount of time.

Getting people to your dealership for an event is key. To drive RSVPs, we have ad units such as the events ad or lead ads where you can highlight your event details and collect RSVPs and contact info – right on Facebook.

What’s more, you can complement these events objectives with specific targeting find people within a certain radius, or even retarget people who have engaged with your ad, making it very captivating for promotions and collecting RSVPs.  If you want to expand your reach beyond retargeting and engagement, using lookalike audiences will help extend your reach to find incremental attendees.

When it comes to creative for your events, the assets you use on Facebook don’t have to be complex.  When you’re collecting RSVPs for an event, make sure you highlight what’s going to be great about that event in your creative. Will your event have a bounce house for kids?  Highlight that to parents in your target audience.  Is there a popular local influencer you have access to? Have them help by filming a video on their phone asking people to come out to the event.  If your targeting is accurate, your creative can help tell the story.

Support your next event with Facebook’s options to track RSVPs. Target the right audience and do so at a fraction of the cost of traditional media outlets.

Now, this is where I turn it over to you.  Take action on these four strategies to ensure you’re creating a chance to interact with shoppers at every stage of their auto shopping journey.  Don’t wait for the purchase intent, create it!  Auto buyers have an increased appetite to do more online, and the more you can optimize your content for online audiences and reach them in a personalized way, the more you’ll create a seamless experience in every stage of the path to purchase—discovery, evaluation, purchase and post-purchase.


*“Global Auto Consumer Journey Study” by Accenture (Facebook-commissioned online study of 8,984 people ages 18+ in the US, CA, UK, FR, DE, BR, IN, ID, AU), Jun–Jul 2018.


 By: Gabrielle Garrison - Digital Dealer


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