How To Use Facebook & Instagram Ads For Automotive Dealers

How To Use Facebook & Instagram Ads For Automotive Dealers

With all the new Facebook and Instagram ad targeting options for automotive dealers, you need a “cheat sheet” to remember all the available options!  We’ve been testing this platform for automotive dealerships with stellar results.  Here are the basics you should know if this is an important vertical for you, and you can print it out and use for a handy reference.  (In this post we’ll just cover display options but remember video ads are also available.  Also, if you are looking for an overview of Facebook advertising click here.)

In the “Automotive” behavioral category we can break down the following areas:

  1. New Vehicle Buyers (“near market” thinking about buying in the next year)
  2. New Vehicle Shoppers (“in market” looking to within next 180 days)
  3. Owners
  4. Purchase Type
  5. Used Vehicle Buyers (in the market to buy now)
  6. Motorcycle

Under each of these broad categories we can then get very specific.  For example:

1. New Vehicle Buyers – we can target people considering buying in the next 365 days and target by:

“Style” which includes the following 12 options –

  • Crossover
  • Economy/Compact
  • Full-Size SUV
  • Full-Size Sedan
  • Hybrid/Alternative Fuel
  • Luxury SUV
  • Luxury Sedan
  • Midsize Car
  • Minivan
  • Pickup Truck
  • Small/Midsize SUV
  • Sports Car/Convertible

2. New Vehicle Shoppers – we can target people who are considering a new vehicle purchase within the next 180 days and target by:

  • “Make” includes 33 options – basically every car brand out there from Acura to Volvo.
  • “Model” includes 50 options covering exact car model names, i.e. Ford Escape, Toyota Prius, etc.
  • “Style” includes the 12 options listed above for New Vehicle Buyers.

3. Owners – we can target current car owners by the following subcategories:

  • “Aftermarket” targets people who are likely to buy auto parts, services or accessories.
  • “Make” targets people based on the make of the car in their household.
  • “Purchased” targets people based on how recently they purchased their current vehicle – from 0-6 months on up to 48 months+.
  • “Style” includes the 12 options listed above for New Vehicle Buyers.
  • “Vehicle Age” targets people based on the age of the vehicle in their household which is a great way to reach consumers likely to be in the market to buy.  Target vehicle age from less than 1 year old all the way up to 20+ years old (they REALLY need a new car!).
  • “Vehicle Price” targets people based on the price of their current car – everything from under $20,000 to $75,000+.

4. Purchase Type – we can target people who are likely to buy or lease a car based on the following broader characteristics:

  • “Buy New”
  • “Buy Used”
  • “Buy New Or Used”
  • “Lease”

And these can be targeted to people “in market” meaning they intend to buy in the next 180 days or “near market” meaning people who are looking to buy in the next 365 days.

5. Used Vehicle Buyers (in the market to buy now) – we can target people who are likely to buy a used vehicle within the next 180 days. You can further narrow this category to:

  • “Make” includes the 33 options listed above for New Vehicle Buyers
  • “Style” includes the 12 options listed above for New Vehicle Buyers

6. Motorcycle – we can target people by:

  • “Owners” targets users based on the type of motorcycle they drive including domestic, foreign, Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, ATV, etc.
  • “Purchased” target people based on how recently they bought a motorcycle from 0-6 months up to over 48+ months and also whether it was new or used when they bought it.

So where do Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) get all of this valuable targeting information?  There are several ways.  One way is from people’s Facebook accounts; your profile, your history, etc.  Other ways include partnerships with data mining companies like Datalogix which uses Polk, a marketing company that collects registration data from DMVs across the country.  (All of the major car manufacturers work with Polk, owned by IHS which also owns CARFAX.)

Custom Audiences With Email Or Phone List Matching

Facebook and Instagram can even take an existing email or phone list that an automotive dealer has and match that list to active Facebook or Instagram users and show them the dealer’s ad.  What a great way to reach your qualified targets!  We can take it a step further with “Lookalike Audiences.”  This allows you to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar in characteristics to those on your email or phone list.  Facebook creates a targeting list of the top 1% of users that most closely match your existing list of customers or prospects.

Suggested Types Of Ads For Automotive Dealerships On Facebook And Instagram

Facebook Carousel Car AdThere are many ad types available for automotive dealers to utilize on Facebook and Instagram.  One of the most popular being the “News Feed Ads which appear in a user’s feed either on desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile, as a sponsored ad.

These can be static ads or “Carousel Ads” (see left) which allow the dealer to showcase up to 5 different images in one ad and have higher engagement rates.  These ads can be targeted to any of the above criteria and geo-targeted to the city, zip, county or radius you want. Or, see below for how you can use your own database of email addresses or phone numbers to target those people on their Facebook pages.

Facebook Location Awareness Car Ad “Location Awareness Ads” on Facebook (only) feature a “call now” or “get directions” button in the car dealer’s ad and run on mobile devices.  These ads are location based (i.e. “Geo-Fencing”) rather than behaviorally based and can be targeted to a certain mile radius around a dealer’s location.  (These ads can run on mobile or desktops but are static ads not available in Carousel format.)

“Lead Ads” are a new offering on Facebook (only) for people on their smartphones (not available on desktop) to easily request more information from the automotive dealership.  They provide a simpler way for people to fill out forms on their mobile devices.  Lead Ads can be used to collect information from consumers who want price quotes, follow-up calls and other info.  You can fully customize your form with open-ended questions, multiple choice questions about the cars they are interested in and contact fields that pre-populate with a person’s contact info.

Facebook Car Lead AdThere are several Call-To-Action buttons that can be selected like “Learn More” or even “Get Quote” or “Apply Now” that would be great for automotive dealership ads.

When a person clicks on a Lead Ad, they are taken to an on-Facebook form where they can edit and confirm their pre-populated information.

The advertiser can then access these leads from their Facebook page admin.  Lead Ads look just like regular New Feed static ads but have the different Call-To-Action button.  (These are static ads not available in Carousel format.)

“Dynamic Product Ads” on Facebook (only) allow you to retarget people who have browsed car inventory and show them ads for the specific vehicle they were looking at on your website, in a News Feed ad on their Facebook page.  We can connect the dealership’s ad inventory feed to their Facebook ads, creating a template ad that will insert the correct inventory product automatically into the News Feed ad.

The Facebook and Instagram platforms are continually changing and updating but this overview will give you the basics on how you can use it effectively for your auto dealership.

Share this post