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Best Facebook Ads Practices for Auto Dealers

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Facebook advertising has gotten a lot of press lately with the news of General Motors pulling its ads because they were deemed “ineffective.” Despite GM’s decision, Facebook ads remain a strong option for automobile dealers as one the most targeted forms of advertising available today and here’s why…

Facebook collects a ton of information on their users you can leverage to target your audience specifically by sex, age, location, likes, and interests. When you advertise on Facebook you’re actually bidding on the keywords people have in their personal profile. This allows your dealership to target your ads to specific Facebook users. This is the opposite of advertising on Google Adwords where you’re bidding on the keywords people are searching for that moment. The caveat however is many of the people you’re targeting are not in the market for a new or used car when they see your Facebook ad. Going for the sale right away is where a lot of automobile dealers go wrong when advertising on Facebook.

The idea here is to grow a community of people you can build a long-term relationship with so when they are ready to buy, your dealership is the first thing that comes to mind. Your Facebook advertising strategy should be designed for your target market to “like” your Facebook page or opt in to your email list so you can market to them on a continuous basis. Because Facebook advertising can be so confusing, I’ve come up with seven best practices any automobile dealership can follow to increase the ROI of their Facebook marketing campaigns.

1. Avoid ad blindness

This is one of the BIGGEST mistakes auto dealers make when running Facebook advertising campaigns. Because you’re showing your ads to a targeted group of people, the same people keep seeing your ad over and over. To correct this problem you’ll want to rotate several different images with your ads and change up the ad copy in order to keep your ads fresh.

2. Split-test your ads

If you’re going to rotate your ads you’ll want to split test them to find the highest converting ad. Too many auto dealers simply run the same tired ad over and over again. With no ROI to show they declare “Facebook advertising doesn’t work!” When split testing your ads, be sure to only change one variable at a time. Run your ads at similar times of the day, with similar bids and for same length of time.

3. “Sponsored Stories”

User sponsored story ads are relatively new to Facebook advertising but they are very powerful because they allow you to increase the effect of News Feed stories. In fact, many advertisers are seeing much higher click-through-rates, brand lift and ad recall over basic Facebook Engagement ads. Sponsored Stories work so well because these they act as “word of mouth” advertising as users see brands their friends have already “liked”.

4. Keep people in Facebook

For the most part advertising your Facebook page rather than your dealer site is the best way to leverage Facebook ads. The simple fact is when someone clicks on a Facebook ad you know they are an active Facebook user and part of your target market. As I said before, the point behind Facebook advertising is to build a community of raving fans through which you can build strong relationships. However, if you’re attempting to build your email list or promote a specific sales offer, it’s perfectly acceptable to send your Facebook traffic to those pages on your site.

5. Promote Facebook contests

Contests are a great way to grow your Facebook community. One way to increase the amount of entries you get is to promote your contest with Facebook ads. Leverage Facebook ads along with your email list to increase your contests conversion rates. Another way to help promote your contest is to change your timeline image and profile Photo to promote your contest.

6. Keep your ad copy simple

Facebook ads are very visually driven. It’s best to keep the copy in your ads very short and to the point. The ads with the best click-through-rates are short, simple and relevant. You’ll also want to be sure every ad has a call to action such as “click ‘like’” or “enter now”.

7. Keep your fans engaged

What good is having 10,000 “likes” if none of your fans engage with your brand? If you’re looking for more engagement crafting Facebook ads to re-engage your fan base is a great way to increase interaction and naturally grow additional likes of your page. You would be much better off with a small number of “likes” yet a more engaged fan base.

Facebook ads are very powerful and targeted ways to advertise your dealership when done properly. Implementing just a few of these recommendations will get you on the right track with your Facebook advertising campaign.

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Bill Parlaman is the Director of Digital Marketing For Stream Companies.