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7 Next-Level Targeting Strategies for Car Dealerships

Facebook can be a great tool for car dealerships, but without the right targeting strategy, a great ad can fall flat. 


Most dealers have been told that, when it comes to Facebook and Instagram, it’s all about “Likes.”  Unfortunately, the automotive dealership community seems to be completely ignoring the unbelievable opportunity available through social media advertising.  The ability to target your desired clients with surgical precision has never been better, and dealerships that take advantage of this are going to do best in the next decade.

Here are 7 great ways for car dealers to target prospects using Facebook and Instagram advertising.

1. Target people who are on your manifest lists. 

You know those manifest lists you get every month? You know, the one your OEM rep insists you should, “Download them immediately and have your BDC call all 2,353 of these people ASAP!  They’re in market!”  Well one thing’s for sure… your BDC is probably not calling all these people.  But you CAN use these lists to target people in Facebook.  And this is actually a great strategy, since people who are on the manifest lists are considered “in-market” based on the OEMs web tracking.  The data from your manifest lists can be uploaded into Facebook’s Ads Manager and used as a “Custom Audience,” which will allow you to show your Ads to the people on the list.

2. Target people who are currently in market.

Facebook knows, based on someone’s browsing history, whether they’re in market or not!  You can push your offers to people based on this information.

3. Retarget your website visitors.  

OK this one’s a no brainer.  If someone visits your website while they’re logged into their Facebook account, then you have the ability to “remarket” to them through Facebook and Instagram (assuming you know what you’re doing).  This means that, if someone visits your website, you can target them when they later switch back to Facebook.  And if that wasn’t brilliant enough, you can also target other people who share common traits with your website visitors by creating a “Lookalike Audience.”  Brilliant.

4. Retarget your Facebook visitors.

The beauty of Facebook ads is that you can market to people many times and strategically show them different offers at different times.  For instance, you can market to people with a photo set of different vehicles, and then “retarget” them the next day with an offer.  In this way, you’re giving yourself an advantage over your competitors.  This is also a key distinction between advertising your vehicles on Facebook vs. 3rd party sites like Autotrader, Cars.com and Cargurus.  While those sites are great at attracting customers, each dealer is being represented alongside all of their competitors.  For most dealers, competition typically means lower profits.  Contrarily, Facebook allows you to speak directly to your target audience on a platform your competitors probably are not using, giving you the opportunity to set yourself apart from the pack and capture your prospect’s attention when the competition isn’t looking.

If you’re interested in learning how to remarket to (or “retarget”) people who have visited your website or your Facebook page, let’s talk!

5. Target people who have an affinity for particular brands. 

Do you sell Chevys?  Then you can target people on Facebook who have expressed interest in Chevy, GMC, Ford, Dodge, and other brands.  Sell mostly pickup trucks?  You can target people who are interested in pickup trucks.

6. Target people who can afford your product.  

Facebook targeting parameters allow you to get very “granular” about who your ads target.  So, let’s say you are a BMW dealership and want to sell more 3, 5 and 7 Series vehicles.  You can create separate ads within Facebook and push them to people who fit into your desired income demographics.  For instance, ads for 3 Series can be targeted to people 28 and older making greater than 75K per year, 5 Series to people 40 and older making greater than $150K per year, and 7 Series to only people who make greater than $250K per year and read the “Robb Report.”

7. Target people who need your product. 

Have a great deal on an SUV this month?  You can create an ad in Facebook which allows you to target parents with children of all different ages.  You can even tighten the targeting parameters by showing the ad only to parents Facebook deems to be “in market.”  These are the people who are most likely to take advantage of your great SUV deal.

At the end of the day, great targeting needs great ad copy, a great offer, and a great funnel.  We can help you put all the pieces together. If you’re interested in learning more, fill out the short form at the bottom of this page and let’s talk!

Click here to learn more about our digital marketing services for car dealerships.

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