Harnessing the Power of Facebook Ads for Your Dealership

By Shawn Puckett

As of 2021, 4.2 billion people use social media, according to a report by e-commerce networking platform Oberlo. In Q1 2021, Facebook reached 2.8 billion monthly users, which means more than half of all social-media users are on Facebook, making it the most heavily trafficked social site.

With so many people using Facebook, how does a single business – yours – manage to get in front of the right leads? And how do you stand out amid the shuffle of Facebook timelines?

Many businesses choose to grow their online reach on Facebook through the platform’s laser-targeted advertising capabilities. The key to seeing great success on Facebook is to leverage best practices for Facebook Ads, which I’ll outline here.

Let’s first address how Facebook can help in targeting your ideal audience: While a couple billion people log on to Facebook every month, that doesn’t mean your ads go out to the masses at large. In fact, Facebook offers one of the most curated advertising platforms available on the internet. You can use Facebook’s targeting capabilities to your advantage by identifying the important factors of your ideal audience. Are they local? Do they fall within a certain age range? Have they visited your website in the past?

Once you have pinpointed which shoppers make the most likely prospects, you can then advertise to people who embody these characteristics, including: location, age, online behavior, interests and previous website visits.

Write to inspire, and optimize

While you might be tempted to cram copy into your ad to give your audience as much information as possible, your copy should be concise and simple.

Facebook users scroll quickly, so you want to snag their attention with bold, brief messages. Feature pricing and special promos directly in the ad, and keep your ads personable by writing as if you’re addressing one person. If you’re unsure what will resonate strongly with your audience, experiment with A/B testing – use the same image with different messaging, and see which version receives the most engagement.

Facebook ads are not meant to tell a whole story, but rather to get shoppers interested enough to take the next step. Encourage the desired conversion type by focusing on a singular call to action and keep it short and sweet. For instance: “Shop Now,” “Schedule a Test Drive” and “Get a Quote.”

Keep in mind that you can further drive specific conversions based on ad type. Facebook offers multiple advertising formats that can help you achieve a variety of outcomes. Choose the ad type that best aligns with your objective:

  • Photo: Build brand awareness and engage browsers with a clean, simple format;
  • Video: Grab audience attention, build excitement and tell a compelling story;
  • Carousel: Showcase multiple units or highlight multiple features of a single unit; and
  • Collection: Let users browse and shop from the ad, or tap the ad for more info.

Utilize website remarketing

Facebook ads can engage prospects who visit your website first. For example: Imagine that a prospect performs an online search for a new riding lawnmower or subcompact tractor and finds your website. They view a couple inventory listings but are then interrupted – so they abandon the website before they contact your dealership.

 The next day, they are scrolling on Facebook and see an ad from your website, featuring one of the lawnmowers or tractors they had looked at the day before. Now they’re free to thoroughly browse your website to identify which model they like best, and they block out a time to swing by your dealership over the weekend.  

Importantly, Facebook offers transparent metrics for each ad campaign, so there’s no guesswork on how your ads are performing. Each impression, click and conversion is available to your eyes. Take advantage of Facebook’s in-depth analytics to glean information on your ads. Track performance based on timing, keywords and audience demographics. When are you seeing the most interactions? Who is reacting to your content, and what are they looking for?

Facebook can be a goldmine for expanding your brand awareness, tapping into a new market of shoppers and tracking the impact of your marketing efforts. With best practices to optimize the reach and conversion power of your ads, you can harness the power of Facebook and increase your website traffic, your brick-and-mortar foot traffic and your dealership’s sales.

Shawn Puckett is director of product management at ARI Network Services, Inc. (www.arinet.com).

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