Facebook ads are a powerful tool for dealerships. And it’s no wonder why. Facebook is now reporting 1.8 billion daily active users. In fact, 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, which means that it’s no longer enough to share pictures and boost posts—there’s too much opportunity here not to take advantage of it.

And yet, 55% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are ineffective. These are people who spend their entire day working on marketing promotions, and they still aren’t mastering it. If we had to take a stab at why, we’d probably say it has a lot to do with ineffective targeting.

Here’s what you need to know: It doesn’t matter how good your ads are, whether you advertise, what your prices are or if your dealership is stuffed to the gills with technology and inventory. If you aren’t aiming at the right targets, you aren’t going to find much success.


That’s right, if you aren’t targeting your efforts, you’ll get nothing.

If you want real, explosive Facebook results, then you must focus on a target, take careful aim and pour all of your efforts into reaching that specific audience. Luckily, Facebook allows you to do just that.

The difference between good targeting and bad targeting can really mean success or failure in Facebook. In fact, in our experience, as much as 50% of the effectiveness of your marketing is a direct result of effective targeting, which is why it’s so important for you to understand how to use targeting within Facebook to get the most opportunity from your advertising spend. Facebook offers specific settings within their ads manager that allow you to specify your targets and increase the effectiveness of your marketing.


To the disappointment of many advertisers and small businesses, Facebook removed a lot of their targeting options, including In-Market Opportunities. This sent a lot of dealerships into a panic, but there are still plenty of ways to effectively target customers in Facebook, and some of them are even more effective at helping dealers grow than the In-Market Opportunities were.

Here Are The 5 Targeting Strategies You MUST Use In Your Facebook Campaigns

#1: Mass Market Opportunities


You might be wondering why, when we’re talking about using targeting to narrow your audience, we would recommend using Facebook to take advantage of mass-market opportunities?

It’s because of The Miracle Of The Car Business. The Miracle Of The Car business is that everyone would like to drive a Nicer, Newer® car than the one they’re driving right now. Everyone. Why? Because your car is a status symbol. It announces to the world who you are and what you have achieved. Not to mention that Americans spend, on average, 293 hours in their cars every year. If you’ve gotta spend that much time in one place, wouldn’t you like it to be just a little bit nicer? Of course you would!

And yet only about 2% of the population in any given area is actually shopping for a new vehicle. When you’re advertising on Google and using third-party websites to promote your dealership, you’re talking to this tiny sliver of the pie. You’re also reaching these people when you use Facebook’s in-market targeting.

The best part? No one is talking to these people, so when you market to them, you become the only, obvious choice.

And Facebook is the perfect way to do this because Facebook ads are disruptive. They show up in your audience’s News Feed while they're scrolling through baby pictures and cat videos and present them with the perfect opportunity to get what they want—not to mention the aspect of social pressure to keep up with the Joneses.

Simply put, targeting is about finding the right audience to put your message in front of, so if everyone would like to drive a Nicer, Newer® car, then it makes sense to get your message in front of the 98% of the market who are not shopping but are dreaming of upgrading their vehicle.

But how do you find the right people? Using Facebook’s geo-targeting and demographics, you can narrow the audience by distance, age, income and more. It’s best to choose a reasonable distance you think customers will travel to your dealership, which can vary wildly based on your location.

If you’re going to leverage mass-market opportunities in Facebook, make sure you exclude in-market shoppers from these campaigns because the offers and messaging will need to be different to attract these two very different types of prospects.


#2: Retargeting


Another benefit of advertising in Facebook is retargeting. Retargeting is a form of online advertising where ads are served specifically to people who recently visited your website. Facebook allows you to retarget customers by adding pixels to your website.

When a user visits your website, the pixel tracks their movement around the web and allows you to serve ads to them. Then when they visit Facebook, your ads will show up in their News Feed.

A prospect who recently visited your site has an increased chance of becoming a lead, if they haven’t already. And if they haven’t, it’s likely because they didn’t find what they were looking for. A good strategy for reaping the rewards of retargeting is to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Adapt your message to answer questions and overcome objections they might have. Could it have been that they didn’t find a specific vehicle? Try showing them ads with new arrivals.

#3: Sold Customers

Facebook’s targeting functionality also allows you to upload lists of customers who have bought from you in the past. It will then use the information you have uploaded to match your list with user’s profiles in their database. When you do this, you can create a custom audience of your existing customer base. This allows you to serve them additional offers and maintain the relationship over time.


#4: Lookalike Audiences


Let big data do the work of finding new prospects for you. Not only does Facebook allow you to use your own sold list to create a custom audience for ads, it also lets you match the behaviors of people on your sold list with other people in your area.

That means you can create a custom audience of people who are demonstrating the same behaviors as people who have recently bought from you but who haven’t purchased a car yet.

#5: Custom Lists

Not only can you upload your sold lists to create lookalike audiences, but you can use this house list as a targeting mechanism itself with Custom Lists. Upload past customers and then serve them promotions to drive business to your service department. Or, pull your past customers from 3-5 years ago and start talking to them about the opportunity to upgrade to a Nicer, Newer® vehicle. Even though they may not have put themselves back in the market for a vehicle yet, you can pull them into the market by serving them compelling offers that make them want to take action now.

If you keep track of No Show Appointments and Unsolds, you can also upload these as custom lists so you can get another at-bat with them before they move on to another dealership, increasing the likelihood they’ll buy from you.


What's Next?


If you use these strategies you can generate A LOT more leads and a ton of additional traffic, but is Facebook the best place for you to spend your advertising dollars? Is it the right choice for your dealership? And if so, then how much should you be spending on these efforts? And which of these strategies are the best for your business?

That’s a lot of loaded, and very important, questions.

Faced with tough decisions like these, many dealers make the decision to put a little bit of money in Facebook, a little in Google, some on third-party listing sites, a little on radio or TV. Throw in an offsite sale or a direct mail piece for fun and you’ve got all you’re bases covered, right? Now you’re everywhere, achieving the perfect "media mix" to get the most bang for your buck. Or are you?

We say NO! This is a huge mistake. And probably one of the most frequent blunders we see in the business.

If you’re doing a little bit of everything, then you aren’t making an impact anywhere. In order to make an impact in any media, you need to reach a certain frequency. If you aren’t reaching that frequency, you might as well not be present at all.

Instead of creating small piles of ad spend in multiple media options, rake it all into one big pile and dominate a single media first.


Why Do It This Way?

It may seem contrary to how you’ve traditionally established your advertising budget over the years, but the thing is that marketing effectiveness builds with impressions. What we mean by this is that each time someone hears your ad, it makes a bigger and bigger impact on them.

In fact, the impact of your ad builds exponentially because as you increase frequency, you increase recognition. And when you increase recognition, you increase the impact your ad will have, making each additional commercial more and more effective than the last.


But where do you start?

The truth is that there is no universal prescription for what media you should start with and at what budget. It varies widely based on your location, goals, and how fast you want to see results.

To get more information on setting up your marketing plan and a specialized recommendation for your dealership, request your FREE consultative analysis with one of our advisors. Just email Advisors@TrafficInstitute.com.

Email An Advisor Today!