How auto dealers are starting to drive discovery via Facebook
Facebook, the social network with 2.07 billion users worldwide, introduced dynamic ads for the automotive industry, along with updates to lead ads to help identify prospective car buyers, per a blog post. The dynamic ads let carmakers and dealers upload their vehicle catalogs with details such as make, model and year — and then automatically reach a target audience.
Car dealers Cox Automotive and Edmunds provided testimonials touting promising results from the new tools. Facebook's dynamic ads lead users toward vehicle detail pages, lead submission forms and other information. Automotive marketers can make sure their most relevant vehicles are being shown to potential auto buyers, letting salespeople focus on closing the deal.
Facebook's lead ads for the automotive industry let prospective buyers sign up for information from a dealership, such as offers and quotes, without having to fill out a form. Facebook does the work of helping people fill out forms and then asks for approval on what kinds of identifying information they want to share with dealers and manufacturers. Facebook doesn't yet have the ability to tie dynamic ads or lead ads to dealership visits, but that's on the agenda, AdExchanger reported.
The automotive industry spends more money on advertising than most product categories, and Facebook naturally wants a bigger piece of that market. Sixteen of the world's 100 biggest advertisers are in the car business, and they account for 20% of total ad spending worldwide, according to Advertising Age. The U.S. automotive industry will spend $16.32 billion on advertising this year, but only 8.8% of that will go to mobile media, according to a September forecast from researcher BIA/Kelsey. TV, online, news print and radio will get a bigger share of automotive spending, the report estimates.
As consumers spend more time consuming media on mobile devices, auto marketers need to adapt their strategies to reach prospective car buyers through social media and other ad-supported apps. The millennial generation is especially more likely than older generations to use mobile devices while they are in the market for automobiles, according to research compiled by eMarketer.
Facebook wants to position itself as part of the "virtual showroom" experience that engages prospective carbuyers in order to capitalize on this trend. The social network recognizes that people are increasingly doing research online and making purchase decisions before showing up on a dealer's lot. More than half (56%) of car buyers used a smartphone to find automotive information before buying a vehicle, according to the 2017 Car Buyer Journey report cited by Facebook.
Facebook's introduction of dynamic and lead ads for the automotive industry follows last month’s rollout of a Marketplace section dedicated to vehicles. Car owners can list vehicles, along with dealers like Edmunds, Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global and SocialDealer. Buyers can search for vehicles by make, model, mileage, transmission and other information, and also check prices against the standard Kelly's Blue Book. In addition, car buyers can use Messenger bots to connect with dealers in real-time instead of filling out a form and waiting to hear back, TechCrunch reported.