It may not seem an immediately obvious conclusion, but a lot of people are using Facebook in their search to buy a car.
I mean, it makes sense, people are using Facebook for almost everything these days, at least in some capacity - but most are probably not aware of just how influential The Social Network can be in the vehicle purchase process.
According to research released by Facebook earlier this year, digital platforms influence some 70% of all auto sales, while social media alone is set to influence 40% of auto sales by 2020. Instagram’s also popular among those looking to buy a car, making Facebook more broadly a key platform for automotive sellers as they look to connect where their customers are active.
Catering to this, Facebook has this week announced two new ad options for auto companies looking to maximize their messaging across platform.
The first addition is Dynamic Ads for Auto.
As explained by Facebook:
“When people are in the market for a car, they want to narrow what they see online to reflect the cars most interesting to them. Facebook dynamic ads for auto allows manufacturers and dealers to upload their vehicle catalog with relevant details such as make, model and year. It then automatically generates ads that show the most compelling inventory to the right audiences - driving them toward vehicle detail pages, lead submission forms or other valuable places.”
Facebook already has similar dynamic ad offerings for other sectors – the system works by utilizing Facebook’s tracking pixel to detect user preferences based on their wider browsing history. So, for example, if you’ve looked up a 2015 Ford Mustang on a dealers’ website and they have the tracking pixel installed, they could serve you ads for the various Mustang models they have available next time you’re on Facebook.
Enabling more specific, personalized targeting could greatly improve the potential of car ads. You’ve already done the work of narrowing down the model/s you’re interested in, Dynamic Ads will help highlight the best offers relative to your interests, likely increasing click-throughs.
Facebook also notes that Dynamic Ads for Auto work across devices – which is important, considering up to 80% of pre-purchase time in the sector is spent on mobile.
Facebook’s also adding ‘Lead Ads for Auto’, which sounds pretty much the same as regular lead ads, though they have added some new features.
As per the regular functionality of Facebook’s Lead Ads:
“Lead ads for auto make it easy for people to sign up for information from your dealership, such as offers and quotes. People are sent to a form that's pre-populated with their relevant contact info, such as their email address. They simply confirm what information they want to share with you, and voila - you have a lead.”
But a new addition to the process is an option to locate your nearest dealer, which will provide directions to help potential buyers more easily connect.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also giving advertisers the capacity to prompt ad viewers to make an appointment, right from the ad. These features will be included in all variations of lead ads, not just auto leads, but they’re a new function, adding to the feature.
It’s an interesting update for auto sellers, and will no doubt open a range of new possibilities. This also comes on the back of Facebook adding a dedicated section for cars in Facebook Marketplace, which could also have extended benefits for new and used auto sellers, dependent on take up.
As noted, digital platforms are becoming more important in the car buying process – if you’re planning out your auto marketing strategy for 2018, it’s definitely worth taking note.