Advertise Like Canada: How Dealerships Can Overcome Facebook’s Data Limitations

Advertise Like Canada: How Dealerships Can Overcome Facebook’s Data Limitations

Are you tired of hearing the words “data” and “Facebook” used together in the news almost daily?

While it appears that the Facebook data saga won’t be ending anytime soon, one thing is clear: American auto dealers need to know how to properly target their Facebook campaigns without the third-party data that was previously available.

So what does that look like? Funny you should ask. We held a webinar on October 23, 2018, to show you can you can target your Facebook ads without this data. Watch the recording here »

But first…

…A Quick Recap

Back in March 2018, Facebook announced it would be removing Partner Categories completely by October 1, 2018.

I won’t explain all of the events that led to Facebook’s decision to end Partner Categories (third-party) targeting. If you want the complete rundown, take a look at this post.

Basically, Facebook came to the decision that allowing advertisers to have direct access to personal consumer information by ways of third-party data providers was no longer in its best (moral) interests.

Facebook’s announcement obviously made many auto dealers and marketing agencies a little apprehensive, as many were utilizing Partner Categories in their own Facebook campaigns.

Thankfully, we found out that this data isn’t disappearing forever. You are still able to use Polk data and other third-party data to target Facebook ads — the process just looks a little different.

Facebook Targeting Tips from the Great White North

While Americans have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off, not knowing what to do about Partner Categories ending, our friendly neighbors to the north have been cool as cucumbers.

You see, Polk data targeting in Facebook has never been available for Canadian auto dealers and marketing agencies.

Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) blocks the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information for commercial use. Personal information in this case includes an individual’s name, age, income, ethnic origin, opinions, social status, and more.

So how have Canadians worked around these data limitation laws to properly target their Facebook ads?

9 Clouds has worked with many Canadian clients, and we’ve identified three main targeting alternatives to Polk data: interest-based targeting, retargeting campaigns, and Lookalike Audiences.

1. Interest-Based Targeting

The pages that consumers like on Facebook can be a good indication of their interests. By using Facebook’s interest-based targeting option, you can target your ad to people who like pages similar to what you’re advertising.

Interest-based targeting in Facebook

Interest-based targeting has proven successful for many 9 Clouds clients. One client specifically A/B tested third-party data targeting versus interest-based targeting and found that interest-based ads resulted in a lower cost per click (CPC), higher click-through rate (CTR), and more offline conversions that Facebook’s third-party data.  

Gateway Automotive Tests Third-Party Data vs. Interest-Based Data on Facebook

2. Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns are great for reengaging people who have previously expressed interest in your product. To do this, start by creating a Custom Audience.

Retargeting campaigns in Facebook

Then, select people who have viewed a specific page from your website.

Retargeting ads in Facebook

Want to take retargeting a step further? With 9 Clouds’ Cumulus product, we can actually retarget a person with the exact vehicle(s) they viewed on your website!

3. Lookalike Audiences

Get your ad in front of the people who are most like your leads and customers with Lookalike Audiences.

Lookalike Audiences in Facebook

Simply upload a list from your customer relationship management (CRM) system into Facebook, and Facebook will put your ad in front of people most like those in your uploaded list.

You can also create a Lookalike Audience based on your website traffic. No upload is required for this type of Lookalike Audience; as long as you have the Facebook pixel installed, you can create it based on web traffic from the past “x” number of days (typically 30 or 14 days).

Web traffic Lookalike Audience

When using a web traffic Lookalike Audience, your ad will be shown to people most like those who have recently visited your website.

What Do We Do Now?

Targeting ads without third-party data

Facebook doesn’t want to be held responsible when it comes to third-party data, which is why it has implemented a new system that requires advertisers to opt in to the use of data from third-party data providers like Oracle Data Cloud.

Advertisers (including 9 Clouds and our clients) can access this data again by consulting with third-party data providers to gain access to these audiences, and then accept the terms and conditions for using these audiences within Ads Manager. 

It should also be noted that marketers and dealerships will not be given a list of individuals; rather, they will be given the ability to target these audiences en masse only.

As of today, the United States has not passed any type of legislation that would forbid advertisers from accessing consumer data through third-party data providers.

. . . But that doesn’t mean it will never happen.

What we do know is that if any law should pass that would restrict the use of third-party data, American auto dealers and advertisers can feel confident knowing they can still properly target Facebook campaigns using the options outlined above.

Keep Up with the Data Conversation

The third-party data conversation isn’t over yet. At 9 Clouds, we continue to test different Facebook targeting options in order to find out which targeting combinations provide the best results for our clients.

We also held a free auto marketing webinar, where we walked through how to target Facebook ads for auto dealers without third-party data to help you make the most of your marketing dollars.

When the next big (or small) announcement regarding third-party data and Facebook is available, you can be sure we’ll share what it means and how it will affect auto dealers’ digital marketing strategies.

Want some help figuring out the best targeting options for your dealership’s Facebook campaigns? Click below to learn about ways to improve your online ad performance and presence.