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The amount of information available on Facebook is mind boggling.
Sure, lots of it is baby pictures and Biden memes these days, but the facts people share about themselves — things like marital status, alma mater, and shopping interests — are incredibly valuable to marketers. And now, Facebook has released another tool allowing marketers to utilize this wealth of data on another level.
It’s called Offline Events, and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: an offline conversion tool that allows advertisers to see how many customers made purchases in-store or offline after seeing a Facebook ad.
Because the tool is fairly new, we want to explain how to use it, and how we envision this benefiting those in the auto industry.
What are Offline Events?
The Facebook Pixel significantly changed how marketers tracked web traffic and conversions, but this still didn’t help auto dealers determine if a Facebook ad resulted in a test drive or, ultimately, a sale.
If you run a carousel ad on Facebook and then a customer comes to the store to purchase their vehicle, how do you connect the ROI?
Offline Events removes a lot of that second guessing.
The new tool allows you to upload a file from your customer relationship management (CRM) software so Facebook can match the users who were shown your ad to offline events. It creates a fuller picture of your conversions using data shared by users on their profiles and Polk data that's already built into Facebook.
How Do I Set Up Offline Event Tracking?
Anyone attempting to use Facebook Offline Events needs to use Business Manager. If you haven’t put your dealership’s pages in a Facebook Business Manager account yet, start here first and then circle back to this post.
Getting Started in Business Manager
There’s some important info to read before you hit Accept. I highly recommend you actually read it versus blindly clicking. Always.
You must name the offline event set and you can add a description before connecting an ad account. If you’ve got multiple ad accounts in your Business Manager make sure you pick the correct one the first time around.
The last step is to turn on auto-tracking for an existing campaign. Turning this on will automatically track offline events for that ad account for existing and future campaigns.
Uploading Offline Sales Events
Now that you’re set to run offline events, you need to actually upload a .csv or .txt file from your CRM, and build an offline sales event. The identifiers you pull from your CRM to distinguish offline events are the same you would use to create a custom audience.
You don’t need to include all of the identifiers, but the more data you provide, the better your chances of matching. After you decide which identifiers to use, Facebook will give you a check box to verify the data is good-to-go, and then you can click “done” to approve the offline event set.
Starting to Track Offline Events
Next up, you’ll need to assign your offline events set to an ad. Offline tracking will show under pixel tracking at the ad level in Power Editor, but it will not be a default setting!
Generating Offline Event Reports
Once you start using offline events, you’ll want to start reporting the results. This, you’ll find in the customized columns in your Business Manager.
Under the “offline” column, you can see the actions, cost per actions, and value of the actions.
How Will Offline Event Tracking Benefit my Dealership?
Our agency hasn't been shy about how much we love Facebook advertising. Out of an average 24 touchpoints on the road to an automotive purchase, 19 are digital. We've seen the power Facebook holds on that journey.
Offline event tracking allows automotive marketers to connect the dots between those online touchpoints and the final 5. You can capture how Facebook ads create real-life results, making it easier than ever to strategize your online campaigns (and improve sales).
Offline event tracking is just one of the new tools digital marketers will be using in the next year. Sign-up for our next webinar to learn about the auto marketing trends gaining popularity in 2017 and learn how to use those trends, thoughtfully, in your own marketing campaigns.
Photo credit: Michelle Milla