Our Top 8 Targeting Tips for Automotive Facebook Ads in 2021
This shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you: Facebook ads still dominate!
As we took a look at our top posts from last year, we saw that Facebook ads remained central in the conversation of automotive digital marketing.
Turning the corner into 2021, dealerships are continuing to sharpen their marketing tactics on Facebook.
If you’re like us, your marketing team probably spends a good amount of time planning and building the perfect Facebook ads, so it’s important to understand the ins and outs of this powerful platform.
Whether you’re a car-marketing beginner or a seasoned conversion-optimizing pro, here are just a few of our high-impact Facebook marketing tips to help you launch your ads on the right road in 2021.
1. Follow the Funnel
We’re putting the big one first.
The sales funnel model isn’t just for sales. In fact, every campaign we’ve ever launched at 9 Clouds is purposefully aligned to the top, middle, or bottom area of the funnel.
It’s hard to overstate how important this alignment is — not only for your Facebook ads, but also for all aspects of your inbound marketing.
These questions will help you choose which campaign objectives, audiences, formats, placements, and content to use.
2. Match Your Inventory to Known Demographics
You already know everything there is to know about your product, so why not spend some time learning about the people who buy it?
Facebook is packed with targeting tools that allow you to reach the right demographic at the right time.
Show the right vehicles to the right people at the right time, and you’ll find a healthy boost in relevance score, click-through rate (CTR), and cost per click (CPC). Learn more about these (and more) Facebook advertising benchmarks in our free annual report. »
3. Exclude Unengaged Age Groups
People aged 18 to 22 represent a large portion of social media users — but they’re likely a much smaller portion of customers at your dealership.
Use this to your advantage, and exclude them from your Facebook targeting.
Dealership managers are often hesitant to exclude certain groups of people from their marketing like this. When all you want to do is sell as many cars as possible, it just doesn’t feel right to forgo large swaths of people.
However, choosing more specific groups of people will allow you to make better decisions regarding the content of your ads. Plus, research has shown that this increase in relevance will likely result in a decrease in CPC on Facebook.
If your goal is to sell more cars, you need more quality leads. Take a dive into your sales list, and you’ll find some trends.
You’ll also see groups of people whom you don’t need to target. For example, younger generations aren’t usually interested in buying new cars until they have families.
To verify these findings at your dealership, we recommend split-testing various age groups to see how they compare in engagement and cost within your market.
4. Throw Hyper-Targeting into the Mix
While you’re eliminating unengaged groups from your audience (see the previous tip), you might want to consider taking it a step further by hyper-targeting some ads to people in more specific situations.
What if, for example, you wrote a blog post about the best cars for new parents, and then you linked that blog post to a Facebook ad shown only to new parents? What if you did the same for dog owners?
These are great ways to reach a higher relevance score on your ads, which would, in turn, lower your CPC — and yield more clicks with less money.
Of course, your dealership marketing team likely doesn’t have time to write hyper-specific blog posts for every category of person in your market, but it doesn’t hurt to start with one or two of your known high-value groups.
5. Prevent Unnecessary Clicks
Use job employer and job title targeting to exclude your dealership’s employees and competitors.
This will prevent paying for unnecessary clicks and allow you to focus your money where it really counts.
Facebook has some great tips for tailoring your audience by excluding certain criteria. Not only does this lower your CPC, it also reduces the money spent on wasted clicks and allows you to reach more people who are more likely to benefit from your ad.
6. Mind Your Placements
On Facebook, targeting isn’t just about the qualities of the person being targeted; it’s also about the specific platform on which the person will see your ad.
Facebook ad placements are the platforms and networks where your ads get displayed. When advertising on Facebook, your ad placement has a big impact on cost.
Facebook’s default ad settings will run your ad on its Audience Network, both Facebook news feeds (desktop and mobile), Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. While Facebook recommends running your ads everywhere within its ecosystem, the CPC can vary by as much as 550%, so tread wisely.
Each of these platforms offers unique benefits, and we recommend tailoring every ad to the specific platform where it will be seen.
7. Test Weird Things
In digital marketing, insights are important. Our team constantly split-tests Facebook campaigns to see which version works better.
For example, our team discovered that using no call-to-action (CTA) button on a carousel ad will get more clicks than using one of the built-in CTA buttons (such as “Shop Now” or “Learn More”). It’s true — we even wrote a blog post about it!
We’ve also found that photos from the dealership will get significantly more engagement than stock images from the manufacturer.
But testing also goes beyond the ad itself. Facebook can see what people do after they click your ad. In fact, your destination pages also have an impact on ad performance — so test them out to see what works best!
Little tests like these can make a big impact on how you optimize your dealership’s campaigns over time.
A/B testing also prevents you from putting all your eggs in one basket. If one of your ads falls on its face (or gets rejected by Facebook), you still have a pony in the race.
8. Fix Your Reach With Special Ad Audiences
Automotive Facebook ad targeting should always be intentional, but sometimes it can be tough to rely only on interests or demographic information. You don’t want to “wear out” your core audience by using the same targeting every month.
Facebook Ads Manager offers Special Ads Audiences (SAAs) to help your dealership reach more people who are likely to interact with your ads.
Just like Lookalike Audiences, SAAs can be based on your website traffic or lists that you upload into Ads Manager.
How to Reach Your Core Audience with Facebook Ads
Those are just a handful of our insider tips for targeting your automotive Facebook ads. We hope you found them useful! If you’re looking for more, MobileMonkey has a great eBook listing seven actionable Facebook ad tips for 2020.
We have plenty more on our site, too. Read more of our recent posts on Facebook advertising for auto dealers, and, as always, contact us if you have any questions.
Want to dive deep into Facebook advertising for auto dealers? Check out one of our most popular eBooks, Facebook Advertising for Auto Dealers, where we take a close look at Facebook ad tips and tricks for dealerships.