Our Top 8 Targeting Tips for Automotive Facebook Ads in 2023

Our Top 8 Targeting Tips for Automotive Facebook Ads in 2023

This shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you: Meta (Facebook and Instagram) ads still dominate!

As we took a look at our top posts from last year, we saw that Meta ads remained central in the conversation of automotive digital marketing.

Turning the corner into 2024, dealerships are continuing to sharpen their marketing tactics on Meta.

If you’re like us, your marketing team probably spends a good amount of time planning and building the perfect Meta 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 Meta marketing tips to help you launch your ads on the right road in 2024.

Image courtesy of HubSpot
Image credit: HubSpot

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 Meta ads but also for all aspects of your inbound marketing.

Before you even begin creating a Meta ad, decide which area of your sales funnel it is intended to reach. How will this campaign guide the buyer’s journey and help you prove ROI?

These questions will help you choose which campaign objectives, audiences, formats, placements, and content to use.

Choosing a more specific audience allows you to choose more relevant content.

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?

Meta 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 metrics, click-through rate (CTR), and cost per click (CPC). Learn more about these (and more) Meta advertising benchmarks in our free Performance Benchmarks Report.

3. Utilize Your CRM Data

Meta advertising isn’t only reserved for attracting new customers to your store.

Recent leads and past purchasers in your CRM are more likely to resonate with your dealership’s message than a stranger, as they’ve already expressed interest in you!

For example, if you are trying to sell the newest Ford truck on your lot, consider incorporating a custom audience of past Ford truck purchasers into your targeting.

There are many more ways to integrate your CRM data into your Meta marketing.

4. Throw Hyper-Targeting into the Mix

While you’re including custom audiences into your targeting (see 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 Meta 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.

Exclude employees from Facebook ads

5. Prevent Unnecessary Clicks

That person who just purchased a vehicle from your dealership last week likely won’t be in-market for a while. So why would they want to see your ad? (Answer: they don’t!)

Exclude this customer (and others like them) by uploading your recent sales lists into Meta offline events. From here you can exclude this audience from your Meta ads.

This will prevent paying for unnecessary clicks and allow you to focus your money where it really counts.

Meta 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 Meta, 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.

Meta ad placements are the platforms and networks where your ads get displayed. When advertising on Meta, your ad placement has a big impact on cost.

Meta’s default ad settings will run your ad on its Audience Network, both Facebook news feeds (desktop and mobile), Instagram, and Messenger. While Meta 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 Meta campaigns to see which version works better.

We’ve found that photos from the dealership will get significantly more engagement than stock images from the manufacturer.

But testing can go beyond the ad itself. Meta 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 Meta), you still have a pony in the race.

The chassis carries the body of the car, and is classified as car or truck.

8. When In Doubt, Use Multiple Audiences

Since SAA audiences are a thing of the past, Meta advertisers have a bit of a harder time finding the right targeting for their campaigns. 

Whichever tactics you choose within Ads Manager, your automotive Meta ad targeting should always be intentional. You don’t want to “wear out” your core audience by using the same targeting every month. So, why not use multiple audiences (and do more testing)? 

One of the great things you can do with Meta campaigns is diversifying your ad sets. With these ad sets, you can incorporate specific detail targeting without limiting the overall audience who sees your ads. You can incorporate specific categories that people have shown interest in. 

Let’s give an example: You decide to do a Meta campaign for used trucks on your lot. You could create one ad set with an audience who shows interest in vehicles with four wheel drive, trucks and a broad interest in the automobile industry. You then could incorporate another ad set targeted to job interests such as agriculture or construction. 

Turn those ad sets on and see which audiences work best for that campaign. That way, you can incorporate those results into a similar Meta campaign you run in the future.

How to Reach Your Core Audience with Meta Ads

Those are just a handful of our insider tips for targeting your automotive Meta ads. We hope you found them useful!

We have plenty more on our site, too. Read more of our recent posts on Meta advertising for auto dealers, and, as always, contact us if you have any questions.

If you’re ready to achieve real results with a trusted digital marketing partner, contact us for a custom digital marketing proposal for your dealership.

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Here are our top targeting tips for auto dealers looking to see real results with Facebook (Meta) ads in 2024.