10 Sep Auto retail sees growth in non-traditional platforms like F…
The idea of car dealers using alternative channels to broaden the reach of their inventory listings and increase their online presence is nothing new.
In fact, dealers have been using services like eBay Motors and similar portals for years — if not decades.
However, the online vehicle listing space is growing, meshing with social media and online shopping channels not traditionally thought of as automotive.
Take Facebook, for example.
In one of a series of dealer-related upgrades, Facebook is beta-testing an automotive inventory ad integration with CDK Global, a partnership that Facebook says will be the first one to include automotive inventory integration with Facebook ads.
“Dealers can now automatically and seamlessly connect their entire vehicle inventory to run AIA directly from their Facebook account,” a company spokesperson said in an outline of the upgrades shared with Auto Remarketing via email in August.
“For dealers who are using CDK for their website service, this will also automate the pixel implementation required for AIA,” the spokesperson said, referring to the acronym for automotive inventory ads.
In another upgrade, dealers can now manually create vehicle catalogs for auto inventory ads on Facebook instead of having to upload a data feed.
Now, the dealer just has to complete a form with the vehicle information to launch a catalog, Facebook explained in the outline of the upgrades. This will be especially helpful to smaller stores, the company said.
Another upgrade: Companies in the automotive industry will be able to have a unified catalog for automotive inventory ads and for Marketplace.
“We’re now enabling businesses in the automotive vertical (dealerships, portals, business-to-business software providers) to leverage a unified catalog to list their vehicle inventory on Marketplace and advertise on Facebook,” the company spokesperson said in the outline. “This is significant because it enables businesses to easily upload and maintain their inventory on Facebook in one place. Previously, the same business would need separate catalogs.”
Lastly, it was announced earlier this year that car shoppers who use the Facebook app now have access to free Carfax reports through a new integration between Carfax and Facebook Marketplace.
The Carfax reports are provided by select dealers on their inventory as a result of the new integration, which Carfax says will mean buyers have more transparency and confidence when they shop for their next used car.
With the Carfax/Facebook Marketplace integration, a free Carfax Vehicle History Report is visible to users whenever a Facebook Marketplace inventory provider who is also partnered with Carfax posts a dealer’s vehicles. Also, car buyers on Facebook Marketplace can filter search results by details shown in the Carfax Vehicle History Report.
In addition to these updates, Facebook shared two case studies of how dealers are utilizing its services:
New Rochelle Hyundai, for example, teamed up with Facebook Marketing Partner Dealers United for an automotive inventory ads campaign designed to improve lead generation. The three-month campaign spurred 65 car sales and 1,110 leads.
“With help from our Facebook Marketing Partner Dealers United and Facebook’s auto inventory ads, we now sell more new and used vehicles, and see more traffic to our showrooms and higher quality buyers that know exactly what they are looking for,” New Rochelle Hyundai president Jordan Daiagi Harary said on the Facebook Business page for the campaign.
“There is no better feeling than a simple sales process that picks right up where the customer left off online,” Harary said.
The study description on that page said Facebook automotive ads were being used to bring in fresh clientele.
“The ad format requires the dealership to upload its inventory and install the Facebook pixel, which logs customer actions on its website. Then the team created a Custom Audience of people who had already visited the site,” the page said.
“When potential customers received the ad, it would automatically display images of either the exact cars visitors had expressed interest in on New Rochelle’s site, cars similar to those they investigated on the site or cars that people like the potential customer had expressed interest in,” it added.
Additionally, the campaign took lists of visitors to the physical dealership and then retargeted them with inventory ads of vehicles in which they had expressed interest.
“New Rochelle Hyundai also crafted lookalike audiences from its website and dealership visitors, serving them dynamic ads that teed up relevant cars for each,” Facebook explained. “At the bottom of the ads was a call to action button, saying ‘Sign up for a test drive.’ Customers who clicked the button and filled out the form became leads in New Rochelle Hyundai’s customer relationship management (CRM) system for the sales team to contact.”
In another case study, Facebook shared how automotive inventory ads helped Faulkner Auto Group sell 5,013 cars at 25 stores in seven months. The AIA campaign also helped the store trim cost per vehicle purchase by 90%.
“Optimizing our advertising mix is extremely important to us. Obtaining detailed analytics from our advertising efforts that correlate to an increase in traffic to our dealerships is our primary objective,” said Faulkner director of digital marketing Neil Gandhi on the page for the campaign.
“Thanks to Mazama and Facebook, we have a professional, successful and measurable social media presence, which is very important to our automotive group as a whole,” Gandhi said, referring to the digital marketing agency Mazama Media that was involved in the campaign, as well
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