Why Dealerships Should be Using Facebook to Target Auto Shoppers

Why Dealerships Should be Using Facebook to Target Auto Shoppers

Shopping for cars on Facebook happens more often that you may realize. Did you know that nearly a quarter of prospective car buyers use Facebook for researching their next car purchase? According to Turning Social Feeds Into Business Leads, “Social media is stimulating extensive auto-related conversations and content that creates major opportunities to identify likely buyers and engage them based on their preferences and purchase intent.”

According to the research:

  • 38% of consumers say they will consult social media in making their next car purchase
  • 23% of car buyers say they use social media to communicate their purchase experience
  • 84% of automotive shoppers are on Facebook, and 24% of them have used Facebook as a resource for making their vehicle purchases
  • 40% of new car purchases over the next 10 years will be made by millennials
  • 94% of millennial car buyers gather information online

Today’s auto shopping crosses channels and social has quickly evolved into a channel of choice for research and ecommerce. Businesses have used social for some time now to target and convert prospects through personalized advertisements, to identify in-market purchase signals, for content marketing, and to engage in 1:1 conversations. Sites like Facebook offer many options for dealerships to reach out to social car shoppers.

What Are Auto Shoppers Looking for on Your Facebook Page?

A study by Dealer.com revealed that, “Twenty-eight percent of the buying population feels that social media greatly influences the narrowing of their brand or model consideration. Twenty-seven percent said social media greatly influences their identification of a dealership from which to purchase.”

The study also found that, “Approximately two-thirds of those who use Facebook in the automotive purchase process indicated that a friend’s favorable post about a brand or vehicle positively impacts their own opinion of that brand or vehicle, and 69 percent indicated that a friend’s favorable post about a dealership positively impacts their opinion of the dealership.”

Facebook reviews are obviously important to auto shoppers but what else do consumers particularly seek out on a dealership’s page? A survey from Digital Air Strike asked what consumers wanted most on a dealership Facebook page. They found that when visiting dealer Facebook sites, car buyers have clear ideas about what they want to see. The top five items cited as valuable on Facebook pages included, in order of priority are:

  • Dealership service promotions such as coupons or discounts
  • Pictures of cars
  • Sales promotions
  • Reviews from consumers about the dealership
  • Articles about cars and/or car care tips

Facebook is Ideal for Dealership Video Marketing

Video sells cars and Facebook is the perfect forum to showcase video content. According to one Google study, more than half of all car shoppers watch at least a half-hour of video during the buying process and one in four watches an hour or more. Data from AutoTrader.com also shows that shoppers are 20% more likely to click on a specific vehicle listing if it has video.

Facebook video marketing can be highly effective for dealerships, especially with video ads being one of the most effective means of advertising on the platform. Dealerships can really make an impact with Facebook video marketing by utilizing Facebook’s audience data and audience automotive data from third party vendors to identify and target in-market car shoppers within their geographical area.

The most effective forms of Facebook video marketing for dealerships include customer testimonials, inventory walk around videos and “Get to Know Us” clips.  Additionally, you should have an Inventory Videos page available from your Facebook Menu, making it easy for anyone visiting your Facebook Page to quickly see videos of the inventory you have available.

Reach Millennial Auto Shoppers on Facebook

According to a study from the CMO Council, “Millennials have finally fought their way to a financial state that justifies auto ownership, and analysts believe that they will make up 40% of the next decade’s auto purchases.” And when millennials go car shopping, they are asking their friends for advice on Facebook. They are far more likely to turn to social media for advice than head into a dealership.

More than 9 out of 10 Millennials now turn to the Internet when shopping for a new car or truck, according to research conducted on behalf of eBay Motors. Another study found that this is true for many buyers in the car buying process. More than half are strongly influenced by what their friends say on Facebook.

Because Facebook reviews from social peers are such a critical factor in the millennial purchase process, dealerships need to be extra diligent in encouraging their customers to leave reviews. Customers love to tell others about their positive experiences. An example of a great app to encourage them to do so is Snap21. With Snap 21, a dealer can take photos of customers who have just bought a new car, the photo is then branded with the dealership’s information to be sent to the happy new customer, and from there the customer can do the rest! Up to 1/3 will share their branded photo on Facebook and with the average Facebook user having 350 friends, this can add up to a lot of great testimonials for your dealership.

Target Consumers with Facebook Ads

A study by comScore found that Facebook ads increase vehicle consideration and also decreases consideration of other competitors. According to the study, actions after seeing Facebook ads include:

  • 37% increase in dealership visits
  • 17% increase to dealership and automotive brand sites
  • 11% increase in brand search activity
  • 14% decrease in competitive model searches
  • 3% decrease in competitive band searches

Facebook has become much more sophisticated in the way consumers can be targeted with ads. In the “Automotive” behavioral category alone, consumers can be targeted by the following areas:

  • New Vehicle Buyers (“near market” thinking about buying in the next year)
  • New Vehicle Shoppers (“in market” looking to within next 180 days)
  • Owners
  • Purchase Type
  • Used Vehicle Buyers (in the market to buy now)
  • Motorcycle

Other popular segments include:

  • Vehicle Type (car, SUV, truck, van)
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Financial (i.e. median home value and credit score range)
  • Segments such as vehicle history data and garage data

Facebook is a highly effective platform to reach auto shoppers and encourage them to visit your dealership. Remember, social media is about being sociable and your followers, customers, and prospects can become your most powerful advocates. Utilizing Facebook can generate more leads and ultimately more sales opportunities for your dealership. It’s time to take a fresh look at your Facebook strategies and to even begin thinking of it as your dealership’s second website.

To learn how to target auto consumers through digital channels with data-driven marketing strategies, download this free Data-Driven Marketing guide for dealerships.

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