Most Effective Facebook Ad Styles for Automotive Dealerships

Published on Dec 12, 2020

Nick Askew

Why are Facebook ads so successful?

Facebook is a social media platform that boasts the largest number of users in the entire world. Out of their gigantic user-base, the social media giant has over 1.73 Billion Active Daily Users, which means these users are logging in and interacting with the platform on a daily basis. That isn’t really the most impressive statistic though… let’s talk about how much time users are spending digesting content on their phones! The average American spends 5.4 hours a day using their cell phone, while our Millenials are spending a total of 5.7 hours a day on their device.

While some people may see this behavior as a fleeting addiction, our human integration into technology continues to grow stronger despite the chosen platform. As of this time and in the foreseeable future Facebook, and its sister companies Instagram and WhatsApp remain the top platforms to effectively reach the majority of your target demographic efficiently.

Targeting on Facebook for Car Dealerships

The Facebook audience network seems like an infinite selection of platform partners, websites, placement styles, and goals, and choosing the right ad style for a holistic marketing strategy for a car dealership can seem daunting. One of the most important elements of social media marketing for dealerships is spending ad dollars on the right audiences (Yes, that means going beyond only boosting posts to a local radius). Due to new restrictions around discriminatory targeting, Facebook and many other platforms are now reducing the number of in-depth targeting options, forcing any business that involves credit, employment, or housing to opt-in for a Special Ad Audience. Luminary 2 has completed 100’s of tests throughout the 2020 transition and with heavily successful results. In fact, campaigns including targeting tactics such as dynamic retargeting (showing individual stock numbers based on behavior and interest) received similar results than campaigns with conventional targeting.

Types of Successful Car Dealership Audiences

Facebook allows you to target not only custom audiences based on your CRM, customer lists, or pre-determined “in-market” audiences, but if tracking parameters are set up properly, you can expand users from website conversions and successful purchases to find like-minded individuals that exhibit the same interests and user behaviors as your most successful customers.

For example, you can automatically compile a real-time list of all of the people that have submitted leads on Jeep models on your website. The platform automatically looks at their interests and online behaviors to target other people that will respond successfully to the ads. Ensuring that they are contextually relevant and will result in a click on the ad.

Note: Digital platforms like Facebook have a goal of keeping the user on their platform for the longest by showing them the most relevant content that will keep their attention. It is in Facebooks best interest to be as accurate as possible when showing ads, simply because more time spent on the platform results in more profit for them – which then results in more profit for advertisers.

The Most Successful Types of Facebook Ad Creative for Dealerships

There are many different placements and ad styles that you can use around Facebook, and a combination of them should be used for the most successful campaigns. Here are just a few:

1. Dynamic Carousel Lead Ads

Facebook Carousel ads from Luminary 2 link up directly to the dealership website inventory in real-time and bring in valuable data and incentives directly to the Facebook platform (we’re meeting your customers where they are). Notice the long-form ad copy that makes use of finance offers, dealer incentives, and local key differentiators. Although the ad copy may be lengthy, our data shows that this can increase your click-through-rate and engagement considerably!

automotive dynamic inventory carousel facebook ad
2020 Nissan Titan Lead Ad Including Finance Offers, Incentives, Dealership Key Differentiators has an above-average engagement rating.

The ads call-to-action sets up the expectations that this is a “form on Facebook” and then leads to a simple form that gets the contact information directly from the customer and then Luminary 2 processes that data and sends in the correct format directly to the dealership CRM within seconds. Not only is this an effective form of building opportunities, but these ads produce leads at a fraction of the cost of 3rd party, purchased leads, or even Google PPC ads.

automotive facebook lead ad
Personalized form submissions transfer information directly to the dealership CRM in moments without leaving the Facebook platform.

2. Collection Ads

Collection ads are similar to dynamic carousel ads in the way that they dynamically bring real-time and relevant dealership inventory to the customer based on their interactions with the dealership and their browsing behavior. Collection ads can be paired with eye-grabbing images, informative video content, and anything with a strong call-to-action that will help guide user behavior. These ads are incredibly successful as they lead to (if targeted correctly) low cost-per-lead and ultimately a low cost of customer aquisition for your dealership.

See this short video commercial below for some ideas on how you can implement a great piece of video content into your collection ads.

Note: Watch the below video without sound. Over 92% of social media video is watched without sound. So communicating your offers with text and visuals is extremely important for the success of your ad.

Collection ad paired with a Luminary 2 custom video for a Honda OEM promotion!

3. Image Ads

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple image ad that links through to your high-performing website, (Check out Luminary 2’s SPACE Website Platform) in-fact image ads can be used in a variety of ways to target and retarget your customers while showcasing your brand strength or time-sensitive offers. Image ads can also be used to show customers who have already interacted with your business a call-to-action that is not vehicle specific such as service offers, trade-in offers, and other dealership specific differentiators such as free delivery, a lifetime warranty, or another incentive that showcases the benefits of doing business with you!

vehicle trade facebook ad
This ad links specifically to a relevant landing page that explains the trade process and then asks the user to submit a short form submission that then sets their expectation on what the next steps are once completed.

Which Facebook ads are best for car dealerships?

The previous list is only a shortlist of some of the styles of ads you can run across the Facebook ad network. But I bet you may be wondering “Which one do I need to run for my dealership?” The truth is a great ad strategy uses a combination of ad styles across multiple platforms in order to show the most relevant message and the best time to in-market customers in your target demographic.

If you’d like help coming up with a strategy, please contact Luminary 2 to map out a complementary marketing strategy to your unique brand, local market, and business goals. The tools out there are just that… tools. Still, a successful strategist can ensure you are spending your ad dollars wisely on these platforms to reduce wasted ad spend and generate a positive return on your investment that ultimately helps you sell more cars and make more money!

Nick Askew
CEO, Luminary 2