Facebook’s Answers to Our Prayers.

Whether you’re spiritual, religious, or none of the above, Facebook is finally giving automotive dealerships what they want.

For years now, we’ve been asking the big question, can Facebook really help me sell cars? The bottom line was that it’s always important to build a community as a branding tool, however, using metrics to prove sales was a fruitless, number-crunching dance for dealerships and their agencies.

So, what’s this “answer” all about? Facebook is now focusing on direct response via its ad platform and a tool known as Facebook Offers.

Some see this new focus as an attempt to compete more effectively with Google, the original digital ad emperor of the web. More than 70% of worldwide digital ad spending, and almost 60% of ad spending in the U.S. goes toward direct-response campaigns. However, Google’s market share of U.S. advertising was 39.7% last year, compared with just 7.6% for Facebook. Basically, Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook) is playing catch up.

So what is Facebook Offers? In the automotive world, it’s easiest to think of it as direct mail on Facebook. We’ve seen incredible success with offers on trade-ups and service specials, where users can claim and redeem these “offers” at the dealership itself. Directly within the offer itself, there’s room for all the proper disclaimers, as well as the creative copy and graphics that go with the ad.

What’s most incredible is the ability to precisely target these offers. You pick your audience in the same way you pick your direct mail lists. The opportunity is endless—you can target by make, model, vehicle class, time since purchased, years owned, tendency for service, and hundreds of other behaviors.

Facebook has also struck deals with data brokers like Axciom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to get a ton of detailed information on its users. This allows us to target users even more precisely, and allows Facebook to connect shopping behavior in brick-and-mortar stores with the ads they’ve seen. If I’m scaring you, don’t worry, the data is anonymized to protect user privacy.

Many brands and advertisers on Facebook are still using the social network’s original advertising venues to increase engagement and community rather than for direct-response campaigns. While both are important, it also means the direct-response world is less cluttered for now, while it’s still new.

Global digital ad spending will reach $140.15 billion in 2014, up 16.74% from the previous year (eMarketer). And since we know we’re going to be spending more on digital, the question is, are you savvy enough to tap into the direct response pie? And how quickly?

Amol Waishampayan, Digital Creative Director at Stream Companies.

Amol Waishampayan


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