Social Retargeting: Find the Right Shopper in the Right Channel

Picture this: A car shopper who is ready to make a purchase has spent the past hour browsing your dealership’s vehicle details pages in search of the perfect SUV model. She’s narrowed it down to a red Ford Explorer, but plans on thinking it over the next few days before actually heading to the lot for a test drive.

After leaving the site, she logs onto Facebook, only to be greeted by an ad for that exact model within her news feed. The ad is detailed down to the color, trim, and price, keeping the vehicle on her radar and further encouraging her to make a trip to the dealership to make a purchase.

When we’re browsing for items like clothing or electronics on Amazon, we know retargeted Facebook ads are bound to follow. Although being served a digital ad for a lifetime purchase like an automobile may seem out of the ordinary, this strategy is becoming more and more crucial for dealers looking to convert shoppers.

Social retargeting is nothing new for retailers across several industries, and the automotive industry is catching up on the trend. With the CMO Council reporting that nearly a fourth of prospective car buyers use Facebook to research a vehicle purchase, social ads are a digital marketing tactic that dealers simply cannot afford to neglect.

Mobile moments

Auto research is, without a doubt, a social experience. Whether prospective car buyers are reading reviews or getting feedback on auto purchases from their own networks, social platforms (especially Facebook) can impact their final purchase decision.

Implementing a social component within a digital marketing strategy is critical for dealers, especially when targeting mobile millennials. These days, it’s not uncommon for car shoppers of all ages to conduct auto research on mobile devices from the get-go.

In fact, with 71% of consumers using mobile at some point during the purchase process, according to Facebook IQ, it’s become the norm. Almost half of mobile-first auto consumers are millennials (ages 18–34), and not surprisingly, comScore reports they spend an average of 26 hours per month (nearly an hour a day) on Facebook’s mobile app.

The growing trends of mobile and social shopping are blending, and as a result, they’re changing the way consumers purchase a vehicle. Keeping this in mind, dealers can and should leverage social advertising to better reach shoppers, especially on Facebook. A well-rounded digital strategy that incorporates social helps dealers ensure they are targeting the right shopper through all the right channels.

Relevant reminders

Retargeted Facebook ads are often criticized for offering content that is both too broad and top-funnel. Simply put, shoppers of any kind don’t want to see display ads for products that aren’t relevant to them. Retargeted ads for autos, however, require more than just your typical Amazon-like ad. Although Amazon is going for quick buys, lifetime purchases like automobiles require more detail.

Even after browsing online, consumers still have to make the trek to the lot to actually purchase a vehicle, so automotive ads must be detailed and specific to serve as relevant reminders, and keep up awareness. These ads must also be in sync with a dealer’s inventory because a retargeted ad for a model that’s no longer available does not help a car shopper on the lot, no matter how relevant the ad.

The future of car shopping is social, and the time for dealers to start capitalizing on this growing trend is now. With the right digital strategy, dealers can effectively reach car shoppers on social networks, and make their path to purchase more personalized in the process.

Jeremy Anspach is the CEO of PureCars, a digital advertising platform designed exclusively for the automotive industry. Armed with the industry’s most extensive data library, Jeremy founded PureCars in 2007. A Detroit native and renowned industry speaker, his drive and passion has led PureCars to become one of only seven automotive Google Premier SMB Partners, powering digital for over 3,000 dealers across the country.

Jeremy Anspach


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    William Blake March 21, 2016

    Thanks for providing relevant information that I need.


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