Best Practices

Disruption is Change

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Disruption is about change. In the automotive industry we usually connect the word disruption to some up-and-coming vendor program, product, or new technology. When really disruption comes from how these things introduce new habits, adjust how you communicate, and/or change your approach. You may not need new products, services, or technology to create a disruption in your market, all you may need is to reflect and change. Technology is not the disruption; it is a confirmation of needs which are waiting to be filled. With technology having affected the way people consume and engage, becoming a force of positive disruption in your market is well within your grasp. Retail automotive has a never-before-seen opportunity to show with clarity how it has evolved to rise to the consumer challenge to “do better.” No longer is the showroom a place with fancy-suited strangers and cold metal, the most competitive dealerships are bringing the showroom, and their people, to their customers, creating more open and sustainable relationships. Social media has given us a spyglass into the lives of others, making people realize their own humanness is not so abnormal. Consumers are driven to engage with individuals and business they feel they know, trust, and relate to. Further reenforcing that people buy from people, and relationships matter. The key to disruption is not missing the point of disruption. Stop doing what you have always done. Consumers are clear about their needs, how to meet their needs and expectations, are we listening? They do not necessarily need more technology; they need more communication with clarity. Your customers expect their in-dealership experience and online experience to be cohesive. They want a process that is mindful of the buyer, a business that is community-aware and, believe it or not, a long-term relationship with you. Disruption is a mindset; it is when you genuinely care as much for the people you employ and the people you are selling to as you do your sales. Disruption mindset starts with leadership, it is creating the culture for employees that mirrors the experience you want for your customers. It is building long term relationships with your customers by fostering long term tenure with your employees. You’re thinking, all that’s great, how do I achieve disruption? Here are a few areas you can easily check yourself in and create positive disruptive change within your dealership: 1.      Does your employee culture reflect the experience you desire for your customers? 2.      Do your customer’s in-dealership experiences and online experiences feel cohesive and transition smoothly? Does it feel like a singular purchase experience? 3.      Do you have a social presence sharing outside of what you earn a profit from? Is it a place your customers return to after the sale? 4.      Is your dealership website a virtual showroom only for vehicles, or is it also a meet and greet for your staff? 5.      Are you actively listening to your customers' needs and expectations? “But tackling some of those would be like opening a can of worms.” Open that can of worms, friend. Without conquering these things, none of the disruption you achieve in your market will be sustainable.  
Embracing the Future Facebook Ecosystem of Today

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The title may have seemed confusing. If we’re going to take a dive into a  future  ecosystem, how can it also be available  today ? The answer is simple: adoption rate. The capabilities outlined in this article are available right now; however, many dealers are not embracing them and continue to advertise on Facebook as they always have. You have an opportunity to do today what all of your competitors will — or at least should — be doing in the future. Here’s what we’ve been so accustomed to do … Create a carousel ad. Send the consumer to the website. Retarget those who don’t engage. The second step is problematic. It’s important that we break the cycle of thinking that all traffic must go to the website. With a 3-5% opt-in rate of Apple users deciding to share their data with Facebook and its applications and losing 85% of website-based conversion data because of this and other privacy constraints, continuing to advertise on Facebook as we always have is already outdated thinking.  Facebook has products that allow advertisers to embrace a completely native ecosystem.  Here’s a question: If a consumer is choosing to be on Facebook, why would we remove them from that place of comfort and take them to a website? Here’s a second question: Isn’t our role as advertisers to meet where consumers want to engage with us and offer a seamless experience?  So here’s how we do that. A Breakdown of the On-Facebook Ecosystem Branding — Top-of-the-Funnel Let’s first caveat this part of the ecosystem. Branding lives outside of the 30-day cycle, and you don’t want to hold these ads accountable to metrics beyond reach, impressions, and frequency. While these will create clicks and drive traffic to your online properties — mostly your website — these ads are intended to keep your dealership top-of-mind as consumers who aren’t quite in-market spend their time on the Facebook platform and its network partners. Your branding ads should communicate your differentiators, value propositions, and culture. They should also communicate facets of your business that are evergreen, such as your ability to purchase consumer cars or the loyalty programs and free estimates that your fixed operations may offer. Such as with Douglas Volkswagen, who’s inviting local potential shoppers to come experience the “Douglas Difference,” which has been nurtured for nearly 70 years. Or you may want the local community to know that you’ll buy their vehicle — whether or not they bought one from your dealership. Regardless of the ad’s message, you want to make sure that the page they land on when they click the call-to-action — in these cases, “Learn More” — is directly aligned with the content of the advertisement.  AIAs and Service Ads — Middle-of-the-Funnel As you continually hold a presence with branding ads, you’ll want to capture those local shoppers who are in-market.  Side Note — We recommend that you don’t rely solely on Facebook targeting as you can add layers of depth and precision to this with a partner like IHS/Polk, who can provide an accurate number of households based on parameters you set — and this data isn’t affected by privacy updates or website data-loss as it’s based on actual sales and credit reporting data, not on online signals like pixels. The ability to create hyper-local, highly targeted audiences will make creating ad sets and ad copy easier as you’ll have a clear understanding to whom you’re delivering those ads. Automotive Inventory Ads (AIAs) are a carousel of vehicles that are relevant to the targeted audience, except these offer advertisers the capability to keep consumers on Facebook for a streamlined experience. The carousel ad gets delivered to the audience to browse the relevant vehicles that are available for purchase at your dealership. When they click a vehicle that interests them, a VDP-like page near instantaneously appears. It has all of the information that your traditional VDP contains, it has deep links to your dealership’s website and onsite VDP for dealers who need a little comfort in making this transition — and most importantly, it has different actions to actually capture a lead, including click-to-call, directions request, and chat. This method keeps consumers within the Facebook ecosystem, so we don’t lose any conversion data. Facebook collects the information on how consumers are behaving, what different attributes and facets of the VDP are most effective, and other pieces that can better inform them and us on what works. The more data that we can feed Facebook, the more accurately they can update this content and assist us as advertisers to make more strategic decisions. Here are the results when we looked at all campaigns that took consumers to the dealership website (non-AIA) compared to campaigns that kept consumers on Facebook (AIA). Significantly more content viewed, significantly lower costs, and significantly more actual leads from Facebook — people chatting, calling, and requesting directions from the on-Facebook VDPs.  I wrote that this is also applicable to service. It’s true: we currently use IHS/Polk ownership data to layer onto native Facebook targeting to create a more accurate picture of the audiences to whom our ads will be the most relevant, breaking these ads out into the big four — brakes, batteries, tires, oil changes — and general service ads. At this moment, we do not have the mechanisms in place to keep consumers on Facebook and embrace the new ecosystem; however, our Social Media Director wanted to be deliberate in getting the sales portion fine-tuned before diving into fixed operations. What I can say at this moment is that there are more sophisticated schedulers that can integrate with your dealership’s internal systems to create the same experience in service as we have in sales. Now not every customer in-market or near-market will become an immediate lead. Just like as with website visitors in the past, the consumers who click on one of your ads will be placed into a retargeting pool. This is where our strategic approach to the Facebook ecosystem has evolved the most. Retargeting Lead Generation Ads — Bottom-of-the-Funnel This is where I may lose you because you’ve done lead generation ads before on Facebook. I’m going to challenge that pushback. The approach is where we, as advertisers, went wrong in leveraging lead generation objectives on Facebook. We cast a wide net and hit people with ads who had potentially never engaged with any of our content — and we expected them to simply opt in to sharing their information. That’s unproductive. It yields spammy leads. It wastes your time and your budget. It was a shiny “instant lead retrieval” object that had foregone deliberate strategy.  The correct philosophy is to understand that consumers who have demonstrated intent and interest in our inventory and services — with our middle-of-funnel ads — are more likely to see a lead generation ad as relevant to their interests and, thus, is much more likely to be a qualified lead.  So using lead generation as your measured and deliberate retargeting campaign will work in your favor because the element of intent or interest is at play. They’ve clicked through one of your middle-of-funnel ads and browsed the VDP but didn’t contact the dealership via Messenger within the last 30 days.   That, however, isn’t the only parameter (intent/interest) that makes an effective lead generation retargeting campaign. It’s also important to still task the consumer to take an action without putting an undue burden on them. We want to pose a question that gauges the urgency of their purchase intent. So when the consumer has engaged the lead generation ad, their name and email is automatically populated — but to ensure that a click isn’t merely accidental, the consumer has to actively select an option from a dropdown menu.  When they have done that and done any necessary changes to email, name, or even add their phone number, they are opted into terms and conditions that they have to accept, and then are given a notification that they will be contacted — that information all gets routed to your CRM so that you can track it from form submission to the sale of the vehicle. Our team uses  LeadsBridge  for this capability. So you’ve ensured that the consumer has chosen to engage with the lead generation ad and has taken actual actions to share their information, which demonstrates several layers of intent.  It’s all a matter of keeping things simple and structured. When our team put this into a beta test, it generated an average of  83 qualified leads  per month at a cost of around  $8 per lead .  The On-Facebook Ecosystem Facebook has adapted in the face of privacy constraints and the eventual deprecation of the third-party cookie. It’s important that we embrace the future Facebook ecosystem of today because this is the environment in which we will all compete. By understanding how consumers want to engage with us, as well as the fact that platforms like Facebook and Google are creating ecosystems that keep consumers within their own properties, we will be better equipped to produce content that better resonates with them. If you have any further questions regarding this evolution or the different tactics presented in this article, please feel free to reach out to me, Dane Saville, at dane@reunionmarketing.com.
Need Management over Lead Management

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It seems like a simple concept.  Take care of people’s needs first and foremost.  Yet, it continuously falls short on the planning and execution when the transactional mindset and objectives take over. We spent decades instituting and enforcing a “customer satisfaction” survey process.  That was supposed to put the customer first right?  But that was a post-mortem grade on how a dealer rated versus other dealers, in most cases on a transactional process, not really aimed at customer’s true needs in the first place.  We have now evolved to the concept of “customer experience.”  But we still chase it as if it is something we can develop and invoke upon the customer.   When in reality it is the “customer’s experience.”  They own it.   They dictate how they will perceive it and value it.  We merely need to be able to be flexible and personalized in our approach to their needs. I would argue vigorously that the future of retail, the success of the dealer footprint going forward will depend much more on Need Management versus Lead Management.  By its very nature leads are cold, transactional, and aimed at getting people into a car within the current sales month.  Needs are obviously more personal, more relevant and contextual to the exact need for the interaction and engagement.  Needs may not be aimed at a traditional sale either, but perhaps a service, or a question for now, or a more personal approach to the right vehicle and right financial arrangement. This proposition may sound basic, but the entire retail industry is built on a sales leads funnel to get people in and through the process and then survey them and ask how we did.  Our focus must shift if we hope to have long-term sustainability in retail in an industry and a function that is fast transforming.   As EV’s and other digital services and subscription models enter the scene, as new car inventories will be in flux through 2022 and used cars become an option, we must personalize the experience to focus on customer mobility and transportation needs. Even in the traditional new car sales process, we often miss the need.  As more customers move to digital shopping and retailing (you all know the increasing numbers), they are required to figure out their own need before they hit a human or the store.  We ask them to figure it out through a wonky pricing and configuration tool where they must select option codes and packages they are not even sure they want or need.  Most of us in the industry struggle knowing the difference between a trim level, model level or an option package.  The customer often muscles their way through it and lands on a “build and price” vehicle.  That then becomes the lead!  But have we really identified and resolved the need? I believe the whole process needs to be tipped upside down to start the with the need.  What does the customer (The “UP”) need?  It may sometimes be information they want to support some decision making that is hard to find in a sales brochure online system.  It may be information about best mobility options.  Assuming for a moment it is a vehicle that they want to own and acquire, is a new or used vehicle the best fit?  What type of driving will they do?  What are their weekly commuting needs?  What is their budget target?  Are they better of buying, leasing or even subscribing where available? I am not naïve enough to believe that the very process of moving inventory, monthly sales targets, transactional commission-based sales people are supportive of the idea of taking the necessary time to understand the customer need and taking the appropriate actions to deliver on that expectation.  What is success in automotive retail and sales will have to change. I would argue it already has changed.  Good dealers were already transforming processes and success metrics to understand that the future retail sustainability will be based on lifetime value, products and services, experiences and customer affinity to the dealer brand and experience.  The past year and a half with a global pandemic that changed customer expectations and mobility needs, and also disrupted supply chains for the foreseeable future, have all created more value on build-to-order (personalized orders) and personalized engagement for customer fulfillment of needs (not just sales). The new business imperatives that will drive success in the auto retail industry include: Access over Assets  The importance of the ability to engage the customer where they are in their journey as opposed to simply having inventory available.  That “permission” and capability for access and engagement is move valuable (even on a balance sheet) than the physical assets. Personalization over Transaction How much of the customer’s true needs were met versus our simple goal of a unit sale.  Transaction may help the monthly sales quota, but personalization will contribute to the customer lifetime value and the business sustainability. Service is not an event, it is an experience Treating every service experience as an opportunity to engage the customer deeper in their needs fulfillment entirely as opposed to a maintain or repair the product only mindset Users over Owners Leverage any and every customer who may want to engage with us at the retail level whether that be for product information, used cars, mini-fleet access or subscription models, digital services, maintenance and updates, charging, or future services as the goal over simply supporting owners only with the basic vehicle services.  They may not even be a “customer” in the traditional sense, but every interaction is of potential value for both parties in building a long-term relationship. Retail is not a location, it is an action and a relationship This means more than mobile delivery or service pick-up and drop-off.  How do we use retail experiences, which should include every interaction through every channel, to build a relationship and understand the customer’s context and needs?  Retail, and all it entails, is an experience building opportunity. While I mention these as imperatives, there are objectives and measurables that should be assigned to these efforts.  There should be focus on the people, processes and technology all aligning to this mission as the North Star experience.   It’s always easy to raise issues, but what are the solutions?  There is no one path forward to achieve these objectives and each dealership will need different focus and transformation depending on its maturity towards this goal. Let me offer a few thoughts and enablers I would consider critical to pivoting to need over lead. Define your North Star customer experience.  Clearly and concisely.  Is it well understood and communicated through the organization? Is the North Star experience supported by the right processes and measurables? Personalization not Transaction focus.  Do we really know and understand the customer needs? Do we have the right data and information to understand and respond appropriately to the need?   Are we asking the right questions and capturing the information? Does our technology share actionable insight, or does it just enable transactional processing? I would not suggest that this initiative mandates and overhaul of your technology platform and entire business processes.  But could they all be sharpened and aimed at the right objective?  I would suggest they could be optimized for this long-term success strategy.  Let’s utilize customer management systems and data across the organization (regardless of department or function) to create additive customer journey and customer need insight at each interaction.   Let’s evolve our business processes to be “customer-centric” and not functional-based or organizationally standard. Overall, the future of retail success will be predicated on the ability to deliver personalized, valuable engagements on the terms of the customer.  Their needs being fulfilled is the future of retail, not transactional exchanges.  That includes the what, where and how.  Retail is not a physical location; it must be an experience.  Customer needs will be met by somebody, it is up to you to make sure that somebody is you.  
Google Ad Extensions 101 For Dealers

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Ad extensions are dynamic add-ons to Google ads that expand the information you can show in any given ad.  They are usually more eye-catching than the ad text itself, leading to more click activity. While the strategy behind your ad campaigns is complex, the basics of ad extensions are just as important to understand and implement into your dealership’s marketing. Here’s the breakdown of the ad extensions your dealership should be adding to search ads to maintain a good presence online.  Price Extensions  Price extensions allow you to add vehicle pricing underneath the ad so serious shoppers can consider their options right there in their search window.  When setting up price extensions, it’s critical to set up a real-time integration so that your ads reflect the current pricing on your website.  If you set up something more manual, the ads will not reflect price and inventory changes and this  can lead to a lot of confused and frustrated customers.  Callout Extensions  Callout extensions allow for dealerships to add special promotions or unique offers that stick out below the ad information.  It’s a great chance for your dealership to differentiate themselves from the competition and try to lure in new customers.  For example, dealerships can point out things like price matching, trade-ins, and warranties.  Location Extensions  Location extensions make it super easy for shoppers to see where your store is on the map and how far it is from their current location.  The location extension is also clickable, leading the shopper directly to Google Maps.  As we already know, shoppers have little patience so any shortcut to finding you is a win for your dealership.  Call Extensions Call extensions are super instrumental in driving more leads to your dealership because it’s a click-to-call feature that makes it easy for shoppers to find your phone number without even going to the website. There is a lot of flexibility in the call extensions to support your business model, like turning on the call extension only during your opening hours or turning this on or off for mobile/desktop depending on your goals.  Google also helps you set up tracking for call leads when you implement call extensions, so you can make sure you’re tracking inbound leads/calls directly from ads differently than other clicks.  Sitelink Extensions As mentioned before, the more shortcuts for your shoppers, the better the shopping experience.  Sitelink extensions allow you to link directly to certain pages within your website to get your shoppers familiar with your brand and your inventory. It also means eager shoppers that know exactly what they want to see can get to the page quicker.  Dealerships should consider setting up sitelinks to their top inventory and incentives pages, trade-in options, and profit centers (like service) to drive the most relevant traffic directly to the pages linked.  Image Extensions Image extensions allow you to complement your ad text with rich visuals. This can really enrich a dynamic search ad by bringing a shopper’s attention to the images you upload along with the description and headlines. While your dealership does have to comply with Google’s  size and dimension  best practices, it’s a pretty easy addition to search ads that can bring more attention to your ads.  Consider this your go-to list for all things Google ad extensions. Whether you manage this in-house or through an agency, it’s important your dealership understands the implications of ad extension strategies and implements best practices to drive the most qualified leads to your website.  Happy advertising! 
Dealer Insurance Learning
I Hope You'll Learn With Me!

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Insurance! (Insert full eyeball roll here.) An October, 2021 survey by Embroker stated that just 22% fully read through their insurance policy, 56% admit to not knowing the cost of their insurance program, 34% carry a cyber policy, 20% admitted to not knowing how their insurance is handled, and 30% allow their policies to renew without making any changes. Let’s change that starting right now! If you don’t understand your insurance, then reach out to a consultant or your insurance broker and ask for a complete review of your coverage.   Understand what insurance you have, what the limits are, and importantly, what policies you do not have.   Here is a thumbnail: Garage Policy This is your main policy which you would turn to cover dealership operations.   Automobile liability, premises liability, product/completed operations liability, customer’s cars.    The type of coverage and the limits matter. Property This covers your buildings and business interruption, should you have one. Worker’s Comp This policy handles worker injuries on the job. Dealer’s Open Lot Your vehicles are covered separately under this policy. This can be covered and included in the Garage policy except in high hazard/catastrophe prone areas. Cyber If you have a breach of your data or if the bad guys ransom you. Pollution Covers your waste (used oil, antifreeze, tires, batteries etc.) and their disposal.   If your waste isn’t handled properly, you can be help personally liable for these problems. Directors and Officers (D&O) Would step in for allegations of fraud and wrong-doing which protect the owners, officers, and employees. Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance protects the personal assets of corporate directors and officers, and their spouses, in the event they are personally sued by employees, vendors, competitors, investors, customers, regulators, or other parties, for actual or alleged wrongful acts in managing a company. Crime Employee dishonesty.   Theft of corporate assets by an employee of the corporation. Employment Practices Liability This policy handles problems which arise with employees, such as discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination etc. Unusual Options You can protect yourself from most issues.   Here are some more unusual options: Product Recall   Kidnap and Ransom Active Assailant/Workplace Violence Loss of Franchise Communicable Disease Liability Computer Systems Failure Injunction Risk Loss of Key Employee Loss of Key Customer It’s likely if you can think of it, you can insure it. I try to learn every day and here’s one thing I learned this week:   parametric insurance.   So, we are going to learn about it and think anew together.   According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) “the term parametric insurance describes a type of insurance contract that insures a policyholder against the occurrence of a specific event by paying a set amount based on the magnitude of the event, as opposed to the magnitude of the losses in a traditional indemnity policy. An example is a policy that pays $100,000 if an earthquake with magnitude 5.0 or greater occurs. The amount of payment, the parameter, and a third party responsible for verifying that the parameter was triggered must all be specified in the contract. The third party will usually be a government agency, for example earthquake magnitude could be determined by the measurement issued by the National Earthquake Information Center.” Dealers who have significant weather-related concerns might benefit from this type of coverage.   One of the benefits of parametric insurance is claims are paid more quickly as once the outside entity verifies the event, the insurance company pays so the monies are deployed and in the hands of the business more quickly. My hope for this article is getting you to consider the importance of your insurance program.   I say “program” as there should be a strategy involved and a monitoring and auditing component to it. Please reach out if I can answer any questions.
transformation building block
Dealer Marketing: Embracing the Future Facebook Ecosystem of Today

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The title may have seemed confusing. If we’re going to take a dive into a future ecosystem, how can it also be available today ? The answer is simple: adoption rate. The capabilities outlined in this article are available right now; however, many dealers are not embracing them and continue to advertise on Facebook as they always have. You have an opportunity to do today what all of your competitors will — or at least should — be doing in the future. Here’s what we’ve been so accustomed to do … Create a carousel ad. Send the consumer to the website. Retarget those who don’t engage. The second step is problematic. It’s important that we break the cycle of thinking that all traffic must go to the website. With a 3-5% opt-in rate of Apple users deciding to share their data with Facebook and its applications and losing 85% of website-based conversion data because of this and other privacy constraints, continuing to advertise on Facebook as we always have is already outdated thinking.  Facebook has products that allow advertisers to embrace a completely native ecosystem.  Here’s a question: If a consumer is choosing to be on Facebook, why would we remove them from that place of comfort and take them to a website? Here’s a second question: Isn’t our role as advertisers to meet where consumers want to engage with us and offer a seamless experience?  So here’s how we do that. A Breakdown of the On-Facebook Ecosystem Branding — Top-of-the-Funnel Let’s first caveat this part of the ecosystem. Branding lives outside of the 30-day cycle, and you don’t want to hold these ads accountable to metrics beyond reach, impressions, and frequency. While these will create clicks and drive traffic to your online properties — mostly your website — these ads are intended to keep your dealership top-of-mind as consumers who aren’t quite in-market spend their time on the Facebook platform and its network partners. Your branding ads should communicate your differentiators, value propositions, and culture. They should also communicate facets of your business that are evergreen, such as your ability to purchase consumer cars or the loyalty programs and free estimates that your fixed operations may offer. Such as with Douglas Volkswagen, who’s inviting local potential shoppers to come experience the “Douglas Difference,” which has been nurtured for nearly 70 years. Or you may want the local community to know that you’ll buy their vehicle — whether or not they bought one from your dealership. Regardless of the ad’s message, you want to make sure that the page they land on when they click the call-to-action — in these cases, “Learn More” — is directly aligned with the content of the advertisement.  AIAs and Service Ads — Middle-of-the-Funnel As you continually hold a presence with branding ads, you’ll want to capture those local shoppers who are in-market.  Side Note — We recommend that you don’t rely solely on Facebook targeting as you can add layers of depth and precision to this with a partner like IHS/Polk, who can provide an accurate number of households based on parameters you set — and this data isn’t affected by privacy updates or website data-loss as it’s based on actual sales and credit reporting data, not on online signals like pixels. The ability to create hyper-local, highly targeted audiences will make creating ad sets and ad copy easier as you’ll have a clear understanding to whom you’re delivering those ads. Automotive Inventory Ads (AIAs) are a carousel of vehicles that are relevant to the targeted audience, except these offer advertisers the capability to keep consumers on Facebook for a streamlined experience. The carousel ad gets delivered to the audience to browse the relevant vehicles that are available for purchase at your dealership. When they click a vehicle that interests them, a VDP-like page near instantaneously appears. It has all of the information that your traditional VDP contains, it has deep links to your dealership’s website and onsite VDP for dealers who need a little comfort in making this transition — and most importantly, it has different actions to actually capture a lead, including click-to-call, directions request, and chat. This method keeps consumers within the Facebook ecosystem, so we don’t lose any conversion data. Facebook collects the information on how consumers are behaving, what different attributes and facets of the VDP are most effective, and other pieces that can better inform them and us on what works. The more data that we can feed Facebook, the more accurately they can update this content and assist us as advertisers to make more strategic decisions. Here are the results when we looked at all campaigns that took consumers to the dealership website (non-AIA) compared to campaigns that kept consumers on Facebook (AIA). Significantly more content viewed, significantly lower costs, and significantly more actual leads from Facebook — people chatting, calling, and requesting directions from the on-Facebook VDPs.  I wrote that this is also applicable to service. It’s true: we currently use IHS/Polk ownership data to layer onto native Facebook targeting to create a more accurate picture of the audiences to whom our ads will be the most relevant, breaking these ads out into the big four — brakes, batteries, tires, oil changes — and general service ads. At this moment, we do not have the mechanisms in place to keep consumers on Facebook and embrace the new ecosystem; however, our Social Media Director wanted to be deliberate in getting the sales portion fine-tuned before diving into fixed operations. What I can say at this moment is that there are more sophisticated schedulers that can integrate with your dealership’s internal systems to create the same experience in service as we have in sales. Now not every customer in-market or near-market will become an immediate lead. Just like as with website visitors in the past, the consumers who click on one of your ads will be placed into a retargeting pool. This is where our strategic approach to the Facebook ecosystem has evolved the most. Retargeting Lead Generation Ads — Bottom-of-the-Funnel This is where I may lose you because you’ve done lead generation ads before on Facebook. I’m going to challenge that pushback. The approach is where we, as advertisers, went wrong in leveraging lead generation objectives on Facebook. We cast a wide net and hit people with ads who had potentially never engaged with any of our content — and we expected them to simply opt in to sharing their information. That’s unproductive. It yields spammy leads. It wastes your time and your budget. It was a shiny “instant lead retrieval” object that had foregone deliberate strategy.  The correct philosophy is to understand that consumers who have demonstrated intent and interest in our inventory and services — with our middle-of-funnel ads — are more likely to see a lead generation ad as relevant to their interests and, thus, is much more likely to be a qualified lead.  So using lead generation as your measured and deliberate retargeting campaign will work in your favor because the element of intent or interest is at play. They’ve clicked through one of your middle-of-funnel ads and browsed the VDP but didn’t contact the dealership via Messenger within the last 30 days.   That, however, isn’t the only parameter (intent/interest) that makes an effective lead generation retargeting campaign. It’s also important to still task the consumer to take an action without putting an undue burden on them. We want to pose a question that gauges the urgency of their purchase intent. So when the consumer has engaged the lead generation ad, their name and email is automatically populated — but to ensure that a click isn’t merely accidental, the consumer has to actively select an option from a dropdown menu.  When they have done that and done any necessary changes to email, name, or even add their phone number, they are opted into terms and conditions that they have to accept, and then are given a notification that they will be contacted — that information all gets routed to your CRM so that you can track it from form submission to the sale of the vehicle. Our team uses LeadsBridge for this capability. So you’ve ensured that the consumer has chosen to engage with the lead generation ad and has taken actual actions to share their information, which demonstrates several layers of intent.  It’s all a matter of keeping things simple and structured. When our team put this into a beta test, it generated an average of 83 qualified leads per month at a cost of around $8 per lead .  The On-Facebook Ecosystem Facebook has adapted in the face of privacy constraints and the eventual deprecation of the third-party cookie. It’s important that we embrace the future Facebook ecosystem of today because this is the environment in which we will all compete. By understanding how consumers want to engage with us, as well as the fact that platforms like Facebook and Google are creating ecosystems that keep consumers within their own properties, we will be better equipped to produce content that better resonates with them. If you have any further questions regarding this evolution or the different tactics presented in this article, please feel free to reach out to me, Dane Saville, at dane@reunionmarketing.com.