Facebook Advertising for Car Dealerships – A Guide to Understanding the Rules

Did you know more than 6 million companies use Facebook ads to promote their business? And, 67% of marketers claim that Facebook is their most important social media channel.

Facebook advertising is no longer an optional tool for businesses in the automotive industry. In today’s digital and mobile world, it’s a necessity. With 94% of social media marketers using Facebook’s ad platform, it’s imperative for your automotive company to follow suit.

On average, roughly 75% of US adults spend at least 50 minutes per day on Facebook – it’s certainly one platform that you cannot afford to overlook.

4 Convincing Reasons Why Car Dealerships Need to Use Facebook Advertising

As the owner of or decision-maker at a car dealership, you’re probably wondering how Facebook advertising would benefit your business.

After all, you have a Facebook page. Isn’t that enough to increase brand awareness and reach your sales goals?

Not quite.

A Facebook page only presents your content to those who have liked or interacted with the page. Facebook advertising allows you to generate qualified leads, reach new audiences, improve brand awareness, and spend your ad budget wisely.

1. Lead Generation Capabilities

One of the primary uses of Facebook advertising for car dealerships is to generate qualified leads for the sales team. Most customers already have a general idea of which make and model they are interested in, so Facebook lead ads can easily convince potential customers to take the next step in the purchase cycle.

Instead of using outdated cold calling and other failed sales tactics, tap into the power of Facebook to bring qualified leads to your dealership! As a bonus, by using Facebook advertising for your lead generation efforts, your sales team or Business Development Center can spend more time and energy developing client relationships and closing rather than prospecting.

Additionally, by taking advantage of Facebook Marketplace, you can integrate your used inventory and grow your leads and sales even further.

facebook advertising

2. Improved Brand Awareness

Whether you’re an established dealership or a new business, brand awareness and recognition is a critical component of any marketing plan.

Using Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities and brand awareness ad objectives, you can reach potential customers who are in the market for a new or used car. By continuing to improve their recognition of your brand, you are actively working to ensure they choose your dealership over the competition!

3. Reach New Audience – Conquesting New Customers

With certain types of marketing, such as print ads, you can only reach select, local audiences. With Facebook advertising, you can introduce a multitude of viewers to your car dealership and available inventory.

Take advantage of your #1 tool… your DMS! Utilize customer match audiences and use it to exclude your current database. This will allow you to conquest new leads and customers without over-saturating your database with ads.

Expand your prospective leads and audience reach by pinpointing specific geographic areas, demographics, and other audience segments to target. You don’t have to restrict your dealership to a narrow geographical area (unless you have primary market areas that your manufacturer requires you to adhere to) because Facebook allows you to pinpoint your audience so you only have to pay for the select few who are in-market instead of thousands outside of your market who may not be interested in your offer. Customers will travel for the right car at the right price (especially with pre-owned vehicles), so make sure you capture their attention with Facebook advertising!

4. Excellent Use of Ad Dollars

Old marketing tactics such as billboards, sponsorships, and newspapers are expensive and difficult to track when it comes to ROI.

Facebook advertising provides your business with direct results and trackable metrics for a few cents per click. Using this advertising tactic allows you to stretch your marketing and advertising budget further while generating better, more qualified leads and results for your car dealership.

How to Set Up a Facebook Advertising Account for Your Car Dealership

To begin using Facebook advertising, you must first set up a Facebook Business Manager account. You may have already linked your car dealership’s Facebook page to your account. If not, follow these directions:

  • Ensure you are on the “Settings” page within Facebook Business Manager.
  • In the left-hand menu, select “Pages” and “Add a Page.”
  • Click one of the three options: “Claim a Page”, “Request Access to a Page”, or “Create a New Page.”

Once your Facebook page is connected, it’s time to create your advertising account.

  • First, click on “Accounts”, then “Ad Accounts” in the left menu.
  • Click on “Add Account.”
  • Choose “Create a New Ad Account” and follow the instructions.

Enter Payment Info

To open up a new ad account, you will need to enter your billing address and payment info. Facebook will bill you at the end of the month, and when you reach your set billing threshold. You can also set up an advertising budget limit if you’d like to control your ad spending.

Add Account Roles

You can also assign your marketing and sales employees to your Facebook advertising account. Each advertising account has the following available roles:

  • Admin: Able to create, edit, and view ads, access reports, edit payment methods, and manage admin permissions.
  • Advertiser: Able to see and edit ads and set up ads using the payment method associated with the ad account, and view payment info.
  • Analyst: Able to view ads and access reports.

After your account is set up with payment info and the various roles, it’s time to begin building your first campaign. To start, you’ll need to select an ad type.

Facebook Ad Types: Deciding Which Format to Use

One of the many benefits associated with using Facebook advertising is the wealth of ad formats from which to choose. Whether you want to promote a video showcasing your newest inventory or boost a blog post detailing regular vehicle maintenance tips, you can test a variety of ad types and determine which ones suit your marketing goals.

Some of the most popular Facebook ad types for car dealerships include:

Video Ads

Video ads allow your car dealership to give users an inside look at your facility, inventory, team members, and more. This ad format is often used by those in the industry to showcase upcoming promotions as well.

Carousel Ads

Using a combination of text, images, and links, Facebook creates a carousel of videos or pictures within a single ad. For example, this option allows you to present users with several makes/models of vehicles currently available in your showroom.

Dynamic Ads

Using VIN Specific Advertising tactics and Facebook’s dynamic ad format, you can upload your inventory and serve ultra-targeted ads to users searching for that exact vehicle. You can dynamically insert Year, Make, Model, Price, Mileage, etc. into the ad copy to personalize it towards the user.

Pro tip: Also, you can supercharge these creatives by utilizing Carousel Ads, so not only are you retargeting vehicles they looked at, but also taking advantage of Facebook’s machine learning in order to optimize your other carousel images with vehicles the consumer may be in-market for.

facebook advertising

Image/Text Ads

The most basic type of ad available to car dealerships is also capable of delivering a great return! Using a simple, captivating image and attention-grabbing ad copy, you can get a potential customer to take actions such as scheduling a test drive, taking advantage of a discount, or stopping by your showroom.

The beauty of Facebook advertising is the ability to experiment with your promotions continuously. If one ad type isn’t driving results, try another format, upload a new image, or tweak the copy!

Facebook Advertising Rules All Car Dealerships Should Know

To ensure all businesses are using the advertising platform fairly, Facebook instituted a series of rules. These rules range from formatting restrictions for specific ad types to broad sweeping regulations related to ad context.

Facebook Ad Formatting Rules

Each ad type requires various restrictions when it comes to the design, copy, and layout. For instance, a video ad must adhere to the following format:

  • Video Ratio: 9:16 to 16:9
  • Video File Size: 4GB Max
  • Video Length Minimum: 1 second
  • Video Length Maximum: 240 Minutes
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Video thumbnail images that consist of more than 20% text may experience reduced delivery.
  • Vertical videos (with aspect ratio taller than 4:5) may be masked to 4:5

If you include a link in your video ad, you are also restricted to a 25-character headline and 30-character link description.

Use the Facebook Ads Guide to determine which restrictions and format rules you must follow when setting up your ad campaigns. Failure to do so will result in either Facebook not showing your ad to potential customers or limited reach overall.

Often, the 20% text in images rule is what catches car dealerships off-guard. This rule states that no more than 20% of your image (whether a video thumbnail or standard picture) may contain text. To determine if your image design passes the test, upload it to the Text Overlay Tool.

To save time, it is in your best interest to create your ads ahead of time while adhering to these restrictions.

Facebook Advertising Policies

In addition to the way you design your car dealership ads, you must also follow Facebook’s strict advertising policies. These particular policies are in place to guarantee that all users have a safe and enjoyable experience on the social media platform.

All Facebook ads are sent through a review process to determine if it complies with the platform’s policies. During this process, they inspect every aspect of your Facebook ad along with the corresponding landing page.

If Facebook doesn’t approve your ad, it could be because of functional errors on your landing page or failure to comply with one of their advertising policies. If they still don’t approve your ad after making their requested changes, you can appeal the decision using this form.

Facebook’s advertising policies are relatively straightforward. Types of prohibited content include:

  • Ads that violate community policies
  • Illegal products or services
  • Discriminatory practices
  • Tobacco/drug/drug-related products
  • Weapons, ammunition, etc.
  • Adult content
  • Misleading or false content
  • Multilevel marketing

As a car dealership, you won’t have to worry about violating these policies if you keep your ads focused on the vehicles and the needs of the consumer, rather than using gimmicky marketing ploys.

Create ads that inform and inspire potential customers to take the next step in the buying process, and you’ll never have your content disapproved by Facebook.

Start Advertising Your Car Dealership on Facebook

Your dealership already has a Facebook page, so what are you waiting for? Sign your company up for a Facebook advertising account and start connecting with qualified buyers.

Of course, if you don’t have the time or manpower to dedicate to a Facebook advertising campaign, the J&L Marketing team is here to help. Our team specializes in using VIN Specific Advertising and Facebook Advertising to amplify your marketing results.

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