As the car automotive industry continues to evolve, so does the way businesses connect with their customers. Facebook has become a popular platform for car dealerships, car detailing shops, and salesmen to reach potential customers. But with Facebook's removal of the "Car Owners" behavior targeting option under the "Automotive (DLX Auto Powered by Polk)" third-party data category, it's become more challenging than ever to effectively target car owners using Facebook Ads.
One might think that this change has put the brakes on successful Facebook advertising for the automotive industry. However, it's simply a detour that requires a more strategic approach. Let's explore how to navigate this road and successfully target car owners on Facebook.
Understanding Car Owner's Behavior on Facebook
Think of Facebook as a bustling city. Within this city, there are numerous neighborhoods, each with its unique set of behaviors, interests, and demographics. Car owners, for instance, make up a distinct neighborhood within this city, one that you want to navigate to and understand better.
Car owners on Facebook are likely to engage with content that aligns with their interests. They might follow car brands, join car enthusiast groups, or like posts about car maintenance tips. Understanding these behaviors is like studying the road map of our city - it gives us a clear idea of where our target audience resides and how they engage within the "Facebook city". For instance,
- If you find that a significant number of car owners engage with posts about eco-friendly driving, you might tailor your Facebook ads to highlight your dealership's range of electric vehicles.
- If you notice car owners in your area are part of a local classic car enthusiast group, your car detailing shop could run ads showcasing your expertise in restoring and detailing classic cars.
How To Target Car Owners On Facebook Ads
The key is to take note of these behaviors and adjust your Facebook ads targeting strategy accordingly. Once you understand these behavioral patterns, you're ready to plan your journey. Starting this process can feel like revving the engine without moving, so here are 5 different targeting options to kick-start your journey:
1. Start With A Simple Audience
This is like warming up your car before hitting the road. You want to target people who have already shown interest in your business. For example, suppose you own a car dealership. You could use Facebook's website custom audiences to retarget people who have visited your brand website or specific pages of your site, like the contact page or a specific car model's page.
This audience has shown a high intent, and with a well-crafted ad, you can guide them back to your website to complete their journey. Now that your engine is running, it's time to speed up.
2. Lookalikes of Your Past Customers
Think of Lookalike Audiences as your car's GPS. They guide you to new potential customers who are similar to your best existing customers.
- Using Facebook Pixel: If you have a sizeable number of paying users, Facebook's Pixel can help you create a Value-based Lookalike Audience. This allows you to target users similar to your past customers, potentially leading to high Lifetime Value (LTV) audiences.
- Using Customer List: If your dealership has enough past customers and their data (like email addresses), you can upload this information to Facebook. The platform then uses its algorithm to find other users who have similar traits to your customer list. Let's say your past customers are typically males, aged 30-45, living in urban areas, and interested in sports cars. Facebook will then target ads to users who fit this profile, increasing your chances of finding high-value prospects.
3. Target Interest Groups
Targeting interest groups is like tuning into your favorite radio station while on a road trip. It helps you to connect with users based on their specific interests and the Facebook groups they're part of.
- Detailed Targeting: You can shift gears by targeting users based on their specific interests. Let's say you own a car detailing shop, you might target members of those showing interest in "Auto detailing", "Auto maintenance" and etc.
- Facebook Group Targeting: Facebook groups serve as road signs as they consist of highly focused audiences based on specific topics which guide us to our destination - the car owners. For instance, if you're selling luxury cars, you could target members of luxury car enthusiast groups.
4. Hyperlocal Targeting
While the open road can be exciting, it's important to remember that over 50% of sales for a car dealership happen within a 25-mile radius of the dealership. This is where Geofencing comes into play.
For example, you could use Geofencing to target people who live or work near your dealership or car detailing shop. This ensures your ads reach the eyes of those most likely to visit your location and avail of your services.
5. Navigate In-Market Shopper Data
While Facebook no longer provides the option to leverage automotive data from data partners such as Datalogix or Polk, we can still put the right vehicles in front of the right shopper by tapping into in-market shopper data which focuses your Facebook ad budget on actual car shoppers. This allows you to target people who are in the market to buy a car, not just generate clicks or page likes.
*However, this requires a partnership with selected data vendors before you can access the database to create custom audience on Facebook Ads.
Building Your Audience Beyond the Facebook Horizon
Relying solely on Facebook's data can be like driving without a spare tire. To minimize the effects of potential Facebook algorithm changes, it's crucial to build your audience. One effective way is to use a Lead Magnet to build a newsletter. This allows you to engage with potential customers directly, keeping you in the driver's seat.
So, what does this journey look like?
Let's say you're operating a car dealership in Miami.
- You start by identifying Facebook groups where Miami-based car enthusiasts gather.
- Using Geofencing, you focus on users within a 25-mile radius of your dealership.
- You create a Value-based Lookalike Audience based on your past customers.
- You then split-test these audiences with ads featuring cars that match their interests.
- Lastly, you offer a valuable Lead Magnet, such as a free car maintenance guide, to build your own "Miami - Car Lovers" audience.
Keep in mind that the information provided here is not exhaustive. There are many ways to target car owners on Facebook, and the best strategy for your business may differ based on various factors, such as the nature of your business, your advertising goals, your intended audience, and available resources.
While Facebook's removal of the behavior targeting may initially seem like a roadblock, it is merely a speed bump on the route to successful Facebook automotive advertising. By understanding car owners on Facebook, implementing strategic Facebook Ads targeting techniques, and building your own audience, you can ensure that you're always ready to shift gears and explore different routes to connect with car owners on Facebook.
So, go ahead and start your engines. The road to successful Facebook Ads for car dealerships, car detailing, and sales is just a click away. Happy driving!