We were one of only a few Canadian agencies invited to attend the 2nd Facebook Automotive Partners Summit in Menlo Park, California on Tuesday. It’s always great to be recognized by a world class company like Facebook (it’s also very nice to leave the snow behind in Edmonton and hang out in Silicon Valley) but the greatest value comes from the industry-specific training and advanced learning that Facebook provides us. So, here is the highlight reel of what we learned.
It was a jam packed day with over a dozen speakers covering over a dozen topics, as well as a tour and happy hour (more on that later).
First off, the technology that Facebook is working on and putting out is pretty slick, check this video out: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/04/using-artificial-intelligence-to-help-blind-people-see-facebook/. This isn’t going to revolutionize the auto industry, but it gives you an idea of what they are capable of and that Facebook truly can reach everybody. Just wait until Oculus is full swing!
I’ve said this before and I am going to continue to say it again: Facebook is not about likes and shares. It is about highly targeted advertising, to relevant people, with a variety of ad formats. We know that consumers go on a journey when they buy a vehicle. Facebook enables you, as a dealer, to provide impactful advertising from consideration to ownership. So, what does this look like in terms of format or targeting?
- Local awareness ads and videos with broad targeting focused on reach
- Carousel ads to showcase inventory or features of vehicles with in- market auto data or website retargeting and look-a-like audiences
- Lead ads for test drives and website clicks to VDPs with MAX in-market auto data and/or website retargeting
- It doesn’t end with sales though, there are huge applications for fixed ops
- Messenger is going to be big, not sure how big, but it is going to be big and it is going to have an impact in the auto industry
- The other takeaway that I found very interesting were the abilities Facebook offers you to market to a multi-cultural nation. Obviously this is very applicable in Canada, take advantage.
Beyond the great information and data presented, it would be a shame if we didn’t talk about the campus. Security is tight so don’t show up just expecting to have lunch with Zuck’. Once you are in, it is like digital Disneyland; in fact, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sits on the board of Disney and had them come out to help create the community. It is truly amazing, and the California weather doesn’t hurt either. They have everything that you would expect your typical Silicon Valley company to have: cafeterias and food, a bike shop, a spa, a bank (of course), an ice cream parlour, a BBQ smokehouse, a woodworking shop, and a pop up shop that local businesses from Palo Alto can occupy so that Facebook can support the local economy. Watching people work on their laptops while eating ice cream truly makes one envious. One of the most interesting and important parts of Facebook HQ, in my opinion, is that it is located in the old Sun Microsystems campus and left they some of the logos around to remind everyone how quickly everything can change. It is a good message for all: keep pushing forward.