Your dealership has a wonderful selection of vehicles in stock.
Your sales manager sets prices at competitive market values.
Your inventory manager writes thorough, accurate, helpful descriptions for each unit.
Your detailing staff do a meticulous job making every vehicle spotless.
Your photographer shoots and edits photos just right, so that your products appear dazzling.
Your social media advertising is parroting the same message as every other franchise, and it doesn’t show off the above, anything unique about your business, or what you alone have to offer.
Wait a second—let’s talk about that last one.
Before going any further, we must acknowledge that marketing efforts in the automotive space are often tied to brand guidelines. Co-op funds, for example, are the life-giving provision franchises have with their motherships to get money back on approved advertising, thus maximizing budgets. And, in order to claim said funds, auto dealers are usually forced to advertise a certain way, and often must begrudgingly use pre-approved templates to ensure compliance with the brand’s efforts. This is all well and good; using your brand’s assets to make your own advertising match the look, as well as demonstrating to your potential customers that you are an official franchise of this fantastic brand, has its benefits (customers know what to expect, see that the brand is behind you, etc). But is that where your online advertising efforts stop?
A drawback of solely echoing what the brand is doing is that it can cause your own message to be lost. The things listed at the start of this blog, that you work so hard at, aren’t immediately obvious to online users when your advertising is only saying the same thing as the manufacturer, and using the same creative assets. This is why we recommend diversifying your efforts with campaigns in the mix designed to show off what makes you unique.
Enter dynamic inventory ads.
This type of online advertising isn’t exactly new, but there have been strides made by the major platforms in recent months to improve the product. Facebook in particular has gotten much better at utilizing automotive dealer inventory feeds, even rolling out Facebook Marketplace for automotive this year (and, as an official supplier of that inventory syndication, we’re happy to share more information about that here). Beyond offering the ability to list your inventory on Marketplace, where users come to look at vehicles for sale, our data feeds can also be incorporated into your Facebook advertising campaigns, so you can bring your unique, tangible, up-to-date inventory to them.
So how does it work?
Facebook’s dynamic inventory ads utilize a data feed of a dealer’s inventory to automatically populate ads with the photos and information of individual vehicles. The data feed can be set up to refresh daily, or multiple times per day, keeping the information current. These vehicles can be arranged into sets (such as new or pre-owned) and will populate ads with the desired content, from your customized vehicle trim field to the long-form written description. This works especially nicely with Facebook’s carousel ad format, whereby multiple different items are shown in a scrollable fashion, so that a user can browse the selection right in their social media newsfeed. The two main techniques for executing dynamic inventory ad campaigns in the automotive space are:
- Present inventory to targeted users of the ideal audiences.
For example, showing a selection of a dealer’s new SUV inventory to their ideal demographic, such as local parents with young children.
- Present previous website visitors with the same vehicle they recently viewed, along with other similar vehicles which they may not have seen yet.
For example, showing a selection of pre-owned vehicles of a certain style and price range to a user who had looked at such vehicles on the site in the past month, and may not have seen what else has recently arrived in stock.
The second technique is commonly known as dynamic remarketing, and it requires more finesse to execute, but many clients report excellent results. In short, the Facebook pixel is set up such that it can identify the unique vehicles viewed by a user on the website, and then match them in the inventory catalog from the data feed, so that other individual units can be selected by Facebook’s algorithm to show the user similar vehicles based on what they already viewed. When users have navigated your site, searched for their desired vehicle type, and visited a VDP (vehicle detail page), you can surmise that they have a degree of interest in said vehicle. The Facebook pixel observes which vehicles evidently intrigued the user and triggers the dynamic ads to remind them of that vehicle’s availability and attractive price, along with other similar vehicles. There is then a heightened chance that the user may be prompted to inquire based on that digital follow up, whether it be via email, phone, or just walking in the dealership to check it out in person.
Technical aspects aside, either technique can be incredibly useful. You can even use them in tandem; one to reach new users and get them browsing your inventory, and one to reach the lower-funnel users with the reminder that their perfect vehicle is in stock. Either way, you leverage the materials and resources in which you’ve already invested, and your ad campaigns benefit from being current, relevant, and unique.
No other dealer has the exact same selection as yours. Take advantage of dynamic inventory ads to prove it to potential customers.
If you are an existing website client of ours and are interested in adding this type of campaign to your advertising mix, please discuss with your Online Marketing Manager! If you are not yet a Strathcom client and are interested in getting this and our many other tools working for you, we welcome you to contact us for more information.