How Auto Brands Can Tap into the Power of Facebook to Sell More Cars

More than seventy million cars will be sold in 2019; however, with at least 60 brands vying for the attention of the same target audience, significant market share can be hard to come by. For anyone in the auto industry, the next question should be straightforward: how can you increase market share? To no surprise, the solution revolves around getting more people through dealership doors. Unfortunately, traditional means like billboards and giant inflatables won’t cut it—consumers have evolved, and frankly, expect more. It’s time for you to evolve, too, and meet them where they’re spending their time. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook.  

However, just like traditional advertising has lost some of its luster, old-school Facebook tactics have done some of the same. Today, you need a full-funnel strategy that takes consumers from awareness to purchase. Here are the five steps to get there:

Step #1: Recognize Facebook as Fertile Ground

Your first step to a full-funnel Facebook strategy designed to drive car shoppers through dealership doors is to recognize social, especially Facebook, as fertile soil. According to Facebook, 44% of auto consumers say that they learn about new car launches on social or messaging apps. Likewise, 77% of them say social would make them consider buying or leasing a new auto model.

That said, fertile soil alone won’t guarantee success—you need the right nutrients, too. This means proper signal tracking, lead and purchase capture as well as having the data infrastructure to back it up. 

Pro Tip: Think about the digital interactions your customers have with your brand. Are they on mobile? Desktop? A combination of both? If you’re unable to follow them across all of these digital touchpoints, your strategy isn’t complete. 

Step #2: Establish the Roots of a Full-Funnel Strategy 

Your seeds are planted, so it’s time to establish the roots destined for long-term success. This includes a thoughtful mix of campaigns aimed at each level of the purchase journey—think lead generation campaigns and events as well as Messenger strategies aimed at driving loyalty. 

Pro Tip: Facebook advertising success won’t happen overnight; it’s an iterative process. So, start with 30% of your budget going toward high-level brand awareness and 70% toward direct response to get car shoppers through dealerships doors. After two weeks, adjust those percentages based on what’s working and where you’re seeing the most return. 

Step #3: Cultivate Your Land 

You’re off to a good start, now it’s time to test different strategies and see what’s working best. To cultivate the best strategy, test different data sources, for example, like your first-party (CRM) data or other targeting capabilities readily available in Facebook’s advertising ecosystem. Beyond data, you can also test different ad placements, bid types, and creative elements. This is where Facebook’s Automotive Inventory Ads can be an appealing option. Whatever you decide to test, your goal should always be the same: take what’s working and build upon in, so it blossoms into something that drives your bottom line for years to come.  

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. At this stage, you should be ready to evolve and advance, so be open to testing the latest and greatest in Facebook’s advertising ecosystem.

Step #4: Bear the Fruits of Your Labor

Now that you know what’s working, it’s time to take that knowledge and let it bloom and scale.   

Here, take a look at your audiences and what’s performing best, for example. With this information, make smart decisions about segmentation and targeting. This could include the strategic use of in-market, third-party audiences. Can you scale with lookalike audiences using the information you know about your best, most engaged customers? Probably. Be creative here—differentiating your audience strategy is one of the best ways to gain an edge on your competition. 

Pro Tip: Be creative with your audience source. Ask yourself how you can get your hands on a truly unique audience. For example, rather than just target auto intenders, target household’s expecting their first child with family-friendly vehicles. This level of granularity is possible with third-party data sources.

Step #5: Produce Real, Repeatable Business Outcomes 

What’s the point of the first four steps if they don’t create real business value? That’s why the final step of your Facebook strategy is all about delivering real, repeatable business outcomes beyond one or two dealerships. 

How can you ramp up your strategy and spend? With tech-enabled solutions and services, like Brand Networks. At this stage, repeatable outcomes rely on data management, optimization, and automation. With full-funnel strategies active across the country, there are too many moving parts to manage everything on your own. Technology is the only way to do it right.  

Pro Tip: Don’t let man-power be the reason you can’t scale your program across regional and national dealerships. Once you have a recipe that works, hand over the bulk of it to technology that can do most of the heavy lifting.


I’m not saying that social should rule the roost of your digital strategy. However, I am saying that studies continue to point to social, especially Facebook, as a growing resource for car shoppers. That’s why you need a presence there. However, old-school Facebook tactics won’t work—you need a more thoughtful, full-funnel strategy capable of getting people through dealership doors. These five steps will help you do that.

Want to learn more about how Brand Networks can help you unleash a Facebook strategy aimed at driving more people through local dealership doors? Contact us today.