The Best Way Car Dealerships Use Facebook for Brand Awareness (2020)

How to brand your dealership using Facebook

Have you ever wondered how you can leverage Facebook to its maximum potential when it comes to branding?

How can you, inside a dealership, increase your store’s awareness within your locality without spending millions of dollars in ads? Moreover, how can you measure its impact?

Well, we had the opportunity to test it with dozens of dealers and this is what we found.

Before we get started, let’s make sure you have a Facebook Pixel on your site.

A pixel is much like a surveillance camera that records everyone that comes in and out of your website.

That lets you reach out to them at any given time. The Facebook pixel is significant in any online dealership strategy because it will make it possible for you to:

  • Create a website traffic audience
  • Create website traffic audience lookalikes (similar to your visitors)
  • Create page specific traffic audiences

You’ll need:

  • Your dealership website’s CMS access
  • Your dealership’s Facebook page Admin Access (you should have this at all times)
  • A Facebook Pixel

Installing the pixel can be tricky, so here’s how if you already have a

Facebook Page for your dealership

  • Step 1 – Go to https://business.facebook.com/
  • Step 2 – Click on “Create an Account” or “Login” with your own Facebook account (we’ll separate them later)
  • Step 3 – In your Business Manager, click Pixels under Event Manager, then click “Create a Pixel.” Name it after the website you’ll want to use it on.
  • Step 4 – Select Manually Install the Code Yourself if you’re a bit comfortable with inserting code in your website’s content management system (CMS) or Email Instructions to a Developer if you’re not comfortable. Most will ask their website provider to install it for them; it’s the safest way to do it.
  • Step 5 – Verify your pixel is set up correctly by checking if it’s recording events, look for the green light in your Facebook pixel page.

Creating your car dealer Website Traffic Audience with Facebook

Step 1 – Click on “Create Custom Audience” in the top right section.
Step 2 – Select the Pixel you just created
Step 3 – Set to “All website visitors in the past 90 days.”
Step 4 – Name your Audience “All DealerX.com Website Traffic”

Tactic # 1: Local Branding for Auto Dealers

Here is a pure branding/awarness ad; any dealership should be able to run. While there are many ways to increase brand awareness, this recipe is quick, simple, and useful. It’s also reasonable in terms of investment.

Basic principles for this car dealership branding ad:

Run this campaign year-long, change the creative every three months
If you have a professional video about your dealership, here it goes

  • The image should show your top 3 models
  • The text should say something like: “In Baltimore, Honda drivers choose X.”
  • The geography should respect your PMA or stick to a 20 miles radius maximum unless you’re in a rural area where you can go broader
  • Under Location, you should choose “People who live in this city.”
  • The Call to Action Should be “Learn more” and link to your homepage
  • The Campaign type on Facebook should be “Reach.”
  • The Audience Age should be 25-65+
  • Now, you’ll want to select “Single Image” or “Single Video.”

Campaign Objective: Dealer level Brand Awareness

Reach the most people in your area/PMA likely to be interested in your brand & control your dealership’s ecosystem.

Why do it this way
The purpose of this Facebook campaign is 100% branding. You want to broadcast your message around your area/PMA as much as possible.

This type can replace/help your TV/Radio branding efforts. It’s more cost effective, and you get actual stats.

Audience Targeting

On the next step, you need to set interests to your brand (i.e., Honda). Leave the competition out for now. Facebook will determine who fits the “Honda” bucket by presenting your ad to people who may have been on Honda related websites lately, or even in your store.

Using their app, installed on almost every smartphone today, Facebook can know if you recently visited a dealership & even if you did a test drive around the block. They then place you in a high shopping intention segment. Crazy right!

How to find the perfect monthly ad spend number

  • $5/car sold on average per month
  • 80 cars sold = $400/month for the Branding Campaign
  • Divide by 30 for daily budget, so $13/day for this example.

Granted, it may seem low, but when targeting correctly, you should be able to reach your target market at a low cost.

Keep in mind this is a starting point. You can always increase later, but make sure you keep some money in the bank for the other Facebook Ads recipes!

Remember, this is not 1980 anymore, and you don’t have to show a TV ad to everyone, including every 4-year-olds in the neighborhood. Plus, the production cost is almost 0.

Sure, you could spend $5,000 a month in Facebook Branding, but you’d have to reach so far away that it wouldn’t make financial sense. Not that many people are interested in your brand right now, sorry to break it to you this way.

Key metrics

Total Ad Recall per 1,000 impressions. The number of people that will remember your brand.

Frequency: The number of times the average user sees your ad. For branding purposes, aim for 3-5 times. If you’re pushing your brand, you can up the Frequency cap a little bit to 2 every five days.

Raise your daily budget if you’re stuck at one after 30 days.

Use Social Proof in your ads to your advantage

The cool thing about running this ad for a long time gives you social proofs from people interacting with your ad. Likes & comments will pile up and higher the interaction, higher the awareness for your brand. Just make sure you are responsive to all user comments, thanking everyone for their feedback, good or bad.

Platforms: Select Facebook & Instagram

Creative & Description: Here’s a quick ad example:

Want more?

Visit the Autobahn Academy Resource section for more on how to generate more sales with Facebook Ads.