According to a recent Auto News story, Facebook is proactively courting auto dealerships, trying to generate more ad revenues from the vehicle industry. This goal comes with some innate challenges. The biggest one is simply this: Unlike other consumer products, cars aren’t usually bought directly from the Web.
Facebook Courting Car Companies
It doesn’t seem like that’s going to stop Facebook from forging new ties with American car companies, though. Facebook has held an Automotive Summit every year for the past five years, and for the 2017 event it sent in the big guns—Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg—who went to Detroit to spend quality time with Mary Barra, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors.
Said Sandberg at the event, “Our industries are converging. Detroit’s writing software and Silicon Valley is building hardware. The opportunities to learn from each other have never been better.”
It’s All About Engagement
Sandberg’s visit to Detroit doesn’t change the fact that, right now, there’s no direct way for auto makers or auto dealers to sell their inventory directly on Facebook. Still, she thinks Facebook has plenty of use for auto dealers—and the key phrase is engagement.
In other words, a Facebook advertising campaign may not directly result in a sale, but it can demonstrate the value of the brand—and that, in turn, boosts conversions. Auto News provides an example: “An ad for GM’s OnStar, for example, targeted users who have the service’s trademark little blue button in their cars but lack a data plan. That campaign resulted in a 7 percent boost to data-plan sales.”
Zuckerberg in Detroit
Sandberg’s visit to GM comes just a few weeks after Facebook’s head honcho, Mark Zuckerberg, toured a Ford plant. And it also highlights an emerging trend: Car companies using Facebook products—including Facebook Live—to unveil their new product lineups.
“Facebook is focused on boosting sales for video advertising on its site, which should help take a cut of the $70 billion television ad market,” reports Auto News. “The auto industry still spends the majority of its marketing dollars on television, and budgets for the medium have held steady for about 10 years… Some of that money could shift to Facebook, if the company can convince marketers that its video ads are as effective.”
Facebook and Your Dealership
As the Facebook higher-ups make the rounds in Detroit, there are implications for your dealership as well. For instance, your dealership may not be able to sell cars online, but it can use Facebook’s sophisticated Ads platform to target local consumers and to demonstrate the value of your brand.
In fact, we believe Facebook to be the critical marketing platform for used car dealerships in Orange County and beyond. We encourage you to learn more about what Facebook can do for your dealership. Start the process by reaching out to the Get My Auto team directly, and asking us more about integrated digital marketing.