Dealership Marketing

The Truth – Why Facebook Ads are Costing DEALERS Thousands!

It’s a hard topic to write, being somebody who is so focused in on helping dealerships allocate MORE money into digital strategies, to come out with such a revolting and nearly contradicting article subject like this. And let’s face it – there are hundreds of dealers and vendors who would rather turn a blind eye and ignore it. Perhaps it’s due to complacency, which may be the biggest threat to the industry. Or rather, it may be out of unbeknownst. I feel it is my duty to not only educate, but to bring this to the attention of those that may or may not currently advertise through the Facebook Platform. And for the sake of TL;DR: there’s a solution for this issue.

Here’s a little more about me:

My name is John, I’m 25 years old, and I own a company called Arbor Advertising. Which helps dealerships of all types (independents, franchise, BHPH, ect.) sell more cars through Facebook Advertising. My background comes strictly from the affiliate world, where me and my affiliates ran advertisements sending subprime leads to 3rd parties, which were sold directly to dealerships. I exited this monopoly because it didn’t sit right with me. This catapulted me into forming direct relationships with dealers, managing and improving their Facebook Digital Strategies, which result in 15-50 extra sales a month for each dealer partner on average. It’s through this experience that I’m able to report back on my findings, educating dealers, and ultimately provide a new level of transparency in an industry that needs it the MOST. But enough about me, let’s give a basic introduction to the topic.

The REAL Problem with Facebook Advertising

The Facebook Ad Platform was built for people with previous advertising experience, so those migrating from Google Ads or other media buying platforms were acquainted when similar phrases and advertising options were introduced. Although reminiscing for some, it becomes a treacherous environment for those who may not come from the media buying space, which leads me to my biggest and most transparent line of this topic…… Facebook was DESIGNED to monetize on NEW media buyers.

The single hardest thing to do when advertising on Facebook is selecting the correct campaign type to use. It’s as if Facebook has the intention to confuse their Ad Platform users into using the incorrect objectives, wasting money in poor campaigns, and paying more per lead than necessary.

There’s literally a dozen different campaign objectives to choose from. A landscape like this can be stressful, even for those that are well versed in online advertising. And although Facebook recently created a tool which guides you through the creation of a campaign, it’s not made for businesses as unique as car dealerships. Using the incorrect campaign type is one of the leading reasons Facebook Ads may be costing you THOUSANDS of dollars, resulting in little to no sales.

So how do I END my wasteful spending?

It all comes down to selecting the correct campaign type, the right angle to use, and leading people to places they can trust to send their private information to. Think of it like dating…. you’ll never give the creepy looking person your phone number or name, let alone address or zip code, because you can’t trust them with this information.

However, people are more than happy to submit this information to places that appear to be trustful.

To make things easier, we’ve broken this topic down four different ways. Each being unique to your own situation, which will not only educate you, but give you a clear cut path as to what you can do to PREVENT or STOP wasteful spending through the Facebook Ad Platform.

*IMPORTANT* Please refer to one of the four situations below. Reading whichever one closely resembles your situation. *IMPORTANT*

Situation #1: I Boost Posts through my Facebook Page.

While there’s nothing wrong with dipping your toes in the water and Boosting Posts to get a Feel for what the Facebook Platform can produce in terms of engagement. Boosting Posts is meant for engaging people through the Facebook Platform – it’s difficult to sell cars to people when boosting posts because their interest is such low-level. Then comes the challenge of getting these people to converse with you, which creates a new level of difficulty. While it’s hard to ignore phone calls, voicemails, and text messages. It’s incredibly easy to ignore a Facebook Page messaging you to solicit business.

Boosting Posts is something dealerships should avoid because:

1: It’s meant for getting reactions, likes, comments, and shares. All social indicators – which are a vanity metric.

2: The way a boosted post optimizes is for social engagement. So although you may be getting cheap interaction, it rarely translates to sales.

3: You’ll grow comfortable, and may be reluctant to learn the advanced targeting & campaign options Facebook offers on the back end.

What can I do to stop Boosting Posts and begin running effective campaigns:

For the love of pete, please refer to the MASSIVE helpguide I wrote on running Facebook Ads in 2019 & beyond. It goes in depth on how to run Facebook Advertisements, how to create simple landing pages to capture leads, and what campaign types you should and should NOT be using. For the sake of this thread though, allow me to elaborate on making the transition from Boosting Posts to running effective campaigns..

#1: END all posts that are currently being boosted.

#2: Get acclimated to the Facebook Ads Manager by creating your first ad account, or venturing into a current ad account.

#3: Read the MASSIVE helpguide I wrote on running Facebook Advertisements for Dealerships.

#4: Profit?

Situation #2: I use the Lead objective, and get a fair amount of leads, but don’t sell cars.

Nothing hurts more than hitting your target but missing your mark. Which is exactly what you’re doing if you run Lead Ads, or lead forms that are internal to the Facebook Platform. Not only are they the biggest waste of money that dealers everywhere fall prey to, but the fact that Facebook thought it’d be a good idea to implement when at a baseline it’s flawed is beyond the comprehension of marketers EVERYWHERE, me included.

Lead Objectives / Lead Ads are something dealers should avoid because:

1: Facebook uses profile information to auto-populate these internal lead forms. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook was created in 2009. My profile information is certainly outdated, and if someone were to try and reach out to this info they’d be at a lost cause. As are many dealers when running Lead Objectives / Lead Ads. Greatly increasing your chances of reaching out to incorrect prospects, and ultimately wasting money on dud leads.

2: Due to the simplicity of submitting a “lead” through Facebook’s internal lead forms, it can be incredibly simple to accidentally submit your information, having no interest in whatever the ad pertains to. For dealers, this can be a big reason why when following up with leads, they may be the correct people, but they may not recall sending you their information.

3: It’s just terrible marketing. And if your vendor or marketing person said it was a good idea, it’s probably best to steer clear of them. Ads like these are very simple to put together, and I’ve seen dealers overcharged for their setup.

What can I do to stop running Lead Objectives / Lead Ads and begin running effective campaigns:

By God and all the patrons and saints, I beg you to refer to the helpguide I wrote on running Facebook Ads correctly as a dealership. It’ll elaborate on any topic or subject which pertains to the effective use of Facebook Ads, and how you can be leveraging them as a dealer. Much like Situation #1, I’ll give you a clear cut path of what you can do moving forwards.

#1: Stop running Lead Objectives / Lead Ads and begin running Conversion Campaigns. This will give you more control over what objectives to optimize your campaigns for, and give the same attribution in the Ads Manager as you’d find with your current Lead Objectives / Lead Ads.

#2: Build out your own landing page to send people to. People will have to manually fill out their personal information through these custom funnels. By doing this you can be certain that they intend to send information, and ultimately their info is the most up to date.

#3: Learn more about Conversion Optimization, and how to continue leveraging your ads to achieve a lower cost-per.

Situation #3: I don’t run ads, but have thought about it.

Well you’re on the right train of thought. Running advertisements can be one of the best ways to move metal! There’s a lot of snake oil out there though, and many companies who run advertisements with masses of dealers do so at scale. So the way they run ads is less customized, more automated, and their objectives are certainly far from producing sales. If you’re just starting out it’s probably best to run advertisements on your own. If you don’t have the time to learn or test, perhaps hiring a vendor to manage your ad campaign is an ideal solution.

That being said, here’s a list of pros and cons of running advertisements for yourself, hiring a marketer in-house, and running advertisements with a digital vendor.

Working with a Digital Vendor

PROS

* Usually understands what it takes to sell cars.

* Are typically experienced in running paid traffic.

* Can quickly deploy advertising campaigns.

* Knows how to resolve campaign issues professionally.

CONS

* Can be expensive to work with.

* Are usually unwilling to try things that are unique to your dealership.

* May not have your dealerships interest in mind.

Hiring Marketing In-House

PROS

* Can control and customize campaigns to your specific liking and tastes.

* Are very quick to resolve problems, as there’s no bottleneck in communication.

* Have more creative juices than your typical agency.

CONS

* May be more expensive than paying a vendor to manage media buying.

* May fail a lot before seeing cars sold.

* Will need to learn a LOT to stay ahead of the curve.

Running Advertisements Yourself

PROS

* Full control over campaigns with zero bottlenecks.

* More likely to be accountable, if things were to go south and need adjustment.

* Something to add to your Resume?

CONS

* Will be a learning curve or two, and may get frustrating.

* Might feel overworked, managing campaigns, and doing whatever else you have on your plate.

* You’re almost destined to waste money the first few attempts.

Situation #3: I run Messenger campaigns, where prospects message my page.

Although not as ineffective as boosting posts, leading people to send your page a message through ads can be equally frustrating. Whether through chatbots, messenger sequences, or to simply inquire about a vehicle. These individuals are expressing very low-levels of interest, and are some of the most difficult to engage in conversation with. Because you’re not gathering more valuable contact details, it is some of the most wasteful spending you can do when running a Facebook Advertising Campaign.

Messenger Campaigns are something dealers should avoid because:

1: People coming in through messenger campaigns are usually low-level interest. Because Facebook optimizes your campaigns based on these data points, you’ll likely find more people with similar levels of interest contacting you through your advertisements, leading to wasteful advertising.

2: It’s very hard to reach back out to these people, as most don’t supply important contact details (Ex. Phone number, mailing address, ect.)

3: Messenger conversations are a vanity metric.

What can I do to stop running Messenger Ads and begin running effective campaigns:

This is my final plea, I swear to god. For the love of all things that are good, please take a moment of your time to read the tutorial I wrote on running Facebook Ads as a dealership. It will answer any question you have – and if it doesn’t definitely feel free to post your gripes/challenges of Facebook Advertising below. I’d be happy to answer them thoroughly and timely.

For the sake of this thread and my own sanity, below are steps you can take to divert attention away from Messenger Campaigns:

#1: Shut off any campaigns with the messenger objective.

#2: Build out your own landing page to send people to. People will have to manually fill out their personal information through these custom funnels. By doing this you can be certain that they intend to send information, and ultimately their info is the most up to date.

#3: Learn more about Conversion Optimization, and how to continue leveraging your ads to achieve a lower cost-per.

What if my situation isn’t listed?

This article is meant to be a resource. A place people can turn to if they have a question, where it can be answered by somebody as deeply embedded in the industry as me, or any other industry professional. I encourage you to take the time to leave a comment down below or private message me, should you have any questions regarding your unique situation or this topic.

Beyond that… if you’re not selling cars through a social strategy, it may be time to. I have said this before and will say it again – this is comparable to the gold rush. So those on-board that are willing to conform to what I believe should be the new industry standard in advertising, you’re in for a wild ride. To everybody else, I suggest you hop on ASAP!

Tallcool1

Sr. Refresher
Mar 17, 2014
327
191
43
First Name
Clint
I have been thinking about this for a couple months. What is the most common inquiry received through Messenger type ads? Is This Available? It is the default message that is pre-loaded, and you want to talk about beating your head against a wall. The majority of these people don't respond or engage when we respond to their message. Shoot, these could be accidental clicks for all I know.

Even our own website can solicit this type of "lead". I mentioned this on a Refresh Friday show a few weeks ago. Get rid of all of my Call To Action buttons, except 1. That 1 button says "Ask Us A Question". Click that button and the person gets a dialogue box that says "What Is Your Question". Lead volume will fall, but lead quality will be much better.

Good post @John.H . Thank you.
 
Reactions: craigh and John.H

John.H

Getting Refreshed
Nov 12, 2018
79
67
18
First Name
John
I have been thinking about this for a couple months. What is the most common inquiry received through Messenger type ads? Is This Available? It is the default message that is pre-loaded, and you want to talk about beating your head against a wall. The majority of these people don't respond or engage when we respond to their message. Shoot, these could be accidental clicks for all I know.

Even our own website can solicit this type of "lead". I mentioned this on a Refresh Friday show a few weeks ago. Get rid of all of my Call To Action buttons, except 1. That 1 button says "Ask Us A Question". Click that button and the person gets a dialogue box that says "What Is Your Question". Lead volume will fall, but lead quality will be much better.

Good post @John.H . Thank you.
I think that's our biggest gripe with messenger ads. They're pretty convenient if you have no experience running advertisements, but as a result tend to perform at a lesser level than conversion campaigns, or even Lead Ads.

Love what you said about lead quality.... We've been focusing on quality more than quantity lately. Gathering more types of information on each prospect via funnels:

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Through this we've been selling more cars, getting in contact with more leads, and ultimately MOVING MORE METAL!
 
Reactions: Tallcool1

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
594
582
93
First Name
Rick
I'm extremely curious what Facebook has brewing in the kitchen.


Check this out if you haven't seen it. While you're there, you might as well download the PDF as well.

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