Is Facebook Advertising Right For Your Dealership?

November 7, 2019

In the social media world right now, there are four types of dealerships:

  1. Dealerships that have a full social media marketing system utilizing ads that actually turn a positive ROI.
  2. Dealerships that are on social media, haphazardly pushing ads out that aren’t doing anything except wasting money.
  3. Dealerships that are on social media and still think they only need to occasionally post on Facebook to sell cars.
  4. Dealerships that aren’t on social media at all.

If you already have a complete system that is turning a positive ROI for your dealership, this article is probably not for you, but if you’re one of the 92% of dealers that don’t fall into that first category (internal data from 253 Media) then we encourage you to keep reading.

Facebook is a HUGE realm and there are a lot of pieces, especially for dealerships. You have posts (generally not a great business strategy on their own), groups, ads, and the Facebook marketplace. So what is best for your dealership?

If you are using Facebook’s Business Manager and still not seeing a positive ROI, then you might have some basic ad structure or objective problems. There are a TON of different reasons why your ads might not be performing, but some of the most common issues we see include:

  • Ads that take people to the home page of your website
  • Poor targeting
  • Terrible ad copy
  • Low-quality photos
  • Lack of lead-generation ads

These can all be fixed relatively easily. It’s important to understand that it’s not that the tool doesn’t work, it’s just that your dealership isn’t using the tool correctly or to its full potential. In this case, the tool is Facebook Ads and your dealership isn’t implementing the right ads to turn a positive ROI.

If your dealership is just running some ads, sometimes, and not seeing results, then you’re probably not running the right type of ads. Oftentimes, dealers will boost posts, considering those as advertising. If this is what you’re doing for your dealership, STOP IT! Facebook actually throttles those back and gives you worse results and less targeting capabilities than if you properly setup an ad campaign using the Business Manager.

And, of course, if your dealership is not running any kind of Facebook ads and you are only posting, it’s probably time to step it up and start creating real ads. Facebook’s algorithm is rough for businesses. Some businesses see less than a 2% organic reach! This means that if you have 1,000 people who like your page, only 20 of them will be shown your post in their feed. That’s not much!

Generally, we see two types of dealerships that only generate organic posts, not any ads. The first is a dealer that tried Facebook ads incorrectly and lost money due to imperfections in their ad setup, content or type. These dealers usually have lost faith in Facebook ads because they “don’t work.” But again, it’s not the tool that doesn’t work, it’s how the tool was used. The second is the small dealership that doesn’t think they have a big enough budget to push ads out. Usually, these are the dealers selling fewer than 30 cars per month..

So, if you’re small and you don’t have a big advertising budget, does that mean you can’t utilize Facebook?

Absolutely not!

This is where the Facebook Marketplace and Facebook groups come into play. Both of these options are free and generally only require staff time to set them up. And, the good news is the Marketplace can be integrated with your inventory.

So what is the Facebook Marketplace? Basically it is Facebook’s version of classified ads where dealers are able to post ads for their used vehicle inventory. Then, when people are searching for vehicles based on certain criteria, they will see those vehicles posted by your dealership that match what they’re looking for and they can send you a message. Facebook Marketplace is very similar to Craigslist, but people trust the platform a lot more than they trust Craigslist.

Another option for free social media selling is to utilize Facebook groups. Groups are made up of people who have a similar interest. There are thousands of buy/sell groups and many of them are city or region specific. Some places even have vehicle sales groups that are made up of people looking to buy or sell a vehicle. Oftentimes, dealers can post there for free, but you have to do it 100% manually so it can take a lot of time! Also, before posting dealer inventory, check out the group rules to make sure the group allows dealer posts.

All in all, if you are a dealership, you have no excuse not to incorporate Facebook into your advertising strategy. When used correctly, the largest social media platform can turn a massive profit for your dealership, even for FREE. If you’re not spending money on ads, it just takes time and a quality strategy (no grainy photos or poor copywriting).

For help getting your ads setup properly, or for group sales help, email

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