Facebook Turned the Key on Dynamic Ads and Lead Ads for Autos

56 percent of car buyers used smartphones to access information before making their vehicle purchases

The average person buys a new car every seven years Tramino/iStock

In recent months, Facebook has crafted ad products for specific industries such as travel and real estate, and automobiles can now be added to that list.

The social network Thursday announced the launch of dynamic ads and lead ads for auto, with Facebook industry lead for auto Stephanie Latham telling Social Pro Daily that the goals are to enable manufacturers and dealers to show inventory to the right people at the right time, while helping car shoppers go from Facebook to new cars in their driveways.

Facebook said in a Facebook Business blog post introducing the new ad products that according to the 2017 Car Buyer Journey report, 56 percent of car buyers used smartphones to access information before making their vehicle purchases, and Latham added that 64 percent of car buyers are undecided at the start of process.

Dynamic ads for auto allow manufacturers and dealers to upload new and used vehicle inventory complete with details including make, model, year and mileage, after which Facebook automatically “generates ads that show the most compelling vehicles to the right audiences,” steering them toward detail pages, lead submission forms or other destinations.

Facebook said in its blog post that dynamic ads for auto help attract new potential buyers and customers because:

  • It scales easily: You can dynamically generate a unique ad for every vehicle in your inventory without having to configure each ad individually.
  • It’s personally relevant: You can show people tailored ads based on interests and preferences they’ve demonstrated on your site, application or elsewhere on the web.
  • It’s always on: You can set up your campaigns once and continually attract shoppers who may be more likely to buy.
  • It works across devices: You can serve the right product to the right person, no matter which device they use—whether they’re on mobile, desktop or tablet.

Latham added that the “dynamic” part comes into play when the social network automatically matches vehicles with users who are most likely to be interested in those vehicles, adding that it will show users ads for specific vehicles, as well as other options with similar characteristics, and saying that the process is “way more than retargeting,” as automakers and dealers can share the same ads with similar users.

Some early testers of dynamic ads for auto shared their experiences in the blog post.

Edmunds director of advertising product technology Madhura Sengupta said: “We’re excited to partner with Facebook on a new dynamic ad solution for the automotive industry that builds on Edmunds’ extensive shopper insights to create the most relevant, personalized and informative ad experience and helps drive shoppers to their perfect car. We are seeing promising upstream results from our early testing, and we are thrilled to continue to develop this offering for both our dealer and OEM [original equipment manufacturer] partners.”

Cox Automotive director of product Adam Pavkov added: “Dynamic ads for automotive provide Cox Automotive with a scalable solution for serving compelling and relevant vehicle inventory to our qualified audience of in-market shoppers. Facebook’s recommendation engine is a powerful companion to our behavioral audiences, and the combination of the two ensures that we’re delivering the right creative to the right buyer. Early results have proven the product to be an effective solution for driving key onsite shopping activity.”

Meanwhile, lead ads for auto send users to forms that are pre-populated with their contact information, including their email addresses, and users can then submit those forms to dealerships directly via Facebook to receive information including offers and quotes.

New features that are part of lead ads for auto include:

  • Locate your auto dealer: The locator feature helps people find auto dealers near them, simplifying the next step in their discovery process. It can also help you better understand people’s intent and avoid sending them to suboptimal websites. If you have a dynamic set of locations, Facebook marketing partner Driftrock can help you keep dealer information in sync. This specialized solution ensures that people can find nearby dealers that will have the cars they’re interested in.
  • A full-screen experience: Use Canvas to create immersive, visually appealing experiences to pique the interest of potential auto buyers before capturing their info. By providing more context up front, you can drive more high-quality leads.
  • Appointment preferences: People can communicate directly with service centers and dealers to indicate their preferred time frames for appointments and test drives.

Latham said that at this point, the car shopper is ready to be put in contact with the dealership to set up a test drive, ask financing questions and possibly even negotiate the price of their targeted vehicle.

She told Social Pro Daily that the average person buys a new car every seven years, and Facebook wants to be one part of the seven-year process by making it easier to have that person drive off the lot with their new car.

Facebook added several features to its Marketplace last month geared toward car shoppers in the U.S., including:

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.