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Facebook ads: key strategies for auto marketers to maximize ROI

While Facebook has changed a lot over the last decade, it remains a good place for automotive advertisers to get in front of their core audiences.

While many social network platforms have emerged since Facebook started “way back” in 2004, it’s still a viable platform for advertisers. With a few kinds of ads and methods of driving traffic, we’ll review what is worth your money to try versus other ad platforms. 

Who is Facebook for these days?

Before we go into a lot more detail about how to get the most out of your ad dollars on Facebook, let’s talk about which consumers are on the platform. Here is a fact you might not know about but might have seen occur over years of watching your news feed.

Facebook has older users. The social media landscape is incredibly competitive with MySpace launching prior to Facebook and rather quickly fading out. I was excited to join Facebook and wanted to join in 2006 when I was in college. I’m now more than a little bit out of college and I’ve observed friends my same age slowly post less and less, and reserve social media posts for other platforms like TikTok, Instagram (yes, owned by Meta/Facebook, but decidedly different platforms), Snapchat and others.

While there is a variety of reasons why younger people are leaving Facebook, another question is, why are older people staying? One study believes that many use and stay on the platform to keep connections with family and friends they may not see all that often.

Generally speaking, older people also trust Facebook a lot more and find news and other information there, which leads us to “why and how” you should advertise on Facebook.


One challenge you’ll find when using Facebook is that, unlike search engines, Facebook doesn’t really have any “intent” built in. Facebook can build a profile on users and serve what it thinks they are interested in, but repeated changes to how personal data is gathered and used, have rendered this to be less effective—though to be fair it still works.

So, why not show ads to people who have already been to your website? These people probably know and trust Facebook, to an extent.

We suggest remarketing because the cost per click tends to be a little lower (we can’t really give specifics without knowing your brand or area) which also makes the cost per lead lower.

Well-targeted ads

Part of the challenge of finding good leads and traffic from Facebook is finding the right demographics. We aren’t just talking about the right age range and income because the platform doesn’t let you change all of these for credit-related ads.

More importantly, you’ll want to know the behaviors, interests, and tendencies of the people who already come into your store. For this, you can (or have your marketing partner) do a good job of understanding your average buyer. Then, try multiple campaigns using multiple audiences. Set up tracking so you know what’s working best.

Let’s also be honest: the above advice applies to every platform out there from Google and Bing to TikTok. Your advertising will always be more effective when you know your audience.


If you can obtain a data feed for your vehicles, rotators can be amongst the most effective ads you can post on Facebook. Rotators show your actual inventory and let the user scroll through it. I’ve done some experiments and have one small suggestion: Don’t show your price unless you are offering a discount. Vehicles with prices tend to cost more per click.

How do I get leads?

Facebook and Instagram are a bit different from Google in that you can choose to receive chat leads directly from the platform. If you do choose to do Messenger-based ads, have someone there nearly 24/7 to answer chats. This means having an active chat company if your salespeople don’t want to be on at all hours.

Configuring the Facebook Event Setup Tool and your Google Analytics will also help to determine your return on investment from Facebook.


Facebook can be a great place for advertising if you set your ads to the right audience and use remarketing effectively. While it has changed a lot over the last decade, it remains a good place for automotive advertisers to get in front of their core audiences.

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Ben Stewart
Ben Stewart
Ben is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News with 10 years of dealership experience in automotive marketing. Ben loves all things cars and putting together strategies that help dealerships succeed.

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