For years, Facebook has recognized the impact and influence it has on the interactions between car dealers and potential car buyers. The social media platform houses 2.38 billion monthly users as of March 2019 and has rightfully become a staple in social media marketing strategies for savvy business owners, especially car dealers.

The platform has always been known for the variety of marketing and retargeting tools it offers to dealers, but it recently went a step further by optimizing its educational offerings. As of May 2019, Facebook has launched two new educational marketing tools.

The first is called the Dealer Playbook. This document provides vital marketing strategies that dealers can use to influence car buyers on Facebook and Instagram. Specifically, the Dealer Playbook educates dealers in four marketing and branding areas: addressing why customers should purchase from dealers, reaching “ready-to-buy” customers, building customers for life, and generating excitement around promotions and events.

The second new offering is an information update to Facebook’s Blueprint course offerings. The Facebook Blueprint e-learning tool offers self-paced courses that address everything from creating Facebook Ads to learning from and using audience insights. The courses will now provide more in-depth layers of education for dealers. Facebook

According to Kim Stonehouse, head of Facebook Auto, the courses “should allow anyone to become more of an expert and, most importantly, use our tools in the most efficient way.”

Why These Tools Exists

While many dealer marketers can agree that Facebook and Instagram are worthwhile mediums to pursue, the learning curve can be steep.  In January 2019, the company expanded its current ad tools to include retargeting opportunities to users who had visited other auto-related Facebook pages, sites, and apps. Facebook’s retargeting and paid ad capabilities can be equally complicated to understand, as well as useful.

Not only do these tools cover step-by-step guides on their usage, but they also discuss how to integrate them into new or ready-made marketing strategies. The staff behind these changes clearly understand that you cannot have a conversation about retargeting, social media marketing, or target audiences without addressing the importance of monitoring analytics and tracking conversions.

These changes have also come about because dealers are requesting them. Stonehouse conveyed to Automotive News that dealers have been inquiring about more detailed information that can instruct them on how to use the platform’s various ad tools.

Currently, 700 million people use the Facebook marketplace, an area where many dealership car listings are housed. Also, 73 percent of would-be auto shoppers expressed interest in interacting with auto-related recommendation content.

On the other hand, more than five million active Instagram users in the U.S. said their top Instagram-related passion was automotive-related posts. So, the audience demand is there for both platforms, and in turn, dealers recognize the need to take advantage of the capabilities Facebook and Instagram have to offer.

The Long-Term Benefits of the Dealer Playbook and Additional Blueprint Courses

As mentioned above, Stonehouse acknowledged that these courses and tools would allow dealers to become experts. Fully understanding the inner workings of how to optimize ads and marketing campaigns for Instagram and Facebook have far-reaching effects.

First, both tools will make it easier for dealers to create effective campaigns that reach target audiences. Second, understanding the strategies that work allows marketers to save money by cutting out what doesn’t. Finally, both tools enable dealerships to expand their brand and utilize multiple marketing channels and tactics to expand their reach over time.

Final Thoughts

These tools are excellent efforts by Facebook to provide a guide into how to properly utilize all the marketing tools Facebook—as well as Instagram—have to offer. The data is showing that social media postings and recommendations have a growing influence over car buyers. In fact, regarding Instagram, 40 percent of millennials said the platform played a part in deciding which vehicle they purchased eventually.

So, there are a variety of benefits to understanding concepts like “optimizing video content for mobile,” or “turning shoppers into buyers with dynamic ads.” Another advantage is that all of these tools and courses offered by Facebook are free. So, this is a significant and cost-effective way for dealers to educate themselves on Facebook or Instagram marketing optimization while reaping the benefits.

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