26/01/2022 - 7 minute read

Building an Effective Paid Social Funnel for Car dealerships in 2022

Written by

Gary Lewis Cheetham

Automotive marketing specialist from Manchester, UK

Building an Effective Paid Social Funnel for Car dealerships in 2022

Here's how we build paid social funnels at GL Digital, and help dealerships take back control of their advertising from third parties.

Car dealerships have been using paid classified ads on sites like AutoTrader to generate leads for years, but this doesn't work anymore.

The problem is that high listing fees and fierce competition mean lots of local dealers struggle to make sales or attract attention.

People are increasingly turning to online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to buy cars.

The solution for dealerships is to go direct-to-consumer, and take control of their advertising with a paid social funnel.

Why a paid social marketing funnel is the next step for car dealerships

Paid social funnels will help you make more profit from each sale, build relationships with your customers and encourage repeat sales.

The paid social funnel has evolved over the last 10 years to include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other platforms that are popular with today's consumers.

Paid Social Funnels have also become more sophisticated in their targeting capabilities over the past couple of years with many different types of targeting available for paid ads on any platform.

If you're an car dealer looking to build a paid social campaign for your dealership, this year or next, there are some important things you need to know about how these platforms work so you can make sure your time investment pays off in increased sales revenue.

Multichannel is the preferred approach for car dealers

To be effective in paid social media advertising as an car dealership in 2022 you need to use multiple platforms. This is because each platform reaches a different audience with a different set of interests.

Advertising on just one platform is likely to reach only a fraction of your target market, so using multiple platforms will help you to reach more of them.

For example, Facebook is popular with older users, while Instagram and TikTok are more popular with younger users. YouTube is popular with all age groups. So if you're targeting people in the 18-35 age group, you would want to advertise on Instagram and TikTok as well as YouTube.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people's interests change over time, so it's important to build your audience through first-party data.

Using paid social to build your audience

In 2021, there were several changes to online advertising that affected the way paid social media campaigns are run.

Apple's IOS14 was released in September of 2021 and brought a lot of changes to the way iPhone users interact with the internet.

One of the most significant changes was the introduction of Privacy Mode, which gives users more control over what data is shared with websites and apps.

Privacy Mode has had a major impact on online advertising, as it makes it more difficult for advertisers to target users based on their browsing history.

The way we have overcome these changes at GL Digital is by shifting our approach to focus more on first-party data.

Building first-party data using paid social

First-party data is data that you collect yourself from your customers.

Some examples are:

  • Email Newsletter Signups

  • Facebook Page Likes

  • Retargeting visitors on paid social sites

Even the phone numbers and email addresses customers leave when purchasing a vehicle are counted under first-party data.

The more data you can collect about your customers and control, the better.

What to do with your first-party data

With the recent privacy changes, advertising targeting has become much less effective.

Therefore, dealerships need to use the data they collect from their customers as a part of their advertising funnel.

This data can be used to target paid social media advertising more effectively because it is more accurate than data collected by third-party providers.

Third-party providers such as Facebook and Google get their data from a variety of sources, including other businesses and public records. This data is not always accurate (especially since the recent privacy updates), so using first-party data will help you to target your ads more accurately.

Understanding warm and cold audiences for car dealerships

One of the most important things to understand about paid social media advertising is the concept of a warm and cold audience.

A warm audience is a group of people who have already shown an interest in your product or service.

They are more likely to buy from you than people who have never heard of you before.

A cold audience is a group of people who have never heard of your product or service.

Warming up your leads

For car dealerships, the goal of paid social media advertising should be to turn as many cold leads into warm leads as possible.

This can be done by targeting paid social media advertising at people who have already visited your website, or by targeting people who have similar interests to those who

Some examples of warm audiences at a car dealership are:

  • People who have visited the dealership website but have not yet purchased a car

  • People who have subscribed to the dealership's email newsletter

  • Facebook users who have liked the dealership's Facebook page

Warm audiences are extremely valuable, your sales team will be able to work on these customers to get the sale over the line.

Which platforms should dealerships be using for advertising

You should be advertising across as many platforms as you can comfortably manage. At GL Digital, our effective campaigns for car dealers use all of them.

There are several important paid social media platforms that dealerships can use to advertise their vehicles.

The most popular platforms are:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • TikTok

  • YouTube

Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to choose the right platform for your dealership.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular paid social media platform, with over 2 billion active users.

It is a great platform for reaching a large audience, and its targeting features are very accurate.

However, the cost of advertising on Facebook can be high, and the competition for ads is fierce.

Instagram

Instagram is also a very popular paid social media platform, with over 1 billion active users.

Instagram ads are rolled into the Facebook ads (now Meta) platform, and we tend to see more success for car dealerships on Facebook.

However, it's worth testing your ads on both platforms to see how performance differs.

TikTok

TikTok is a newer paid social media platform that is becoming increasingly popular.

It is a great platform for reaching a young, engaged audience. What most people don't know, is that over 50% of the audience is over the age of 30.

The cost of advertising on TikTok is still relatively low, and the competition for ads is not as fierce as it is on Facebook or Instagram.

This makes it a great platform for car dealers to reach potential customers.

YouTube

YouTube is a great platform for paid social media advertising, because it has a large audience and the ads are extremely effective.

In addition, the cost of advertising on YouTube is relatively low, and the competition for ads is not as fierce as it is on Facebook or Instagram.

This makes it a great platform for car dealerships to reach potential customers.

When creating videos for YouTube, it's important to keep in mind that people watch YouTube for entertainment, not to learn about a product.

Make sure your videos are funny, or at least interesting to watch. This will help you to build an audience on YouTube and increase your chances of making a sale.

An example funnel

An example paid social media funnel across platforms for a car dealership would be as follows:

  • Instagram and TikTok Ads to target people who have similar interests to those who have already bought from the dealership

  • YouTube Ads targeted at people who are interested in cars

  • Facebook Ads to retarget website visitors

  • A lead generation form on your website to convert visitors into leads

How dealerships can create great content for online advertising

As a car dealership, you're lucky to be in a business where creating content will be fun and easy.

Why? Because you have an office full of salespeople who love talking to customers, and a forecourt full of vehicles that customers will love to watch.

So get your camera out and make some videos.

Video content is extremely effective for paid social media advertising. It's engaging, entertaining, and a great way to show off the vehicles on your forecourt.

People are more likely to watch a video than read an article, so it's a great way to get your message across quickly and effectively. And, because people are more likely to share videos than articles, it's a great way to reach a large audience quickly and easily.

Supercharging advertising with email marketing

For us, advertising is all about relationship building.

So if you're not following up on all visitors with a personalised email chain, you will be leaving money on the table.

Once you have a list of site visitors from your advertising, it's important to follow up with them with email marketing.

Email marketing is the best way to convert leads into sales, because it allows you to build a relationship with your customers over time.

When you send a customer an email, they are more likely to remember who you are and what you sell.

This makes them more likely to buy from you when they are ready to purchase a car.

In addition, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase your brand awareness.

The more people who know about your dealership, the more chances you have of making a sale.

Automating your email marketing with Klaviyo

Klaviyo is a great tool for automating email marketing for car dealerships.

It allows you to create personalised email chains for each visitor, which helps to build a relationship with your customers over time.

This makes it more likely that they will buy from you when they are ready to purchase a car.

In addition, Klaviyo is one of the most effective ways to increase your brand awareness.

The more people who know about your dealership, the more chances you have of making a sale.

An example email chain for a car dealership

At minimum, you should be running email campaigns for website visitors in the following way. Think about it, you've paid for these visitors, so don't burn them!

  1. Email to website visitors after they have left the site

  2. Follow up email to leads after they have filled out a lead generation form

  3. Email marketing campaign for new customers

  4. Email marketing campaign for returning customers

An example follow up email for website visitors

Hi [name],

Thank you for visiting our website. We hope you had a great experience and found everything you were looking for.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to help you find the perfect car for your needs.

We hope to see you again soon!

[ dealership name ]

Conclusion

With paid social media ads, a dealership can create engaging and interesting videos that will increase their brand awareness.

Automating email marketing with Klaviyo is a great way to develop customer relationships over time and convert leads into sales by following up with them after they have filled out lead generation forms on your website.

It's important for car dealerships in 2022 to build an effective paid social funnel because it allows them to reach a large audience quickly, show off vehicles from the forecourt, and provide content which is more likely to be shared online.

Finally, if you would like help developing your paid social funnels or want assistance generating new customers through digital marketing strategies such as paid ads on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram or YouTube Ads, get in touch with our new business team and we'd be happy to talk through our solutions for car dealers.

About the author

Gary Lewis Cheetham is an automotive marketing specialist, born and raised in Oldham, Greater Manchester. He spent his teenage years working at the family dealership after school, learning the ropes of the car trade from the inside out.

After moving on to working in marketing, Gary Lewis founded GL Digital in 2020 when he noticed a need for direct-to-consumer marketing platforms within the auto industry. He now strives every day to help independent dealers in the UK and US realise their potential. Gary also loves Formula 1 and motorsport.

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