13/01/2023 - 9 minute read

Facebook Ads Retargeting for Car Dealerships 2023 Guide: Converting Interest into Sales

A profile picture of Gary Lewis Cheetham, the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing, smiling outside a car dealership

Written by

Gary Lewis Cheetham

Automotive marketing specialist from Manchester, UK

A header image for the blog post Facebook Ads Retargeting for Car Dealerships 2023 Guide: Converting Interest into Sales from GL Digital Automotive Marketing

Table of Contents

In this article, we will be providing a guide for car dealerships on how to set up and use Facebook Ads Retargeting in 2023 to convert interest into sales, with examples.

We will cover the steps on how to create a custom audience, a lookalike audience, and retargeting ads that will be shown to those groups.

We will also share tips on how to optimise your campaign and get the most out of your Facebook Ad budget. Additionally, we will provide live examples of ad formats that can be used to showcase your inventory and promote special offers.

By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge and tools needed to effectively use Facebook Ads Retargeting to increase conversions and boost your ROI.

What is retargeting in Facebook ads for car dealers?

Have you ever looked at something while shopping online, for example, "Nike Trainers", and then gone back on the internet to find those products are following you around everywhere you go?

If this experience is familiar to you, then I hate to break it to you, but you have been retargeted.

Retargeting in Facebook ads is a technique used to reach potential customers who have previously shown interest in your car dealership's inventory or services. It allows us to target ads to specific groups of people who have previously engaged with your website and social media, or who have previously bought a car from the dealership.

Car dealers can use Facebook retargeting to reach customers who have previously visited their website, looked at their inventory, or taken other actions that indicate interest in buying a car.

For example, if a customer visits the dealership's website and looks at a particular car model, the dealership can use retargeting to show that customer ads for that model or similar models. This can help the dealership to convert that customer's interest into a sale.

Retargeting can also be used to reach customers who have bought a car from the dealership before, by building a custom audience of previous customers exported from your CRM. This can be used to reach people at the time their lease is expiring, for instance.

Who is the article "Facebook Ads Retargeting for Car Dealerships 2023 Guide: Converting Interest into Sales" written for?

Car dealers can use the information in this guide to set up their retargeting ads on Facebook.

Warning: This article is intended for advanced users who have a good understanding of Facebook Ads and its features. The information provided in this guide is intended to be a supplement to Facebook's official documentation and support resources, not a replacement for them.

It is recommended that readers have a working knowledge of Facebook's ad manager, ad creation, targeting options and tracking pixels before implementing the strategies outlined in this guide. If you are not familiar with these topics, we suggest that you seek additional training or consult with a Facebook Ads expert before proceeding.

Who has written the article: "Facebook Ads Retargeting for Car Dealerships 2023 Guide: Converting Interest into Sales"

Before we continue, let me introduce myself. I am Gary Lewis Cheetham, a highly experienced automotive marketing specialist with over a decade of experience using online ads.

I am passionate about the car industry and have extensive knowledge in utilising Facebook ads retargeting to drive growth for car dealerships.

As the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing, I started my company in 2020 to assist other dealerships in achieving their growth goals using digital marketing strategies.

My goal is to empower independent car dealerships in the UK and US to expand their inventory and boost their sales by harnessing the power of Facebook and its retargeting advertising features.

What are the benefits of using retargeting ads on Facebook for a car dealer?

Retargeting an audience of customers who have interacted with your business before allows your dealership to show more relevant ads and special offers, which can lead to higher conversion rates.

The workload for your salesmen is significantly decreased because the customers will already be familiar with you, and know what car they want. This makes customers much easier to deal with.

What are the different types of retargeting ads a car dealership can use?

The different types of retargeting options on Facebook we find are most effective for the car dealerships we work with are:

  • Website visitors retargeting
  • Video views retargeting
  • Facebook page interaction retargeting
    Website visitors retargeting: This allows dealerships to target ads to people who have previously visited their website. We use this for dealerships who have the Meta pixel set up to send stock IDs to Facebook for each page view.

To do this, we typically place a Meta tracking pixel on the dealership's website, which captures visitors' information, including which car the user looked at, and allows us to create a custom audience of those visitors to target with retargeting ads.

Video Views Retargeting: This type of retargeting allows dealerships to target ads to people who have previously watched their videos on Facebook or Instagram. By tracking which videos have been viewed, we can create a custom audience of people who have shown interest in the dealership's video content.

Facebook page retargeting: This option allows dealerships to target ads to people who have previously liked or engaged with their Facebook page. By tracking engagement on the dealership's Facebook page, we can create a custom audience of people who have already expressed interest in the dealership and target them with retargeting ads.

We use this option when a dealership has a large, engaged organic audience on its Facebook page.

All three types of retargeting have been proven to be effective with the dealerships we work with, but we recommend experimenting with all three options to find the best results for your business.

How to set up retargeting ads for your dealership: Step by step

The following steps should be taken to set up retargeting ads on Facebook for a car dealership:

  • Set up tracking on your website with the Meta pixel.
  • Set up a Custom Audience on Facebook
  • Creating Retargeting Ads
  • Optimise Your Campaign

Step 1: How to set up tracking on your website with the Meta pixel.

This step shows you how to set up a Meta pixel (formerly Facebook pixel), which allows you to track your website visitors and create a group of people who have previously interacted with your dealership.

If you already have a Meta pixel set up on your website, you can skip this step.

Before you begin, you have to check if the Meta pixel is already installed on your website.

To do this you can install the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Plugin.

A screenshot of the Facebook Pixel Helper plugin in Chrome extensions marketplace

When you install this plugin on your Google Chrome browser, visit your dealership's website and check the top corner of your screen to see the plugin in action.

A screenshot of the Facebook Pixel Helper in action

If this plugin comes up green, a Meta pixel is already installed and you will be able to create audiences for retargeting in the Facebook Business Manager.

A screenshot of the Facebook Pixel Helper showing no pixels on the site

If the plugin comes up grey like this, then you will have to set up your Meta pixel on your website before you continue.

You can have a developer do this or you can do it by yourself.

We have a full complete guide to setting up your Meta pixel and conversion tracking here: The Ultimate Guide to the Meta Pixel and Conversion Tracking for Car Dealerships

Step 2: Create a Custom Audience in Facebook Business Manager

Creating a Custom Audience lets you reach people on Facebook ads who have interacted with your dealership before.

The "audience" is just a group of people you have set up in Facebook ads for targeting.

This is the core technique of retargeting, separating out the people who have never seen you or your business from the people who already know about you. You build an "audience" from these people.

Your first step should be to visit your Facebook business manager at https://business.facebook.com.

A screenshot of the left hand panel in facebook business manager showing the audiences option

Once you are in your business manager, click on Audiences in the left hand panel.

A screenshot of audiences interface in Facebook business manager

On this screen you can see all the audiences that you have created in the past, and you have the option to create new ones.

The create audiences dropdown on Facebook business manager

Click on "Create Audience" in the top left and click "Custom Audience".

Audience creation popup in Facebook business manager

In the next popup, you have to choose your audience source.

We recommend you choose "Website" if you have a Meta pixel set up but you could also choose "Facebook Page" or "Video" depending on what your goals are with the ads.

Create a custom audience popup in Facebook ads

In the next popup entitled "Create a website custom audience" you can select the "source", which should be set to the pixel you created earlier.

For Audience Name and Description, type whatever you want, this doesn't matter and is only for your own reference.

After you click "Create Audience" the audience will be set up and ready for use in your ads.

Creating Retargeting Ads: How to showcase your inventory and promote special offers to your retargeting audiences

To create your retargeting ads, navigate to the Facebook ads manager and click on the green "Create" button in the top left of the screen.

A screen shot of the green create campaign button in Facebook ads

In the next popup, we recommend choosing "Leads" for a car dealership and leaving all other options the same.

A screen shot of the create campaign in Facebook ads

In the next step, you can set up your campaign and ads however you see fit.

A screen shot of the create ad sets interface in Facebook ads

When you get to the audience section, click on the search box below Custom Audiences, and choose the audience you made previously.

This will ensure that your ads are only shown to the people included in the audience you made in the previous step.

Best Practices for Car Dealership Retargeting: Tips on how to effectively target your audience, choosing the right ad format and ad placement

When creating retargeting campaigns for our client's car dealerships, we try and keep the best practices below in mind.

First of all, it's absolutely crucial to effectively target your audience by segmenting them based on different stages of the buying process.

For example, if a customer has shown interest in a specific car model, we'll target them with ads featuring that model, or if they've shown interest in financing options, we'll show them ads highlighting our financing options.

We also make sure to choose the right ad format for our audience. For instance, if we're targeting people who have previously shown interest in a specific car model, we use a carousel ad that showcases multiple images of that model as it tends to be more effective than using a single image ad.

We also use retargeting as an opportunity to upsell other services or products to customers who have already purchased a car from our client's dealership. This involves creating an audience list from an exported CSV file of past customers from the dealership's CRM.

For example, targeting customers who have recently bought a car with ads for maintenance services or extended warranties has been effective.

Optimizing Your Campaign: How to use Facebook's ad analytics to track performance and make adjustments for better results

There are several key metrics we pay attention to when we are running retargeting campaigns for the dealerships we work with.

Here are the most important ones:

  • Reach: This metric measures the number of people who have seen the retargeting ad, and it gives you an idea of how visible the campaign is and how well it's reaching its target audience.
  • Impressions: This metric tracks the number of times the ad has been shown, and it can help you understand how frequently the ad is being displayed and how effective it is at reaching its target audience.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on the ad by the number of impressions. This metric can give you an idea of how well the ad resonates with its target audience and how successful it is at driving conversions.
  • Conversion rate: This metric measures the percentage of people who take a desired action after clicking on the ad, such as visiting the dealership's website or filling out a form. It can give you an idea of how well the ad is driving conversions and how effective the campaign is overall.
  • Sales volume: This metric measures the number of leads that eventually convert into sales, it gives you an idea of how effective your sales team is at dealing with the leads.
    All of the above metrics are important, but the conversion rate and sales volume are the most important to measure the campaign's overall success.

Conclusion to the article: Facebook Ads Retargeting for Car Dealerships 2023 Guide: Converting Interest into Sales

Facebook Ads Retargeting is an effective way for car dealerships to reach potential customers who have previously shown interest in their products or services. By setting up a custom audience, a lookalike audience and retargeting ads, car dealerships can convert interest into sales by effectively promoting their inventory and special offers to those groups.

It's important for car dealerships to track metrics such as reach, impressions, click-through rate, conversion rate, return on ad spend, customer lifetime value and re-engagement rate to measure the success of their retargeting campaigns and make adjustments as needed.

Additionally, car dealerships should follow best practices like effectively targeting their audience, choosing the right ad format and ad placement, using retargeting for upselling, testing and refining their campaigns, and providing value to the customer to get the most out of their Facebook ad budget.

By following the strategies outlined in this guide, car dealerships can effectively use Facebook Ads Retargeting to increase conversions and boost their ROI in 2023.

About the author

A profile picture of Gary Lewis Cheetham, the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing, smiling outside a car dealership

Gary Lewis Cheetham is an automotive marketing specialist, born and raised in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Gary Lewis Cheetham is the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing. 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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