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Historic Opportunities: Advertising Has Evolved — Have You?

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Through most of American history, people got their news from a newspaper and that’s where auto dealers, desiring to reach this audience, placed their advertising. Radio then came along and grabbed a slice of the public’s attention and dealers followed suit. Later, with the addition of television to American homes, dealers were able to show off their vehicles to consumers in the comfort of their own homes. This model endured for a century.

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And then came the Internet.

According to Hootsuite, Facebook now accounts for one of every six minutes spent online and one of every five minutes spent on mobile. On average, people spend more than 20 minutes per day on Facebook.

What does this mean to dealers? How did we get here?

The Internet came in like a lion that was reduced to a lamb. Dealers quickly flooded Website and Internet lead providers with their advertising budgets and traditional media suffered. Newspapers, radio, television and direct mail all felt the squeeze. The Internet was new and lots of slightly experienced vendors popped up — and dealers waited in line to follow blindly. A correction, spurred on by dealers burnt too many times, then righted the path to a happy medium between online and traditional media.

Traditional media was not out of the woods, though. As best practices were developed for digital, and the companies best at servicing dealers earned larger and larger market share, budgets again moved more into digital. In addition to their Website provider, most dealerships were using multiple lead generators, SEO and SEM partners and a multitude of widget providers.

Then along came social media, with its promise to change the world overnight. Dealers again jumped in with both feet. The only problem was that nothing happened. Dealers spent money gathering “likes” and racked them up in huge quantities. With “likes” as the metric, social media was a success. The only problem is you can’t pay bill with “likes” and no one was delivering many cars. Facebook needed a way for auto dealers to sell cars.

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Facebook Lead Generation ads are the answer. Now providing dealers with the lowest-cost, highest-grossing leads available, Facebook is out in front of all automotive lead providers. According to the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of online Americans use Facebook — more than double the share using Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn. Approximately 68 percent of the total U.S. population uses Facebook, so odds are you are one of them. How often do you look at your newsfeed? Studies have found that 76 percent of U.S. Facebook users visit once per day and 55 percent visit multiple times daily.

Would you say it’s time to fish where the fish are?

Facebook Lead Gen ads show up in users’ newsfeeds along with posts from friends and family. These are people looking at pictures and milestones, not actively looking for a vehicle. When users click on the ads, they can submit a lead with a single click. Then, they are back to their newsfeed, not off to another dealership’s Website or a third-party lead provider. When the dealership contacts these consumers, they are much higher in the funnel. They have not shopped every dealer in town or been polluted by third-party lead providers’ average discounted pricing. These consumers come into the dealership motivated by a trade-in appraisal, financing or other offer. They are not price shoppers, so they will close with fewer headaches and higher grosses, not to mention they will be more satisfied with the experience.

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The biggest problem with traditional Internet leads is that they are mostly price shoppers, expecting you to grind with them until you lose money on the front of the deal and hope to make it up in the back. The next problem is the contact ratio. Traditional Internet leads are from shoppers who have submitted leads in multiple locations online and will not respond to many of the dealerships that email or call them. Facebook Lead Gen ads produce leads who are not shopping, so you are most likely the only dealership they have contacted. Inside the Facebook lead form, you can ask for permission to text message the consumer, making it easy to make contact — and 80 percent of leads will respond to a text message.

Facebook Lead Gen ads are the lowest-cost, highest-grossing leads available to dealers today. Text messaging is the best way to contact these leads. If you are not using both, your competition will thank you. To see several high-performing Facebook Lead Gen ads, please email me with “Lead Gen” in the subject line.

Jason Girdner

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