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Say Goodbye to Facebook’s Vehicle Tab

Facebook icons coming out of a bullhorn signaling an announcement
Article Highlights:

  • AIA’s are optimized to reach in-market customers.
  • Good results begin with good data.

Facebook is giving automotive retailers a fresh reminder of how fast-paced and ever-changing the social media marketing landscape can be. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced that they will be changing the way dealership inventory will display on Facebook Marketplace at the end of January 2023.

Specifically, Facebook business pages will no longer be able to create vehicle listings on Marketplace, and the Vehicles tab currently on dealership pages will be sunset.

We know that social media is a great for responsive, insanely targeted advertising, so at first glance these changes can seem like a serious problem for dealers. Never fear, we’re here with our rose-colored glasses, and we think there is another (possibly even a more effective!) way to get your message out to the right people on social media

So—Now What, Facebook?

Vehicles tab or not, it’s true that your dealership could technically still post your inventory on your Facebook page. It’d be a pretty passive approach in that you would rely on preexisting connections to hit your page directly to find that content. Additionally, your dealership will be able to create marketplace listings individually from a personal Facebook profile (a process that would be incredibly time consuming to set up, not to mention how much time and effort it would take to constantly update). No, you don’t want to do that.

The smart way for your dealership to advertise your inventory moving forward is by leveraging Automotive Inventory Ads.

Automotive Inventory Ads—aka Your New Best Friend

Simply put, Automotive Inventory Ads allow dealers to upload their entire catalog of vehicles at one time to Facebook, including all those relevant details such as make, model, year, and mileage, plus real inventory photos

AIA’s are optimized to reach in-market customers, thanks to a targeting feature called a Facebook pixel. Essentially it works by collecting data to help you track conversions, build targeted audiences, and remarket to past visitors of your website, then shows them ads with your inventory listings in various locations within the Facebook network.

Yes, ads mean budget, and budget means there’s a cost…but because you’re targeting vehicle shoppers with your ads, this type of ad can have high return, so the budget (whether you use your co-op funds or not) is worth taking for a spin.

Let’s go through an example:

Chad the consumer in your local area, is looking for a new sedan. After numerous searches for sedans, Chad lands on your website, where he views two vehicle pages. He doesn’t move forward with purchasing either, and simply closes his browser without converting (starting a chat, filling out a form, initiating an online purchase).

Later that day, Chad gets on Facebook to see what his friends are up to, and sees in his newsfeed an ad for one of the two vehicles he viewed that morning. Hm, he thinks. I did like that car. Then, he pops into Marketplace to skim for any sedans listed for sale.

Amongst the private listings for vehicles near him (ones that people have individually listed from their own personal profiles), he finds another paid listing—or automotive inventory ad—from your dealership for the other sedan he viewed earlier (complete with a compelling CTA that encourages him to check out his financing options). Recalling how liked this vehicle even more than the first, he clicks on the ad and finds himself back on your website, where he engages with a chat bot and determines that monthly payments on the car would be affordable for him (score!).

Two days later, Chad drives off your lot in his new sedan. You close out that deal in your DMS, and without any additional work from you, the sedan that Chad just bought is removed from your dealership’s Facebook catalog, and is no longer used in any advertisements on Facebook.

But Wait, There’s More

If Chad’s example shows us anything, it’s that automotive inventory ads aren’t just an alternative way to advertise on Facebook, it’s a better way—one that’s more strategic, relevant, and efficient. But while AIA is the biggest opportunity for dealerships right now, there are still other ways your dealership can make sure that Facebook’s upcoming ad changes are a non-problem:

Good results begin with good data—

Your dealership has plenty of first party data. But the harsh truth is that without processes in place to keep that data updated and squeaky clean, your marketing efforts can’t succeed.

Act and React

A set-it-and-forget-it mentality might work for some things, but social media marketing is not one of them. As you learn what works for your dealership and what doesn’t, implement the changes that will push your dealership ahead of the competition.

Let the experts handle it—

Your dealership can set up entire marketing campaigns in Facebook Business Suite, but partnering with a vendor who can do the heavy lifting means you have more time to do what you’re best at. After all, your time is better spent on closing the sale, not worrying about the ins and outs of ad deliverability.

Vehicle listings on Facebook Marketplace may be changing soon, but you know what they say—when one door closes another one opens. With the right resources and tools, your dealership’s inventory advertising can perform better than ever before.

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Mollie is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds. Since joining the team in 2022, she’s guided initiatives for Reynolds marketing products, produced the Connected podcast, and worked with dealers to collect testimonials and success stories. Mollie received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and English from Marietta College. She also obtained an associate’s degree in Marketing from Rhodes State College.

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