Auto Insights: I'll click on that

Serving thousands of dealers nationwide, Digital Air Strike is the automotive industry's largest and most experienced provider of social media, reputation management and lead response solutions. Erica Sietsma leads Digital Air Strike’s product team and corporate strategy and led the ‘Social Advertising: I’ll Click on that’ workshop at the NADA 2015 conference.


Workshop Synopsis

The ultimate goal of the workshop was to give attendees the background information and simple to use tools to help attendees construct an effective social media ad campaign that will encourage existing and new customers to “click” on automotive retail ads.

There has been a massive uplift in people using social media in recent times; with Facebook still the dominant platform to every major metric. It is crucial to have your social media ad campaign set up correctly to take advantage of potential customers.

United States Statistics as of September 2013 (Source: Social Media Update 2013, “Pew Research Center”):

  • 71% of online adults use Facebook
  • 19% use Twitter
  • 17% use Instagram
  • 21% use Pinterest
  • 22% use LinkedIn

YouTube Statistics:

  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. 
  • 68% of YouTube ads are made up of automotive, retail and consumer goods
  • 9/10 vehicle shoppers visit YouTube at least once a month and they are 20% more likely to see your video ads.
  • 47% of auto shoppers that watch vehicle videos visit the dealership

Facebook Statistics:

  • 70% of B2C marketers have acquired customers through Facebook
  • 46% of car buyers say they saw a local dealership on Facebook

Twitter Statistics:

  • 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow


Session Objectives:

In order to achieve an effective social ad campaign, follow the 5 key principles:

  1. Campaign goal setting
  2. The right platform + the right ad style
  3. The right ad
  4. Measuring campaign performance
  5. Avoid common mistakes

1. Campaign Goal Setting
In order to create an effective social campaign, it’s imperative to know the goal of the campaign.

The most common campaign goals for social advertising:

  • Platform Engagement – Likes, comments or shares on Facebook
  • Awareness Campaigns – Reach and impression of a campaign
  • Event Attendance
  • Service Leads/Service Business – Tracked by Facebook offer downloads, twitter cards; google analytics tags on a service leads from or on confirmation page of service scheduler
  • Links/Followers – For your dealership social page
  • Website Traffic – Clicks to your website or VDP’s or service scheduler
  • New Car/Used Car Leads - Tracked by Facebook offer downloads, twitter cards; google analytics tags on a service leads from or on confirmation page of service scheduler

2. The Right Platform + The Right Ad Style

Match chosen campaign goals with the best social platform and ad style for reaching those goals.

Facebook Ad Types and Targeting:
Facebook has the most robust options for campaign targeting, campaign goals and ad placement options.

Ad Types:

  • Liker ad
  • Website traffic /link ad
  • Website conversion ads
  • Page post engagement 
  • Offer ads
  • Mobile app ad
  • Event response ads
  • Local awareness ads

Targeting Options:

  • Polk Data – purchase intenders, owners
  • Geographic – not just your post codes, consider your competitors post codes
  • Demographic
  • Interests
  • Life stage – married, single
  • Customer audiences - uploading dealership customer lists
  • Look-alike audience

Twitter Ad Types and Targeting:

Ad Types:

  • Tweet engagement ads
  • Website clicks or conversion ads
  • App install or app engagements
  • Follower ads
  • Twitter cards

Targeting Options:

  • Geo location
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Followers of a brand or competitor
  • Look-alike
  • Keywords in timeline or search
  • Tailored audiences – database

YouTube Ad Types and Targeting:

Ad Types:

  • True view in search
  • True view in display
  • True view in stream
  • True view in slate

Targeting Options:

  • Demographic
  • Topic – specific websites related to the content of selected topics
  • Keyword
  • Affinity – categories in interest targeting list
  • Interest – people interested in a product or service similar to your offerings
  • Remarketing – cookies site visitors to enable advertisers to continue to search relevant ads as visitors browse other sites

3. The Right Ad
Once the ad type and targeting options have been selected, it is time to create the right ad.

To create the right ad, you need a balance of a good mixing copy with eye catching imagery and a call to action.

  • Strong offer/message: You want to have copy that gives the user a reason to click on the ad.
  • Eye catching imagery: Make sure your images are attractive to look at and catch the eye.
  • Call to action: Despite popular opinion, people like being told what to do, so give direct present-tense instructions both in your copy and in your ad buttons.

4. Measuring Campaign Performance
Analyse campaign metrics to ensure your campaign is on track to maximise spend and hit your campaign goals.

Measurable campaign metrics:

  • End results – leads, visits, likes/follows
  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Activities/comments/shares/link clicks
  • Cost per click/engagement

5. #ADSFAIL: Avoid Common Mistakes.
Common mistakes include:

  • Improperly sized images that look stretched, squished or too much cropped off. These are not appealing to the eye and convert at a lower rate.
  • Facebook won’t allow too much text on the image, so make sure more than 20% of image isn’t covered by text.
  • Promoting posts and doing display/timeline ads simultaneously and targeting the same group of people. Drives prices up!
  • Targeting the entire country – you’ll waste money on people who will never be clients and eventually deactivate from your page
  • Poor or no call to action –ad’s wont convert as well
  • Ad exhaustion – don’t keep running the same ads mouth in mouth out, your conversion will bottom out
  • Ad overexposure – Don’t run the same ad across every single medium. Be careful of agencies running the same ad for all of their clients in your area. Customers will tune out.


With the rapid uptake of social media across differing platforms, automotive retailers need to take advantage of the opportunity this presents. Opportunities exist across a number of selling and branding awareness levels, and social media platforms need to be utilised and actively monitored to achieve the best outcome. Social media can be one of the most cost effective ways to reach in-market sales, service and accessories customers, providing a high return of investment. Most importantly, dealers need to ensure they have staff or consultants with the appropriate skill sets to develop these ad platforms.