The Auto Industry’s Most Controversial Match-Up

Mar 28, 2018 | Digital Marketing

What’s the biggest difference between 3rd party sites (like Autotrader) and other advertising platforms for auto dealers (like Facebook)? The data.

If we take a look at all of the data available to marketers today, the automotive data that powers 3rd party sites is only a small slice of the pie.

In this article, I’m going to dive inside one of the automotive industry’s biggest discussions: 3rd party leads versus pretty much anything else, and why it may start making sense to move your money where the “bigger” data is.

The Bigger “Data Pie”

As automotive professionals, we’re biased.

We all care most about automotive data: who’s In-Market, who owns what car, who likes what models, etc.

But we’re quickly learning that to be better marketers, break through the clutter, and truly connect with car shoppers, we can’t just “sell” online.

In order to convince shoppers to come to our dealerships (before they make 1-2 visits to a showroom), we have to try and speak on a deeper level with our audience.

(Learn more in this article: “Dealers, Stop Trying To Bring Customers To Your Dealerships”)

And the best way to do that is by looking at ALL the data we have on a user: the “bigger data pie.”

While most automotive 3rd party portals are only looking at 3rd party automotive data and interactions taken on their sites…

…sites like Facebook can aggregate a colossal amount of data from across the entire web, by:

  • logging data from their own users (like a person’s profile and Page engagements)
  • partnering with data houses like POLK, Datalogix, Oracle Data Cloud, and IHS automotive (which powers the 3rd party listing sites)
  • using transactional data from Transunion which gives them service, parts, and credit data

…all in one place.

Check out the image below. Which User Profile (based on data) would your dealership be able to have a deeper, more specific conversation with—tailored to their specific interests?

Since we know more about User Profile #2 before we advertise to them, it’s likely we’ll be able to create a message that resonates more with them.

(i.e., showing her a video with a Ford Expedition + your dealership, with a message that says you can’t wait to help her find a new vehicle that fits her new family).

RE-actively Waiting For Shopper Data vs. PRO-actively Using Shopper Data

When it comes to 3rd party sites, a car shopper has to visit that site and make the first move before their information and vehicle interest can be collected – a RE-active approach.

Like a venus fly trap, you throw your inventory out there and *pray* it brings in a lead, then wait for them to send it your way (and not to your competitors).

But with Facebook, you gain access to an entire database of In-Market Auto Shoppers (not just the ones who visit a specific site) BEFORE they actively search for a vehicle.

With unlockable data through specific partners, you can even break this In-Market data down by model-line.

So not only do you have control of the data, you also can use it to PRO-actively reach car shoppers; instead of waiting on leads to come to you, you can seek them out first.

This approach is the key to driving your own 1st party traffic.

Your Inventory ➡ Your Ads ➡ Your Site

The kicker:

While your 3rd party ads help drive shoppers to your 3rd party listings, Facebook ads can drive shoppers to your own inventory pages on your website.

Your ad ➡ your site. No in-betweens.

That’s why we’re challenging auto dealers to shift small portions of their 3rd party budgets to invest in something bigger:

Driving their own 1st party leads.

Email us with “Tell me more about bigger data” and I’ll give you our playbook for driving 1st party traffic with your own data.

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.


Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

Want our best articles delivered right into your inbox? Start receiving our best articles, tips for your dealership, and more by adding your information below.