How Dealerships Can Continue Driving Sales During Coronavirus

How Dealerships Can Continue Driving Sales During Coronavirus

Regardless of what is fact VS. what is fear, there are still A LOT of people who simply aren’t going to public places due to the COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus). 

It’s important for dealerships and local businesses alike to have messaging and plans in place to continue operations, while still staying safe and preventing the impact of this virus.

It’s also important for your dealership to shift to where shoppers are spending their time, if it’s not on your lot. 

Keep reading for tips on how to communicate any changes in your operations, ways to maximize the increase in social media usage from people staying home, and messaging ideas that can help drive sales. 

1. Communicate Changes Around Your Daily Operations.

Be sure to over-communicate that your business is open or closed and let your community know you have a plan.

If you’ve made changes to your daily operations, update your business hours on Google My Business, and update your business description to reflect any changes and updates such as:

  • What are your hours of operation?
  • If you are temporarily closing your store, what services are you still providing, and how can they get those done?
  • How can someone reach you?
  • Should they expect delays in response, service, etc?

Your website should also reflect this messaging. Update your Contact Us page, and create a blog article or website page with all the answers to how your business operations may be adjusting. 

Add an alert at the top of your website that links to this article, or adjust your homepage so that it is front and center.

Lastly, don’t forget to update your phone’s automatic greeting. Let callers know immediately if you are open or closed and how they can do business with you.

2. Be Digitally Visible and Available.

As more consumers turn to the web and social media to pass the time, it’s important to have a strong digital presence.

How can you provide your customers with an amazing car shopping experience, even if they don’t leave the house?

Use live inventory ads or Facebook Marketplace listings to provide local shoppers with up-to-date vehicle information, amazing photos, and the latest pricing, all at the tip of their fingers. 

Next, be sure your Live Chat on your website is being managed around the clock to handle all inbound inquiries.

Facebook Messenger is also a great way to communicate back-and-forth with prospects, perform video/virtual showings, send pictures of vehicles to consider, and set up in-home test drives.

You can even promote that your Sales reps are available to Facetime, text—whatever it takes! 

3. Offer and Promote Convenient and Frictionless Retail Experiences.

Ask yourself: In the face of Coronavirus, are you making the car buying process easier or harder for your customers?

As our local communities urge us to avoid more and more public places, it’s time to heavily consider offering at-home vehicle deliveries test drives.

EVERYONE is going to be spending more time than ever on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

Take advantage of this extra exposure as your platform to inform local buyers about your new, convenient buying experiences.

As our local communities urge us to stay inside during COVID-19, more people will be spending time online and on social media. Be sure your dealership is there, too. 

One of our dealer-customers called us this week letting us know that they were getting hit with a huge drop in foot traffic due to a nearby quarantine in their market area.

He asked us what strategy he should deploy to help counter the decrease in in-store shoppers. 

The #1 thing we suggested is to remove all sources of friction in their buying process right now, and to over-communicate that shoppers don’t have to come onto the lot to buy a car.


You can also use Facebook Reach campaigns to retarget your current website visitors and leads to let them know you’re open and how they can reach (and buy!) from you today.

Use the “Message Us” call-to-action to direct all inquiries to Facebook Messenger, or send users to a page with all of your convenient buying options.

 Now is the time to show prospects that you are the dealership who is always putting the customer first—no matter what.

Want to learn more about eliminating friction from your dealership’s customer experience in time to tackle COVID-19? Click here to read our latest article, “[Facebook Guide] How To Eliminate 50+ Friction Points In The Car Buyer Journey”. 

During Coronavirus, Dealers United Is Here To Help.

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding Coronavirus, or want ideas to help get your brand message out to your local community, schedule a quick strategy call with our team when it works for you at, or give us a call at 941-366-6760.

We wish you, your colleagues and families safety, wellness and positivity!

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.

[Facebook Guide] How To Eliminate 50+ Friction Points In The Car Buyer Journey

[Facebook Guide] How To Eliminate 50+ Friction Points In The Car Buyer Journey

We all know that today’s digital landscape has greatly influenced how auto consumers discover and buy cars.

But do we know to what extent?

Facebook IQ (an official Facebook resource that provides insights from Facebook & Instagram), recently commissioned Accenture and Boston Consulting Group to survey auto consumers and understand more about the auto buyer’s shifting needs.

Their findings were published in Facebook’s latest report, Zero Friction Future, to help auto dealerships understand how to identify and reduce friction throughout the car buyer journey.

Instant Gratification Meets A Zero Friction Future

When I’m running low on cat food, I simply call to Alexa from my living room, instantly checkout on Amazon, and get a bag delivered to my doorstep within 24 hours.

Hello, instant gratification.

Better technology has led to more convenience, and now we as consumers have high expectations for getting what we want, when we want it.

Image Source:

But while buying cat food on Amazon is much different than buying a new car, consumer expectations and the “I want it now” mindset is becoming the new norm. Even in automotive.

That’s why brands like Carvana are gaining traction. They are capitalizing on these “I want it now” audiences by showing them how seamless and easy the process is.

But you don’t need to offer a vehicle vending machine to give auto shoppers the instant gratification they seek.

Image Source: Facebook Page Transparency, Carvana

According to Facebook’s study, car shoppers are becoming increasingly “less willing to suffer any inconvenience or invest unnecessary time to find the right vehicle that suits their needs.” 

In fact, with mobile devices giving consumers more options and information than ever before, 70% of consumers say technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. (“Consumer Experience in the Retail Renaissance” by Salesforce and Deloitte Digital, Apr 2018) 

This means that every additional step, every broken VDP link, and every second delay is a chance for your customers to abandon their journey and look for a car somewhere other than your lot.

Image Source:

These inconveniences add up to what Facebook found to be “up to 50+ points of friction in the auto buyer journey.”

So where do these points of friction happen?

3 Stages of The Buyer Journey Where You’ll Find Friction

Facebook identified 3 main pillars in which these pain points most often occur:

  1. Discovery: Awareness and evaluation around brands, models and inventory
  2. Purchase: Test drive, negotiations, and purchasing at the dealership
  3. Ownership: The stage once auto buyers sign the dotted line

In the resource, Facebook breaks down the top pain points that consumers reported, as well as solutions to help you identify and solve them for your own business.

Ready to learn more about a Zero Friction Future for your dealership? Download the resource now!

Moving to a Frictionless Future

The modern auto shopper’s desire for speed, simplicity and convenience with technology is paving the way for new, smoother customer experiences. 

Dealerships and auto marketers are therefore being asked to really sit down and evaluate their own friction points, then use technology and processes to get ahead of them.

“Just as auto marketers have differentiated on product for years, today’s advantage lies in differentiating on experience,” said Kim Stonehouse, Automotive Head of Industry at Facebook. “The brands and dealers winning more customers are the ones who remove friction to compete on car and convenience.”

Addressing the needs of your consumers is key to winning against your competitors. 

Download Facebook’s Zero Friction Future guide now to learn how to eliminate friction & stop car shoppers from abandoning ship! 

We’ll also send you 3 success stories of how dealerships eliminated friction with Facebook, and a bonus training video with our CEO, Pete Petersen, about the 3 pillars of a Zero Friction Future!

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.

Facebook Automotive Best Practices In 2020: “Drop The Text”

Facebook Automotive Best Practices In 2020: “Drop The Text”

Facebook is always looking for ways to improve ad engagement on their platforms; after all, that’s where that $70+ Billion in yearly revenue comes from. 

Part of their improvement process is constant research into what works and what doesn’t. 

Facebook’s latest finding?

Users are engaging much less often with ads that have text on the images and videos. To be exact, user engagement is down 20% when ads have too much copy. 

Facebook Can Decrease Your Reach If Too Much Text

If you’ve created ads on Facebook or Instagram lately, you might know the frustration of their new review process. 

All ads must be reviewed and approved, and now Facebook can disapprove your ads based on how much text is in the image or video. 

But say you get through that grueling process and your ads are approved. Victory, right?


Even for approved ads, Facebook can penalize and restrict your dealership’s Facebook ads so that they will spend the same budget, but they won’t reach your max audience potential.

Facebook may still approve your dealership’s Facebook Ads that have “too much text,” but they may not reach your max audience potential.

We Tested The Theory: Does Text On Dealership Ads Reduce Reach?

We decided to run a few tests of our own to find out once and for all if text on an ad’s creative would sacrifice its possible reach.

Garden City Mazda ran two variations of a CX-9 model line ad, one with text and logos, one without.

Both ads had the same creative, same ad copy, same targeting and budget…

…but the ad with the textless images reached almost TWICE as many people and had more than 5x the landing page views!

We ran a similar test with Steele Ford Lincoln. The version of their ad without text on the image reached 2.32x as large of an audience as the ad with image text!

These tests (and many others) prove that ads with less text indeed reach at least 2x as many people as ads with text. 

So what can you do to ensure that people are getting your message AND actually seeing your ads? 

3 Tips To Deliver The Best Dealership’s Facebook Ads Without Text

1.  Try video.

What better way to avoid text in images than just not using images at all! Shoot a video explaining your newest specials, or why dealerships should visit you (not the guy down the street). Not only do you avoid the text issue, but video is one of the most engaging ways to connect with your audience. But remember, Facebook suggests trying to keep your videos below 15 seconds to keep your audience’s attention. 

2.  Put your copy in the “Body Text” portion of the ad.

The body text portion of the ad is the description above or below the ad image (depending on ad placement). By putting your text in this section, you can get your message out without having to put text in your images. 

3.  Use Facebook’s free Image Text Check tool.

Facebook created a new tool so you can check if your images have too much text BEFORE you submit them for the review process. If you’ve ever been through an ad review and been disapproved, you’ll know how much time this tool can save you. 

Here is the link to the tool:

With Facebook and Instagram constantly updating their best practices, it can really be a struggle to stay on top of what works best.

Thankfully, with a room full of Facebook Blueprint Certified experts, we’ve got you covered.

If you want us to take a look at your ads (or the ads of your top 3 competitors), click here to request a completely free “ad hack.” 

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

6 Companies To “Ad Hack” For The Absolute Best Automotive Facebook Ads

6 Companies To “Ad Hack” For The Absolute Best Automotive Facebook Ads

Last week, we released our video guide on how to “Ad Hack” and get a competitive edge for your dealership’s Facebook Ad Strategy.

But once you unlock this secret “Ad Hacking” super power…

…what do you do with it?

In this article, we’ll give you 6 ideas for companies you should run Ad Hacks on to get you the best insights for your dealership’s Facebook Ad strategy.

Not sure what Ad Hacking is? Catch part one, “Ad Hacking 101: Steal Your Competition’s Automotive Facebook Ad Ideas With This Free Tool” 

Tips Before Ad Hacking

We love Ad Hacking so much, all of Dealers United (from our Marketing, to our Sales, to our Facebook teams) frequently runs “Hackathons” to ensure we’re staying on top of new trends, our competition, and identifying gaps in our own and others’ ad strategies.

Before you get started, create what we call a “Swipe File.”

(True story, our internal Ad Hack Swipe File is 358 slides long…)


Use Word, Google Slides, Google Docs, Evernote, Onenote, Google Keep or whatever tool you like to capture a video or image of example ads you like.

You can send this to your agency, internal marketing team, or outsourced Facebook partner things you like once you’re done “Ad Hacking.”

Use This Checklist When You’re Ad Hacking

Internally, we have a 30+ item checklist we use to test how the ads we’re hacking stack up.

To cover the basics, here’s a condensed checklist to get you up and running: 


Is there too much text?
Is text optimized for mobile? (Facebook only shows 3 lines on mobile!)
Are the ads using emojis, line breaks, other formatting to help focus the reader’s attention?

Images and Videos:

Are the ad images high resolution and clear?
Are the ads taking advantage of the 1:1 or 2:3 ratios (best for mobile)?
How long are the videos? (Facebook recommends less than 15 seconds!)


Can you identify any ads that may indicate a Retargeting strategy? (Hint: Look for copy like, “Are you still looking…” or “Forget something?”
Filter platform by “Instagram.” Are the Instagram formats the exact same as Facebook, or are they being optimized for Instagram specifically? (Hint: Look for copy or imagery that says “Swipe Up” or are the size of the entire phone to indicate an Instagram Story optimization.)

Now that you know what to look for, here are 6 companies you should run an #AdHack on for the best dealership Facebook Ads! 

Want to skip the “DIY” and get a comprehensive Ad Hack with our Facebook experts? Click here to name your top 3 competitors, and we’ll get started!

6 Different Companies to Facebook Ad Hack NOW:

#1: Ad Hack Yourself!

Go through your ads and audit copy, imagery, and verify that the ads you’re running should still be running! 

(You’d be surprised how often we see Veteran’s Day ads and promotions showing up Mid-December…)

Proofread your copy, and look for opportunities where maybe your message wasn’t crystal clear, or when you used too much text.

Later, you will come back after you study other ads and create/update your current ads.

#2: Ad Hack Your Competition

Now for the best part: Ad Hack your competitors!

Look up your biggest threats, or even dealers whose advertising strategy you’ve admired before.

Take note of the type of campaigns, copy, calls-to-action, imagery, video, length of video, and anything else you want to steal to help YOUR consumer during the path-to-purchase.

Be sure to ask yourself, “WHO were they probably targeting with this message? What were they trying to get the user to DO?”

Once you know that, you’ll be able to recreate the targeting and purpose of the ads.

#3: Ad Hack The Top Dealer Groups In The Country

Check out what the top-ranked dealers are doing!

What’s their secret sauce?

What are their strategies? Are they integrating their vehicle feeds for automated vehicle ads? Are they focused more on branding? Are they using videos or Lead Ads? What is their split between Dealership Branding VS. Inventory or specials?

#4: Ad Hack Your OEM

Understand what your OEM is messaging to the market. This is a HUGE opportunity to marry your messaging to theirs. 

Manufacturers/OEMs create messaging to create awareness and start the consideration process…

…it’s up to you to pull the consumer through to the retail level.

Think about how you can marry your message to the efforts of your OEM

#5: Ad Hack Other Local and National Retailers

Let’s face it, all brick and mortar retailers face the same challenge… 

….you have to get the customer to show up at your store.

Study what other retailers who are selling physical goods are doing in their ads. 

(Think Amazon, Zillow, Home Depot, etc.)

#6: Ad Hack 3rd Party Automotive Sites and Lead Generation Providers

Want to stop depending so heavily on your 3rd party lead and listing provider(s)? 

Facebook is one of the main traffic drivers for the 3rd party vendors you’re likely handing cash to every month.

You can now use the same type of ads, target the same customers, and cut out the middleman!

Did you know? Facebook is one of the top lead drivers for 3rd party listing sites. Cut out the middle man by running your OWN inventory ads on Facebook.

If you recreate these ads successfully, you’ll be able to place your brand on every ad, instead of someone else’s.

Plus, you’re collecting the data on Facebook’s users and local shoppers. That’s your vehicle feed and therefore YOUR data. Don’t let them use it against you!

To learn more how your dealership can generate 1st party VIN leads without the middleman, check out our Facebook Inventory Ads program.

The Results of Your Ad Hacks

Try to Ad Hack each of the recommendations above…and then the hard part…

…use your findings to create your Facebook ads and start experimenting! 

And be honest with yourself:

If you’re not sure how best to “Ad Hack” your competition and identify the “Good, Bad, & Ugly” of dealership Facebook Ads, request our experts to run a FREE Facebook Ad Hack here!

Enjoy your new Ad Hacking hobby!

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.

Ad Hacking 101: Steal Your Competition’s Automotive Facebook Ad Ideas With This Free Tool

Ad Hacking 101: Steal Your Competition’s Automotive Facebook Ad Ideas With This Free Tool

Auto dealers have a secret weapon when it comes to viewing their competitors Facebook Ad strategy…

…and it’s completely free!

Technically called Facebook Page Transparency, this feature was created in an effort by Facebook to “make advertising more transparent and to give people more information about the ads they see.

NOTE: You may have seen something like this before under a Page’s “Info and Ads” tab in 2018. But as of March 2019, this was moved to the new Facebook Page Transparency section.

But as you’ll find out, the tool gives businesses a new competitive edge and the ability to study the Facebook ad landscape like never before.

Use it to gain more insights into:

  1. Your competitors’ live dealership Facebook and Instagram ads
  2. Your live ads
  3. Your manufacturer’s ads
  4. Anyone’s ads!!!

This process is so helpful to us here at Dealers United, we’ve created our own term for it: “Facebook Ad Hacking.”

Ad Hacking will help you get inspired, steal ideas, stay up-to-date with current ad strategies, and see how your ad strategy compares to other dealers like you!

Ready to learn how to run your own Automotive Facebook Ad Hack?

How To Run Your Own Automotive Ad Hack

To see how you can easily view any dealership’s live Facebook and Instagram Ads, watch this quick video!

Quick Guide:

  1. Visit any Facebook Business Page
  2. Click on “Facebook Page Transparency” on the right column of the page (you may have to scroll down a bit)
  3. Toward the bottom of the Pop Up screen, look for “Ads From This Page”
  4. Click the link at the bottom right, “Go To Ads Library”
  5. Use the top Filter Results bar to filter by platform, impressions, and keywords.
  6. Dive further into each ad by clicking “See Ad Details” and view if the ad has multiple variations
  7. Lift your jaw from the floor!!!!

What Your Automotive Facebook Ad Hacks WON’T Reveal

There are 2 big catches when you are going through your Ad Hacks:

First, you can’t see exactly what audiences the ads are targeting.

You won’t know precisely if your competitors are running ads to cold prospects, or if they are using 3rd party In-Market Shopper data, or if they are simply retargeting their website traffic.

However, you can still use copy and context clues to make assumptions on their targeting strategies.

Second, you also can’t see if the ads are actually effective.

Unfortunately, after the switch from Info & Ads to Page Transparency, you can no longer see how many engagements (Likes, reactions, views) each ad received.

Want our team of Facebook experts to Ad Hack your top 3 competitors, and compare their strategies with your own? Click here!

 But you CAN still learn from and mimic great ads for your dealership! (Hint: Be sure to use this tool as inspiration, not to copy exact messaging or clone imagery.)

Our team of Facebook and Instagram experts has an ultra-thorough “internal analysis” we run through when we help auto dealers #AdHack. 

By testing hundreds of dealership ads across the country over the last 5 years, we know which ads are likely to perform…

…and which will FAIL.

If you’re interested in having our team of experts help you Ad Hack, click here! Otherwise, Happy #AdHacking!

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.

Register for the webinar, “The 3 Biggest Facebook Mistakes Even Advanced Dealer Marketers Are Making”!