How Your Automotive Dealership Can Beat The 2018 Facebook News Feed Change
Mark Zuckerberg just made an announcement about the Facebook News Feed, and your dealership’s Facebook strategy WILL BE affected. Dive into this article to answer the questions that every business should be asking right now, like “Will my posts still show?” “Is my Business Page dead?” “What about my Facebook ads?” And—most importantly—“How the heck can I beat this?”
We can’t say we didn’t see this one coming…
Early indicators like businesses’ organic reach taking a major dip in 2014, the addition of ad relevancy scores and “See First” features to the platform in 2015, and then last year, word of the News Feed running out of ad space made it clear that rules around dealership ads and pages on Facebook were bound to change.
But when and to what extent, we couldn’t be sure.
This year, Facebook is taking its largest step yet to open up the News Feed and help facilitate “community” over “consumerism.”
And it has a lot of businesses asking a lot of questions.
Here are the highlights of the announcement — and what they mean for your dealership:
JUMP TO TOPIC:
1. The News Feed change means Person-to-Person interactions will come before Person-to-Page interactions.
Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement last Thursday:
In his post, Zuckerberg said, “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
Then, the kicker:
“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”
Essentially, this means your Business Page’s organic posts (the posts you don’t have to pay for) will see a BIG decrease in reach.
Facebook’s Newsroom article said, “As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease…Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.”
So the posts you share on your Page MIGHT make it to your followers’ News Feeds…
…but only if they’re likely to get a reaction (Like, Comment, or Share).
2. Facebook wants to spark conversation, not passive scrolling.
A major reason behind the change?
Facebook has been targeted lately for facilitating “passive interactions,” something researchers have found can negatively impact users’ well-being.
According to Zuckerberg, “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits. We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”
Because of this, VP of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, said that Facebook will start prioritizing “posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to.”
Essentially, the video explains how Facebook will be using a process called “ranking” to:
- Assume what posts users will be most interested in and engage with, prioritizing user-created posts over business-created posts.
- Prioritize posts that require more time and deeper interaction, like long and thoughtful replies, rather than content that can be simply scrolled past.
In other words, say goodbye to posting content to your Page that you *hope* will get 10 or so Likes.
What can you do to prevent this?
And – the biggest question of all – what about Facebook ads?
3. No one knows 100% sure what the effect on Facebook Ads will be. BUT…
…HERE’S WHAT WE DO KNOW:
- We don’t expect Facebook ads to go away. Ever.
- Seriously, they’re too big of a business. In fact, Facebook reported ad revenue of $9.16 billion in the second quarter of 2017, a 47 percent increase over the same quarter last year – and it’s still growing.
- Facebook DOES, however, want to focus on 1:1 conversations between real people (not Businesses talking AT real people).
Therefore, the only dealerships who have a chance at rising above the 2018 Facebook News Feed change are stores who want to drive real, personal interactions with their content (ads included!).
If your dealership is still posting monthly specials from your OEMs instead of finding ways to have real conversations with shoppers…
…(whether they are ads OR posts)…
…your dealership WILL NOT succeed on Facebook in 2018.
According to Mosseri, “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more…updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
Even last year, as ad units began seeing more competition, our team knew we had to help dealerships think outside the box.
We didn’t know exactly what was coming, but we knew EVERY business needed to step up how they engage with users online.
And now, it’s D-Day.
4. The best way to spark conversation? Be relevant (with 7 ad examples).
Stay with me.
“Relevant” has quickly become one of the most overused terms in digital marketing, and it no longer carries the weight it should.
But when I say “your dealership’s Facebook ads need to be relevant,” I’m not talking about targeting ALL local In-Market Auto Shoppers with your ad about your latest-and-greatest vehicle incentives.
In Facebook world, that’s the equivalent of showing a COACH purse ad to all women in the U.S.
The key to being relevant is diving into data (the right people)…
…identifying the most specific conversation you can have with a car shopper as possible (the right message)…
…and then having that conversation (at the right time).
We’ve been preaching this concept for so long, I feel like I’ve beaten a dead horse, then brought it back to life just to beat it again…
But here are some of my favorite examples of relevant ad strategies that we’ve proven can create 1:1 conversations:
7 Examples of Relevant Dealership Facebook Ads
- how you help local teachers find their dream car
- Sending your CRM list service offers and coupons
- Implementing a smarter retargeting strategy that advertises the exact vehicle ads for VDPs visited recently on your site
- Delivering specials for specific model lines or body style preferences to In-Market Shoppers interested in those precise vehicles
- Targeting specific price-ranged vehicles to users in corresponding credit levels or income ranges
- Identifying pet lovers and inviting them to your dealership’s bi-monthly pet adoption event
- Reaching women near your dealership with a video promoting your free massage for ladies every Wednesday (View The LIVE Case Study)
See what I’m saying about being “relevant?”
Think…would you offer an actual shopper on your lot to test drive in a red Toyota Camry, when they just looked at two different Toyota Tacomas?
I’d hope not. But that’s exactly how some dealerships’ campaigns look online: dealers trying to talk about things Facebook users simply aren’t interested in.
Facebook knows that you won’t be able to truly connect with users if you start talking to them about the wrong thing at the wrong time.
And that’s why Facebook is cracking down on “irrelevant” Page content and ads.
5. Your dealership’s Facebook Page is dead.
I know. It’s brutal.
But it’s the truth: your dealership’s Business Page is NOT going to be the source of inbound sales inquiries in 2018.
We still have a ton of faith in your dealership’s ads, though…
…so long as they go beyond JUST getting into the News Feed and instead focus on driving 1:1, human interactions with your dealership.
This 2018 News Feed change WILL be the ultimate test for your dealership, and your Facebook vendor or agency.
You’ll find out pretty quickly if your Facebook strategy is just “checking the box” for Facebook Advertising, or if you are able to successfully create true connections with your dealership’s consumers.
Wrap Up: To Stay Ahead of Any News Feed Change, Get Personal.
For the past 2 years, Dealers United has been pushing Facebook Advertising as the top solution for auto dealers.
Not because its a silver bullet for selling cars or generating thousands of leads (although these success stories seem to disagree)…
…but because Facebook facilitates more 1:1 conversations and unique brand building opportunities for auto dealers than any other platform we’ve ever seen.
But remember: to ensure your dealership rises above any platform update and any channel change, you MUST avoid basing your advertising tactics short-term results.
Instead, focus on cutting through the noise of every other ad and find out ways to deliver REAL value to your consumers.
Only then can you expect to generate higher engagement, higher conversions—and ultimately—higher sales.
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