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Industry Insights

The world of social media marketing is fast-paced and ever-changing. Automotive retailers got a fresh reminder of that recently, when Facebook announced that as of September 13, 2021, Facebook Marketplace will discontinue the distribution of vehicle listings from partner catalog feeds.


That means the vehicle listings you provide to Facebook via a partner catalog won’t be displayed on Marketplace‘s homepage, category pages, or search results.


Social media represents a great platform for highly targeted and responsive advertising, so at first glance this could seem like a serious blow to dealership advertising. And it very well could be – if you don’t know about an equally effective alternative.


Automotive Inventory Ads

It’s true that you could rely on posting inventory to your dealership Facebook page (a passive approach that relies on preexisting page traffic) or create individual Marketplace listings (laborious and inefficient), but these methods fall short when compared to an automated system.


Instead, the smart way to fill the gap is to leverage Automotive Inventory Ads.


Facebook actually mentions Automotive Inventory Ads in the same announcement, and for good reason: They’re the best alternative to listing your vehicles directly in Marketplace via a catalog feed. In fact, they offer the added benefit of putting intuitive targeting services to work for you in real-time.


But what exactly are Automotive Inventory Ads?

In short, they’re ads that allow dealers to upload their entire catalog of vehicle inventory to Facebook, including relevant details such as make, model, and year.


The ads are optimized for people known to be in-market for a vehicle thanks to a targeting feature called the Facebook pixel. The pixel a piece of code that collects data to help you track conversions, build targeted audiences, and remarket to past site visitors or customers.


Not only does this integration have the obvious benefit of automatically showing your most relevant and compelling inventory to the right audience, but it dovetails perfectly with calls-to-action that generate conversions (driving traffic to a lead submission form, your website, an on-Facebook vehicle detail page, etc.).


If some of this sounds familiar, it’s because it has a lot in common with the kind of tracking and remarketing you may already be doing with the Google Display Network.


Indeed, the principles at work are largely the same, except you’re now leveraging the unmatched targeting precision of social media, where your audiences curate themselves based on their prior activity and stated interests. This ensures your ads have the best possible opportunity to activate potential buyers.


So, Automotive Inventory Ads aren’t just an alternative to distributing vehicle listings via a catalog feed – it’s actually a massive improvement, allowing your full inventory to automatically be served to the most receptive potential customers out there.


Of course, it’s always worth noting that these ads appear on both web and mobile regardless of the device originally used to view the ad. Automotive Inventory Ads with an on-Facebook destination will drive shoppers directly to a mobile-optimized vehicle detail page.


While it’s possible to set up a basic campaign in the Facebook Business Suite, it’s recommended to partner with a vendor who can simplify your vehicle catalog creation and handle the complicated stuff for you. After all, your time is better spent on closing the sale, not worrying about the ins and outs of an ad delivery system.


Social media advertising may constantly be changing, but within every new challenge also lies the seeds of opportunity. Let this change be an opportunity for you to fill the gap of how your inventory is delivered online.

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