Pride Chevrolet of Lynn was able to close the loop on a Facebook campaign and prove that its digital outreach was moving metal. Here's how it did so.
The suburban Boston dealership used targeted ads on the social network to piggyback on Chevrolet's national "Chevy Truck Month" promotion to sell five vehicles for a return on investment of 1,539 percent.
Instead of relying on Chevy's campaign to drive traffic, Pride Chevrolet of Lynn adopted the messaging in its Facebook ads to let consumers know that they can take advantage of the promotion at the store.
This was important because while automakers sometimes say "see store for details" during Tier 2 promotions, consumers often head to dealership websites and can't find any information about the advertised deal, said Erica Sietsma, senior vice president of product and strategy for Digital Air Strike, the digital marketing agency that handled Pride Chevrolet of Lynn's campaign.
To determine whether the Facebook ads led to sales, Digital Air Strike and the dealership used customer relationship management data and lead information to figure out who bought vehicles after being exposed to the campaign, which took place from September through October 2015.
As dealerships continue to spend more on digital advertising, they want more than data on impressions and reach. They want sales.
"We have the lead data. We went through every lead that we saw," Sietsma told Automotive News. "It's a tough process to match a lead to a sale."
Digital Air Strike targeted consumers within 12 miles of Pride Chevrolet of Lynn for the Facebook campaign.
The agency looked for buyers it calls Chevrolet intenders, along with potential customers who leased or purchased a vehicle at least 37 months ago -- which meant they might be in the market for a vehicle again. Digital Air Strike says intenders are users that Facebook thinks are planning to buy a vehicle based on their user characteristics, search and Internet history, Polk data and other third-party data.
Consumers who clicked on the Facebook ads and entered their information were taken to a page where they could select a vehicle.
Consumers then were sent a price quote via email within 10 minutes for that vehicle along with quotes for several comparable models. Those individuals also received links to customized landing pages, based on their interests, with more vehicle information.
The 10-minute window for the price quote was crucial.
"Timeliness is important. We're in the generation of immediate gratification," Sietsma said.
But not every person completed the initial quote form, so Digital Air Strike added a second layer of targeting to maintain a connection with those consumers.
The next time those leads went to Facebook, the agency presented them with a similar ad. Sietsma said the extra effort paid off for a number of consumers as some completed the forms the second time.
The store saw encouraging numbers from the campaign. Sietsma said 35 percent of the leads who received an online quote set an appointment. Out of that 35 percent, 70 percent of them showed up for the appointment, which Sietsma said is about 20 percentage points above the industry benchmark.
The average gross profit for the five vehicles sold was $1,631.
"Social advertising has to be a part of [a dealership's] mix," Sietsma said. "Dealers can do this at a good clip. They don't need to spend a dime more than what they're spending right now. It's [about] fine-tuning that mix."