Huntington Beach Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram wanted to make waves when the U.S. Open of Surfing came to town last summer.
The Southern California dealership's ad team, TurnKey Marketing, decided to get in on the action via Snapchat, the growing messaging app that has a foothold among the industry's youngest customers.
TurnKey used Snapchat's filter tool, which allows advertisers to create overlays that people can put on photos that they then share with friends and followers, to engage with attendees of the surfing spectacle on behalf of the dealership.
The Huntington Beach dealership's filter caught on. It was used around 7,400 times and drew 200,000 views, TurnKey co-founder Drake Baerresen said. The cost to the dealership was just $700.
Baerresen said TurnKey also uses quick-hit advertisements on the Snapchat app to target certain shopper segments and gauge their responses. Baerresen said his agency can track phone calls and walk-in traffic back to the ads.
"We have all these tracking tools and pixel setups to see when these people come back and what their actions are," Baerresen told Automotive News. "And what we found with Snapchat is most people, after seeing the ad, take action to that exact dealership within 72 hours. That's either showing up, calling or visiting the website."
Young consumers have been heading to Snapchat for years as their parents and grandparents set up shop on Facebook. The platform, which claims to reach 75 percent of millennials and members of Generation Z in the U.S., gives automakers and dealers another social media puzzle to figure out in their quest to expand their customer base.
Snap Inc., the creator of the app, has added solutions on the platform to make it more conducive to auto marketers while also dishing out advice on how to best reach consumers. It released an auto playbook for dealers in November that breaks down its various ad units and discusses best practices.
For instance, the playbook shows how dealers can pitch products and offer the option to "swipe to text" the store.
"Dealers are starting to lean into the platform to really try to drive efficient site actions and try to drive consumers to engage with vehicle inventory within their websites," Shane Dwyer, Snap Inc.'s senior manager of advertiser solutions, said.