How To Scale Social Ads: 6-Question Ad Test For Auto Agencies

As an industry, we’ve had to move fast over the past 3 years. We’ve needed to adopt digital retailing, add brand-new channels to the mix, and implement more complex advertising strategies than ever before!

But I’m sure we can all admit that “moving fast” often means leaving a few gaps in our wake…

We found out the hard way: In 2020-2021, we were on a mission to scale. We moved fast – TOO fast. 🥴

So we did an audit on our own strategy, and 500 leads were missed. ($25,000 + opportunity cost = GONE!)

After a 30-day drill of putting our ad strategy through the ultimate 6-question ad test, we were able to identify (and FIX!! ✅ ) the key blockers that were holding us back. And now, you can too.

Use our 6-question “Ad Test” to avoid missing critical components that can impact your dealership client’s ad performance AND their bottom line. 

Before You Take The “Ad Test”

Who IS your dealer-client’s ideal customer? Hint: it’s NOT just “car shoppers!” 🚫

If you haven’t done an analysis of your client’s audience, the first course of action is to determine your client’s ideal customers/buyer personas:

  • Demographics
  • Job title
  • Hobbies
  • Recent life events
  • Challenges
  • Where do they receive info

HubSpot even has a tool that simplifies the process of building any dealership’s buyer personas!For dealers, there should be at MINIMUM 3 buyer personas – which can be further broken down by segment: Truck shopper, SUV shopper, Car shopper, Sedan shopper, etc. 

Here’s an example of the ideal persona for Volvo XC40 buyers:

  • Volvo XC40 buyers are wealthy
  • XC40 buyers do in fact prefer Volvo
  • XC40 buyers are Fashionistas or
  • Trendy Homemakers

Moral of the story: Until you understand who your client’s buyer personas are, you don’t know who to target – and if you’re just targeting everybody, you’re really targeting nobody.

6-Question “Ad Test”

1. How Are You Building Your Audiences?

If NOTHING else, make sure every dealer has at least 3 core audiences that allow them to find net new customers, stay in front of shoppers who already know them, AND create customers for life.

Click here to get our Bulletproof Social Ad Framework and unlock 11 targeting techniques to help dealers reach in-market shoppers at every stage in the buyer journey!

  • [Core Audience #1] Don’t Know Your Client – Prospecting:
    Generate new business for dealers by targeting their audience of in-market shoppers who have no idea they exist! Start with data: 
    • 3rd Party Data
    • Lookalikes/Actalikes
    • Platform Targeting
    • Keyword Intent
  • [Core Audience #2]  Know Your Client – Retargeting:
    Help dealers stay in front of their audience by Retargeting engaged users who have shown interest in their products/services. Include the following Retargeting audiences: 
    • Leads, UPs
    • Website Retargeting
    • Platform Retargeting
  • [Core Audience #3] Bought From Your Client – Customer List:
    Build lists of your dealer-client’s existing customer base to deliver continued communication that facilitates customer loyalty and reputation management! Leverage 3 main customer lists:
    • Sold not serviced
    • Serviced not sold
    • General sold list

📈 Audience Optimization

Knowing who your client’s audience is is important, but you need to know how to actually set up the audiences for them to be successful. Here are the key audience factors to know: 

  • Size?
  • Message they receive?
  • Audience updates / re-imports?
    • Automated?
    • Manually updated?
  • When do they enter + leave your client’s funnel?

How The Audiences Work Together

2. What % of Your Ad Strategy Is Video?

Are you using video to communicate your dealer client’s message to your audience?

Truth is: At Least 50% of Your Ad Strategy Should Be Video! Here’s why…

Users want to see videos more than any other content type from the brands/businesses they support.

And because of that, more businesses are using video as a marketing tool – which means you should be too. (Did you know? In 2022, social media video ad spending will grow by 20.1% to $24.35 billion!) 💰Check out the Image vs. Video Facebook ad example below where the video had a 38% increase in clicks and a 4x increase in leads!

The impact that video has on ad performance is undeniable, and if you could run ads that generate more clicks and more leads for dealers, why wouldn’t you? 

📹 3 Awesome Video Tools To Help: 

  • In-platform video generators
  • Biteable
  • Canva

3. Is Your Retargeting Strategy Half-Baked?

One of the biggest pieces of advertising is Retargeting, but it’s a HUGE missed opportunity. 

And these are 3 Retargeting strategies essential for your client’s success… 

  • [Retargeting Strategy #1] Same Conversation:
    Follow up with and further educate users who have landed on a key page, like your dealer-client’s “trade page” (
    which is critical in the vehicle sale and buying process), but didn’t take action.
    • Trade Page visit = Trade Page Retargeting ad
  • [Retargeting Strategy #2] App Engagement:
    Retarget users who engage with your dealership client’s digital profiles!
    • Engagement = App Profile / Page
    • Engagement = Swipe Up / Clicks
    • Engagement = Video View
  • [Retargeting Strategy #3] “Hot” Traffic:
    Reach your dealer-client’s ready-to-buy audience who have recently visited their VDP pages, and incentivize them to choose their dealership over the competition. 
    • 1-7 day Retargeting window = More sales-y messaging

More often than not, the focus is on just getting users to a dealer’s website, but Retargeting provides you with a way to maximize any dealer’s audience and increase conversions.  

4. What Is Your Campaign Turnaround Time?

Speed in this market is critical. Typically, the turnaround time for campaigns, from start to finish, should be 7 days…But if you find that your organization is taking longer to build and deploy campaigns, it’s essential to do everything you can to decrease turnaround time.

Download our FREE Bulletproof Social Ad Framework guide to help dealers go to market fast with 5 social ad campaign ideas + creative, targeting, and messaging inspiration!

💡Tips To Decrease Turnaround Time:

The faster you can turn around campaigns, the faster you can start driving results for dealers. 

5. What Monitors / Quality Assurance Do You Have in Place?

All it takes is one broken pixel, budget mistake, or missed error to send your client’s ad campaign into a downward spiral. This is why monitoring your client’s ad accounts are imperative…

🚨 Top Items To Monitor:

  • Inventory stopped updating/syncing
  • Budget – Underspending/overspending
  • Pixel events that are not firing
  • Failed / missing payment
  • Campaigns not spending
  • Missing GTM
  • Ad costs above benchmarks
  • Broken URL / Landing Page

By setting a standard of alerts to monitor every day, you can keep dealers smiling and ensure their accounts are always in the green. 

6. Do You Have Reliable, Easy, & Automated Reporting?

It’s essential to have a reporting tool that’s fast and accurate, enabling your agency to make data-driven decisions based on your client’s campaign/ad performance.

👀 Instead of Manual Reporting, Look For:

At the end of the day, the most important thing to dealers is their ROAI (Return On Advertising Investment), and you’re going to need a tool where you can build social media advertising reports to prove it.

BONUS: Are You Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket?

What we’re finding right now is Facebook is still king-kong, but auto shoppers don’t only exist on Facebook…they exist on ALL of these social and search platforms.

They’re consumers, and consumers are everywhere – so there’s a ton of opportunity, but you have to meet them where they’re spending time.

Ready-To-Scale Ad Framework

At the end of the day, the goal is not to just put your client’s $$$ into a machine (like what’s done at the Vegas casinos 🎰) and take a gamble…

The goal is to make sure that your clients have a proven ad strategy that will work over and over, repeatedly, to help them get their desired outcome. 🏆

And our Bulletproof Social Ad Framework guide provides you with everything you need to do exactly that! 

Access 5 ad campaigns tested and proven to drive success for any dealer across social media + MORE...

Steal our free Bulletproof Social Ad Framework to help dealers turn social media into a revenue stream ASAP!

Lauren Blackwell

Lauren Blackwell