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Auto dealerships bridge gap between social media, car buyers

Car dealers such as Colorado’s John Elway Dealerships are leveraging’s new ad solution to forge connections with potential buyers by serving them mobile-optimized targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, driving traffic directly to their sites.

Edmunds Ad Solutions enables dealers to directly target in-market car buyers with relevant, native advertisements on social media, serving these individuals with bite-sized pieces of purchase inspiration. Dealerships such as Colorado’s John Elway Dealerships are leveraging the new product’s first-party shopping data to roll out ads and identify consumers who demonstrate similar shopping behavior on premium partner sites.

“Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social media channels in the world,” said Scott Fanelli, vice president of dealer sales at “Not only do we know that shoppers visit these networks with frequency, but they are also highly engaged with them.

“Edmunds Ad Solutions gives dealers the opportunity to make sure their inventories remain front and center with this population of highly engaged shoppers.”

Revving up mobile-inspired sales
Car information and shopping network Edmunds debuted its ad solution product last week, allowing dealers to send targeted mobile-optimized ads to Facebook and Instagram users. The solution leverages Edmunds’ first-party shopping data to enable dealers to fuel traffic directly to their mobile sites.

Dealers can also use Edmunds’ data to pinpoint “lookalike” shoppers – individuals who demonstrate similar shopping patterns – on premium partner sites.

The car shopping network’s engineering team worked in tandem with Facebook’s solutions engineers to create the end-to-end automatic ads buying platform, which taps Facebook’s dynamic ads and marketing APIs.

Dealers that opt to subscribe to the ads solution will receive access to Edmunds’ entire suite of in-market car buyers. Edmunds Ad Solutions’ national pilot discovered that the platform drove 20 times more click-through traffic to dealerships’ sites.

Additionally, pilot participants saw up to a 61 percent uptick in new site visitors and a 50 percent jump in overall site visitor engagement.

“Edmunds Ad Solutions is one of the best ways that dealers can keep their inventory top-of-mind for consumers from the beginning of their online shopping journey, right through the moment they’re ready to purchase,” said Mike Miller, digital marketing manager at John Elway Dealerships. “The product delivers serious and engaged customers who spend far more time on our vehicle detail pages than other paid marketing campaigns.

“The bottom line: Edmunds is helping us to deliver highly targeted ads that are getting the right cars in front of the right buyers.”

Mobile in the front seat
Edmunds’ ad solution product is optimized for mobile devices, which have proven their potency among car shoppers.

According to 2015 research from Edmunds, car buyers on mobile are more likely to look at a specific car model and at local inventory listings (see story).

A Facebook IQ study also saw 58 percent of respondents claim that their smartphones will likely be their primary vehicle-researching device in the future.

Early testing has found that 90 percent of traffic from Edmunds Ad Solutions stems from mobile devices.

This suggests that dealers not currently active on social media and other mobile channels could be losing out on a big slice of sales.

“Many shoppers will rely on social media to solicit opinions from friends about which cars they should consider,” Mr. Fanelli said. “They may also use these channels to look up dealer and manufacturer pages for reviews or special promotions.

“That’s why any extra exposure on social media channels can only benefit dealers.”