Optimizing the use of your advertising budget can seem like a guessing game between setting up your ad optimization, timing, creative, and of course your audience targeting. With all these factors it can be tricky to figure out the right combination to get the most out your ad. In this article we will break down the best way to target your audience.

You’re probably already doing everything you can think of to keep your social media presence engaging and be there for the potential buyers when they are ready. But other than maintaining your current audience, how are you reaching new people?

You can start by reaching new people on the networks you are already using! How do you make sure that your spend isn’t being wasted on people who aren’t interested in your inventory?

Target. Target. Target.

Facebook is one of the best places to start and continue your social media advertising. For a long time Facebook has been expanding and refining their targeting options. They’ve had a corner on the market for a while, but do you know how to unlock their advanced targeting?

There are three different ways that you can build your target audience for your Facebook ads: Retargeting, Lookalike, or Saved.


Retargeting Custom Audience

A retargeted audience is people that are a bit further down their buying journey. They’ve made a decision that they want to buy a vehicle, they have an idea of what they want, and have started doing research online. These are people that have visited your website, perhaps they filled out a form on your blog, or maybe they visited your Facebook page. Ultimately this is putting your company back in front of someone who has shown some sort of interest already. Studies show that these people are the most likely to convert and buy from you. If you are just starting out with Facebook Advertising then this is the audience you want to target first.

To do this you need to make sure that you have a Facebook pixel on your website. Once you do this, then you can create an audience of visitors to your website within Facebook. Another option is to upload a direct list of your customers. If you can export from your CRM, make sure to format it to the Facebook data standard, and upload it. You will then have to tell Facebook which fields you have supplied (name, phone number, email, etc.) The more information you provide the more likely Facebook is to find those people and serve them your ads.

The last option for retargeting is the people that visit your Facebook page. If they have visited your page then you know that they either searched for your company or they found you through other means related to what they are interested in. This is a great option to get them to take the next step and visit your website.

Lookalike Audience

Once you have retargeting up and running, the next best targeting option is a lookalike audience. This type of audience are people that may not be very familiar with your company but are showing interest in your industry or type of inventory. Basically this is the best way for prospecting new leads.

When building your audience tell Facebook to create a “lookalike audience” from your retargeting audience. What this does is that Facebook will look at your retargeting audience and their demographics, and find other people not in your retargeting list that have similar traits and interests. One option for this that will appear is what percentage you want your lookalike audience to be like your retargeting audience. Experts recommend sticking to 1% – 2%. Any bigger of a percentage and your targeting becomes less effective. In turn causing you to spend more money on people with no interest in your dealership or inventory.

Saved Audience

The last targeting options are to create a saved audience. Facebook advertising started out with only these types of audiences. A saved audience should only be considered for certain circumstances. For example, if you are hosting a promotion for only firefighters then a saved audience is the way to go. Otherwise you are guessing on the traits that you believe your audience posses instead of letting the Facebook algorithm optimize your ad targeting.

For this option, we encourage you to take some time to think about your audience. What does your customer look like? Do you know how old they are and what their interests are? How about where they might live or work? That’s how you need to start thinking. Once you have an idea you can first go to your audiences and set this up before creating your advertising campaign.

To build your saved audience you will need to determine:

  • Location
    • People living in this location, recently in this location, or travelling in this location
    • include or exclude one or more: country, state, county, city, metropolitan area, or even zip code
  • Age range
    • Narrow this down to the approximate age of those buying. If you leave this wide open then you are wasting money on tire-kickers.
  • Detailed Targeting
    • This is where you break down the demographics, traits, interests, and behaviors of your audience.
    • Some categories to keep in mind:
      • Inventory Brand Names
      • Vehicle Type
      • In-market for new vehicle
      • financial range
      • Hobbies and Activities


Now that your targeting is set up, you can start building out social ads for your dealership and know that you are reaching the right people! Make sure to keep testing new things and paying attention to which ads perform the best so you can update your targeting and ads for what works best for you.

Now all of these forms of social ads for your dealership are going to perform much better when you already have a social audience to build off of. Make sure you are keeping your social presence engaging through organic content to keep getting to know your audience’s interests. The more interesting your content is, the more buzz your dealership will get and the more customers you are likely to attract!