A Tale of Two Vendors

October 16, 2023

Digital marketing: it's not just about making a move; it's about making the right move. Recently, one of our dealerships decided to shift gears and explore new terrains by comparing the Roadmaster Marketing Facebook inventory ads strategy against that of a renowned third-party vendor. The results? Well, spoilers: we came out on top.

Setting the Stage: Inventory Ads in the Spotlight

At the heart of this experiment was the use of Inventory Ads on Facebook. For the uninitiated, Inventory Ads allow businesses to dynamically showcase their products to a targeted audience. This is typically seen through individual vehicle placement in a slideshow-style catalog. Our approach was laser-focused, tailoring ads to specific vehicle segments - New SUVs, Used SUVs, Used Sedans, and Used Trucks. This tactic ensured that our audience was served ads finely tuned to their interests.

Screenshot of Facebook add showing McGrath's inventory

On the other side of the equation, the third-party vendor boasted their cutting-edge real-time access to online shoppers. Their value proposition? Targeting users who had recently searched for specific makes and models on major automotive listing websites. While this sounds impressive, we placed our faith in the robust audience filters provided by Facebook. After all, Facebook's primary goal is to ensure ads are placed in front of the most receptive eyes.

The Showdown: Numbers, Take the Wheel!

In July, the dealership invested $2,280 in Facebook Inventory ads through Roadmaster, while simultaneously, under the third-party vendor's guidance, $4,500 was allocated for a similar campaign. 

Here's how the campaigns fared:

  • Impressions: Our strategy secured 211,957 impressions.
  • Reach: We reached an impressive 48,769 unique users.
  • Link Clicks: Our ads garnered 6,184 clicks, with an average cost of $0.37 per click. It's noteworthy that our used inventory ads were more cost-effective at around $0.20 per click, while new inventory ads had a slightly higher cost.

The pudding-proof, however, lies in the aftermath. Leveraging our in-house strategy, website visits surged by 53%. Under the third-party vendor's approach, the increase was 46%. Despite the latter's claim of real-time search query data, our dealership's traffic quality outshone with an 87% rise in quality visits, overshadowing their 63% increment.

Engagement metrics further emphasized our edge. Our dealership enjoyed an 8% bump in average site duration, while the third-party strategy led to a 13% decline. 

Google analytics performance overview showing increase in link clicks

Though, credit where credit is due; they did beat us in one category—when it came to Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs). Our approach saw a 121% boost, while the third-party strategy resulted in a 148% increase. However, more isn't always better, especially when considering the substantial difference in ad expenditure. If you look at cost, specifically, with the in-house strategy the average cost for each percentage increase in VDP pages was $21.27, while for the third-party vendor strategy, it was $30.41. So, when looking through the lens of cost, it was still less expensive using Roadmaster’s method.

Screenshot of a Vehicle Detail Page

Steering Towards the Finish Line

This experiment underscores the significance of a well-thought-out audience segmentation and the latent potential within Facebook's tools. While grandiose claims and expansive budgets may seem alluring, it's the strategic execution that truly counts. A one-size-fits-all mentality toward a customer base ends up in middling results. When trying to cut through the white noise of automotive dealership advertising and marketing in 2023, sound strategy and custom-tailored tactics are king.

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