Social spotlight: Driving qualified enquiries through retargeting

carsales' retargeting program spotlights a vehicle to an in-market buyer browsing social media — that has viewed a listing in detail, but not yet placed an enquiry.

For Australian car dealers, utilising social media can help foster an engaged audience and build trust in your business by drawing attention to your competitive advantages, happy customers, Aftersales departments and contributions to the local community.

For over 12 months as a part of a wide-reaching digital marketing strategy, carsales has gone one step further for Australian car dealers, helping them re-engage in-market car buyers in their free time away from carsales through a comprehensive retargeting program.

More qualified enquiries

Fully funded by carsales at no cost to the dealer, the carsales retargeting program spotlights a vehicle to an in-market buyer browsing social media — that has viewed a listing in detail, but not yet placed a qualified enquiry. A click on the retargeting placement then drives the buyer back to the dealer’s carsales listing.

“The program is designed to keep the dealer’s stock item front of mind when the targeted in-market buyer is open to interruption and not actively searching for a car,” explains Caitlin Retell Digital Marketing Manager at carsales.

“As the retargeting aims at buyers at the pointy end of their purchase journey, it helps deliver dealers more qualified enquiries for sales conversion.”

In the case of carsales retargeting on Facebook, the spotlight on a specific stock item lasts for 24 hours and takes the form of a number of eye-catching dynamic advertising placements — including single and carousel formats. The single format spotlights one key stock item, while the carousel format also draws attention to similar alternatives across the country that the buyer may also wish to evaluate in their purchase journey.

Spotlighting national purchase alternatives aligns with recent analysis that found that 1in 6 enquiries on carsales were submitted on a stock item located interstate.1

“When an in-market car buyer browses their social media feeds, they’re open to engaging with content that is relevant and valuable to their lives — such as a memorable car they’ve already contemplated purchasing on a specialist automotive marketplace like carsales.

3 secrets to retargeting success 

carsales was the first Australian automotive classifieds website to work directly with Facebook to engage and influence car buyers on their platform via retargeting, and also retargets across other social media channels and the Google Display Network.

With this experience and leadership, come many lessons and learnings. Below, Retell outlines 3 secrets to optimising your approach to social media retargeting and getting bang for your investment buck:

1. Relevance: Right time, Right platform, Right message

“Timing is critical — what was relevant to an in-market buyer 24 hours ago, may not be relevant in a week’s time, so choose a tight window to retarget buyers. Chasing a buyer around in their personal time with irrelevant content will impact your return on investment and your brand — it may be interpreted as annoying or intrusive.

“Your choice of platform is also critical and should align with your strategy. Some platforms attract people keen to be interrupted. Other platforms attract people with specific intent and the need to consume content such as news or video.

“Craft a message that makes sense on the channel you choose to retarget on, that aligns with where the buyer is in their purchase journey and keep it succinct — you only have a few seconds to get your point across,” she concluded.

2. Tinker, test, learn and repeat 

If there is one thing that Retell underscores, it’s to keep the faith when undertaking a retargeting program.

“I like to think of retargeting as an onion. It looks simple on the outside, but once you start to dig deeper you will find multiple layers and complexities that require constant attention. You’re probably not going to get it exactly right straight off the bat — in fact you won’t!

“The key is to take time to test and try different tactics and learn — and then apply these learnings."

Retell also stressed the importance of specialist skills in ongoing optimisation. At carsales, 2 digital marketing specialists help with this process.

“The digital space is in a state of constant change, so having specialists can help your results. There are also great online resources to help with the implementation, but it does take a technically minded person and development support to realise great results, “Retell added.

3. Thumb-stopping creative 

“As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Distinctive creative is the first thing we’re trained to see on social media platforms and an effective way to stand out amongst all the noise on our smartphone screens.

“Be bold and be different — give people a reason to stop scrolling, evaluate your message and click to your content.

“If you blend in, you risk being invisible,” Retell concluded.

1 Source: carsales internal data, April 2017 to March 2018