Facebook Special Ad Category – Your dealership NEEDS to know about this.

Facebook has recently made another change to its advertising policies and it will have a direct effect on the automotive industry; especially in the way dealers target and market to new shoppers in their area. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the “Special Ad Audience”.

The special ad audience was recently implemented by Facebook in order to continue its mission of creating a more inclusive advertising space within its platform, but this added audience comes with some limitations that dealers who are not Dealer Authority clients need to be aware of.

What type of ads falls into the “Special Ad Audience” category?

Ads that market to consumers promoting anything relating to housing, credit (of any kind), or employment are fair game for the Special Ad Audience. Facebook breaks these categories down further with the following:

  • Credit Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including but not limited to credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards that include a specific credit offer.
  • Employment Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including but not limited to part- or full-time jobs, internships or professional certification programs. Related ads that fall within this category include promotions for job boards or fairs, aggregation services or ads detailing perks a company may provide, regardless of a specific job offer.
  • Housing Opportunity or Related Service: Ads that promote or directly link to a housing opportunity or related service, including but not limited to listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage loans and home equity or appraisal services. You can include the Equal Opportunity Housing logo and slogan to help differentiate your ads as non-discriminatory.

What’s the big deal?

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal – just another box to check?”, and that is where you would be wrong. Any ads that fall under the Facebook special audience category will now have the following limitations:

  • Limited target radius of 15 miles around your location. Zipcode targeting is no longer included.
  • The age range of the audience cannot be specified (18 – 65+).
  • Gender of the audience cannot be targeted.
  • Specific interests cannot be specified from within Facebook for this audience and Lookalike audiences no longer apply.

What does this have to do with my dealership’s Facebook Ads?

For the purpose of the automotive industry, let’s focus on “credit opportunity”. Any payment term that runs longer than 90 days, which in almost all cases would be an automotive loan, financing, or leasing all fall under the special audience category.

Now we roll in all of the above-mentioned limitations and you have a very limited Facebook Ad campaign on your hands. You may be thinking that you have a working around – create an ad that doesn’t include any limiting factors and just land them on a page on our website that gives them the incentive and credit information.

Sorry, landing pages and SERPs still apply. If Facebook finds you trying out this “black hat” work-around your dealership will be on its way to being non-compliant and blocked from Facebook Ads.

What advantages do Dealer Authority clients have?

Dealer Authority social media clients will still have to comply with the special ad audience terms but there is one major difference that our dealers will have over those that do not partner with us for their social media advertising – special ad audience does not limit third-party data.

This means we will still be confined by the 15 miles radius and demographical limitations, but our social media team will be able to include third-party data in our clients’ campaigns that include vehicle make and model, in-market shoppers, and shoppers lifestyle.

Dealers who are working with marketing providers that do not have third-party data are completely beholden to the special ad audience restrictions.

We encourage dealers to speak with their marketing provider about how they will be assisting your dealership with this most recent Facebook Ad update and if you don’t like the answer you receive, give us a call.

There isn’t a secret sauce at Dealer Authority – just hard-working people who are digital marketing obsessed and goal-driven. Let us help you navigate through this shift in social media so that your dealership’s monthly numbers are not affected by these advertising limitations.

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