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Facebook Changes Are Relevant To Auto Industry Marketing Professionals

Automotive Marketers Must Follow Facebook Changes and Learn to Optimize their Pages and Content Posts

Timeline, Sponsored Stories and other updated offerings will lead to different strategies within the Facebook network

With every adjustment or alteration Facebook makes, automotive marketers who rely on the platform must adapt as well, according to a new eMarketer report, “Facebook Marketing: Reaching Customers in a Changing Environment.”

Facebook has introduced several new marketing tools in the past year, including the Timeline format for brand pages; Sponsored Stories, Reach Generator and other advertising offerings that incorporate regular posts; and metrics that go beyond counting fans, incorporating reach, sharing and engagement into measurements.

Many of these updates improve on Facebook’s free tools. But auto industry marketing practitioners beware: Subtle changes behind the scenes mean that car 

dealers and OEM's will need to incorporate paid advertising in the mix if they want to get much traction using Facebook’s free services. This is critical for many dealership marketers to understand, since 83% of all companies with at least 100 employees will use Facebook for marketing this year, eMarketer estimates. By 2014, that will rise to nearly nine in 10.

As Facebook has rolled Timeline out to all brand pages, it has meant a de-emphasis on tabs, which used to let brands choose their own landing page for Facebook users. In addition, Facebook’s inclusion of ads in the newsfeed that seamlessly fit into organic content on the site are not solely an opportunity for paid media. In fact, in early 2012, during the Facebook Marketing Conference, the company said that when a brand posts an update to Facebook, only 16% of its fans actually see the content. This is largely due to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, which determines what status updates, posts and comments are shown on users’ newsfeeds. The algorithm chokes back the amount of brand content users see as a way to manage the increasing content being posted to Facebook. So, while getting more fans to comment and engage with the post will increase its reach, the easiest way to win higher visibility is now, of course, by paying to integrate posts into the feed.

For marketers looking to keep their visibility and engagement high with Facebook users, the new ad formats require planning and integration between advertising and social media management teams.


“It’s starting with a good page post, a good strategy, and then figuring out how to amplify that and drive persuasion with it,” said Grady Burnett, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook. “Paid and earned, when used together, perform best.”

The full report, “Facebook Marketing: Reaching Customers in a Changing Environment,” also answers these key questions:

  • How are the changes to Facebook affecting marketers’ strategies for the social network?
  • How are consumers responding to the new elements and the evolving marketing tactics on Facebook?
  • As Facebook matures as a website, is its relationship with brands and marketers advancing or regressing?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


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Tags: Are, Auto, Changes, Facebook, Industry, Marketing, Professionals, Relevant, To


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Comment by Jim Oborny on August 27, 2012 at 3:44pm


Facebook would like everyone to pay to improve their Edgerank just like Google would like everyone to pay for Google ads instead of optimizing their website for organic rankings.  There are things that can and should be done to improve Edgerank without simply having to pay Facebook.  Would a car dealer simply rely on ads to generate traffic to their website?  Dealers that have the foresight to improve now so they will not have to simply pay will be far better off than those that simply resign themselves to the fact that they have to pay to show up.

I hope Facebook does not simply make Facebook a place where you simply have to pay to have your posts show up.  In my opinion that would be a huge mistake.

Comment by Kelly Holloway on August 27, 2012 at 2:54pm

We did a post on this in June that helps explain EdgeRank and how the algorithm works...which is not in the dealers favor, of course. Facebook is also in the works of launching ads in its search box. Now that Facebook is publicly traded, dealers should expect more ad placement offerings and will need to do thorough testing to find out which works best for their dealership.

Comment by Jim Oborny on August 27, 2012 at 1:28pm

Also, I agree on your comment on Fb ads.  If used properly they can be very effective.

Comment by Jim Oborny on August 27, 2012 at 1:18pm

Ralph, my point was that different content in different apps can be used to improve Edgerank.  It so happens that our app is an example of a way to improve Edgerank, recurring traffic and encouraging people to like pages.  Many businesses struggle with all of these.  Especially getting people to like their page.  Edgerank and having the visibility of your posts to people who like your page is now (or should be) the new concern for most.  You can have 1000 likes but if you posts are only being seen by 100 then that is a bad thing.  Thanks for allowing this forum.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 27, 2012 at 1:04pm

Jim Oborny - Although I know your comment was intended to promote your scratch-off product, I would like to point out that with Facebook Advertising campaigns you can use your application pages (Tabs) as designated landing pages, or simply select specific content posts to a Facebook Page and have them be the advertisement themselves (sponsored stories).  So, as long as you are willing to invest an appropriate advertising budget for Facebook, the changes actually improve the network's effectiveness for car dealers.  My (former) team at Tier10 Marketing is running Facebook Advertising campaigns for over 100 dealerships right now and the results across the range of campaigns are all at or better than Google Adwords.  Of course, the available inventory is far less, so the spend within FB is less as well, but dollar for dollar Facebook advertising, when configured and managed properly, is a very good marketing investment by dealers.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 27, 2012 at 1:00pm

Timothy Martell - The FB click fraud issue is like deja vu with the Google Adwords click fraud issues from 2003 to 2006.  I am of the belief that like Google, Facebook will mitigate click fraud to a level of insignificance... Of course, if they fail to do so, then the entire company's business model and over $100 Billion in value are at stake... Powerful incentive to get any click fraud issues, real or perceived resolved to a level that allows advertiser confidence.  I can tell you from my experience promoting AutoCon on Facebook that the paid advertising has been effective at creating awareness, driving "Fans" to the AutoConnection Facebook Page and over 20,000 unique visitors to  When the dust settles and we are able to review the several thousand dollars we have spent on paid Facebook advertising, we will take the results and publish them.  All the paid Facebook ads we created were targeted ONLY to people with profile tags such as working in the "Automotive Industry".  The results were surprisingly strong for those of us who have managed Facebook campaigns for car dealers.

Comment by Jim Oborny on August 27, 2012 at 12:36pm

Nice informative post Ralph.  While it is true that a default landing tab cannot be defined in Facebook companies can still do a couple of things.  You can for example link directly to one of your tabs (apps) on your website.  Also tabs (apps) can be great for adding functionality, encouraging likes and improving your page's Edgerank.  You can do this all while helping to promote your page virally.  This is actually one of the benefits of our scratch off promotion app.

You can set a promotion so people can play once a day.  This gets your page recurring traffic which is important for Edgerank and it also tells the friends of the people who participate about your promotion.  Jim

Comment by Timothy Martell on August 27, 2012 at 12:24pm

Nice post Ralph. Have you heard of or come across any information from Facebook on how they plan to deal with the enormous amount of click fraud currently happening? One of the biggest issues with Facebook right now are the nearly 90 million fake accounts that are used in the business of selling fake followers. 

The problem isn't so much the fake followers as much as it is the bots behind them that not only like other pages, but Facebook ads and promoted posts. Thus generating fraudulent revenue for Facebook. There have even been allegations that former FB employee's are behind some of this click fraud.

I agree that this will be an invaluable future tool for business, but it isn't hard to see why big companies are pulling their ad spend thing stuff like this happening.

Comment by Juliana Casale on August 27, 2012 at 12:16pm

This is oddly relevant to a search I was doing earlier today -- I was looking for places to post a help wanted ad for auto writers and I thought I would do some Facebook PI. One of the SUV/truck pages I came across was and I was really impressed by their mix of photos, articles and contests. I think they're doing a fantastic job of engaging their customer base with social media -- it's great to find a company that "gets it."

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