Ford Test Drives a Targeted Facebook Strategy
Ford’s coast-to-coast EcoBoost Challenge campaign was designed to encourage test drives among “fence-sitters,” or consumers that liked Ford, but hadn’t really made up their minds about the brand. Through it, Ford offered an incentive: $50 in exchange for a test-drive through an online promotion. This led to some challenges, including the problem of these offers being “forwarded” or abused, and accessible to consumers that weren’t in Ford’s target or qualified to purchase a car in the first place.
Going forward, Ford also needed more reliable metrics. So when it decided to run the challenge exclusively in the Great Lakes Region, a target area where loyalty runs deep and “conquest sales are hard to come by,” the brand turned to digital media and Facebook, specifically—a platform accessible on any device, from mobile to PC to laptop or tablet. The thing about Facebook, however, is its openness and the fact that a “Like” doesn’t always correlate to loyalty. Meaning, Ford couldn’t just blast this exclusive promotion to all of its “fans.” Ford needed to leverage technology that would allow it to target qualified consumers (non Ford-owning consumers included) in the Great Lakes Region and protect the program from abuse.
Using Pin Point technology and Facebook data partners including Polk, a company that brings “offline auto data to online ad targeting, and Datalogix, a consumer purchase-data supplier, Ford’s team started by leveraging a proprietary mix of geography, interests, offline behavior and vehicle ownership. Custom ads were developed and matched and optimized to attract and convert targets.
Facebook fans received a promotional post from Ford offering a $50 test drive: “Are you looking to buy a Ford? Receive $50 when you test-drive a Ford! But hurry, this offer is limited to the first 1,000 registrations. Click here to get started.” Users clicked through to a secure microsite and registration. After, users received an automated email with the VIP code. SecureLink technology then prevented unauthorized sharing by redirecting unauthorized shares to a “This program is now closed” page, effectively preventing fraud and capping the automaker’s investment. In addition, this system allowed users who chose NOT to claim the $50 offer to share with one friend who could.
Aside from allowing brands to target consumers with ads based on location, likes and interests, as Ford and the PinPoint Social campaign did, Facebook’s advertising platform allows brands to target users by gender, relationship status, work and education, too. And because consumers provide so much information about themselves in profiles and public posts, there’s even more opportunities for brands to research in addition to promote. Ford’s precision targeting and promotions are giving its dealers quite the leg up.
In total: Ford reached more than 750,000 geo-targeted Facebook users, and the campaign generated 1,500-plus qualified test drives and 741 new Ford sales within 45 days.