As 3rd-party tags vanish, dealership data gains importance to marketing

Marketers of household goods need to be in front of lots of shoppers often because consumers buy such products more frequently than vehicles, Evans said. But that kind of strategy in automotive would lead to broad ad campaigns that reach a general audience, many of whom might not be ready to buy a vehicle.

That’s why having good insight into first-party customer data is so important to identify the shoppers actually interested in buying a vehicle, Evans said. But, he added, that data “is hugely undervalued, even yet today, with most marketers. And I think they’re going to start coming around to this as the cookieless future sets in.”

With the growing need for first-party data, dealerships can work to obtain it by offering something of value — say service discounts or a loyalty program — in return for consumers agreeing to share some personal information, said Lissette Gole, head of automotive retail at Google. That gives consideration to privacy concerns and provides transparency about how the information is used.

Dealerships also can work with social media companies, such as Facebook, which can continue to track users’ activity within their own platforms, said Pete Petersen, CEO of dealership marketing company Dealers United, which specializes in Facebook and Instagram advertising.

For instance, he said, dealerships can host vehicle detail pages within the social platforms. Facebook can identify when someone views part of a vehicle walkaround video or engages with an ad on the platform. The dealership and its marketing providers can use the resulting information to build an audience and retarget consumers while they’re using Facebook, Petersen said.

Facebook can’t share or sell that data to other platforms, he said, “but they can use it for their own benefit to build better advertising decisions on what you’re doing on their platform.”

Facebook declined an interview request for this story but shared a website post from July. In it, Dan Levy, Facebook’s vice president of ads and business products, wrote that the company is working to build “privacy-enhancing technologies to help minimize the amount of personal information we process, while still allowing us to show relevant ads and measure ad effectiveness.”

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