SUNNYVALE, Calif. — A webinar held yesterday shed some light on why dealers aren’t capturing the amount of “Likes” to match their activity on Facebook. It turns out the social media site’s increasingly picky filter might be the culprit.

Ryan O’Hara, presenter of the webinar and marketing specialist at Digital Air Strike — a digital marketing firm — revealed that only 16 percent of dealer content is showing up in the News Feed of users who “Liked” their company page. The problem, he added, is linked to the user’s News Feed setting, which defaults to “Top Story.” In that setting, users don’t view posts chronologically, and they very rarely see posts from pages they “Like” but don’t frequent.

“I know we have a lot of dealers say, ‘Well, we're scared we're pushing too much [content] out there …,’" O’Hara said. “Because of this filter, this just doesn't seem to be the case anymore. You can actually [send out] several posts a day and you really won't be spamming people.”

To combat Facebook’s News Feed filters, O’Hara said dealers will have to “pay to play.”

After conducting several case studies, Digital Air Strike found that dealers who participate in a variety of Facebook ad types — such as standard banner ads, sponsored stories and promoted posts — have a better chance of soliciting engagement with their content than those who don’t.

But buying an ad, especially sidebar ads, won’t guarantee views from users of mobile devices. That’s why O’Hara recommended that dealers diversify the types of ads they purchase to guarantee a wider reach.

O’Hara also revealed that Facebook is ramping up plans to release a new feature called Graph Search. It will transform the social media site into a search engine, and offer marketers more opportunities to be seen by customers. The new feature will also include business reviews, according to Digital Air Strike.

“Basically, it's [Facebook’s] version of a review site such as Yelp,” O’Hara said. “So if you see a business, it will actually tell you which one of your friends have visited there, checked in and have left good reviews.

“It's going to be a really great way to take social media to the next level,” he added. “So, having good reviews and having a good reputation is even more important.”

Here are some additional stats offered in yesterday’s webinar:

  • 32 percent of recent car buyers recall seeing ads from local dealers.
  • 16 percent of car buyers say they clicked on local dealer ads.
  • 77 percent of users who see dealership ads typically live within 50 miles of the dealership. This is due to Facebook’s targeting abilities.
  • Facebook allows marketers to target ads using a variety of factors, including gender. This is important since 64 percent of Facebook users are women, according to Digital Flash, a digital marketing firm.

— Brittany-Marie Swanson