How to Target Facebook Users Based on the Car They Drive

Facebook Power Editor Behavior Targeting Automobile

[AUDIO VERSION: I also recorded an audio version of this blog post. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

If you’ve been reading the past couple of weeks, you’re starting to realize just how powerful Facebook ad targeting is, even if you aren’t targeting users already closely connected to you.

Make sure you read these two posts for background:

Today we’re going to focus on a specific category found within behavioral targeting: Automotive.

The Basics

As mentioned above, this is found within behavior targeting. Whether you’re creating an ad within Power Editor or the ad create tool, click “Browse” within Behaviors.

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors

That will give you the following categories:

  • Automotive (DLX Auto Powered by Polk)
  • Charitable Donations
  • Digital Activities
  • Financial
  • Mobile Device User
  • Purchase Behavior
  • Residential Profiles
  • Travel

Click on the Automotive category.

Facebook Power Editor Behavior Automotive

You will then be given the following sub-categories:

  • Motorcycle
  • New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market)
  • New Vehicle Shoppers (In Market)
  • Owners
  • Purchase Type
  • Used Vehicle Buyers (In Market)

Let’s start digging into what you can find here!


Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Motorcycle

When you click the Motorcycle sub-category, you’ll get two options:

  • Purchased
  • Owners

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Motorcycle Owners

When you click “Owners” sub-category, you’ll be able to target Facebook users based on the type of motorcycle that they drive. You’ll get the following options:

  • All Motorcycles
  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
  • BMW
  • Domestic
  • Foreign
  • Harley
  • Honda
  • Kawasaki
  • Less than 600cc Engine
  • Minibike/Moped/Scooter
  • Off-Road/Trail/Dirt Bike
  • Over 600cc Engine
  • Polaris
  • Road/Street Bike
  • Suzuki
  • Yamaha

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Motorcycle Purchased

Click on the Purchased sub-category, and you can target based on how recently they bought that motorcycle, and whether it was new or used:

  • 0 – 6 Months Ago
  • 7 – 12 Months Ago
  • 13 – 24 Months Ago
  • 25 – 36 Months Ago
  • 37 – 48 Months Ago
  • Over 48 Months Ago
  • New
  • Used

New Vehicle Buyers

Facebook Power Editor New Vehicle Buyers

The next two options are for new vehicle buyers:

  • New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market)
  • New Vehicle Buyers (In Market)

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors New Vehicle Buyers Near Market

If you click the “New Vehicle Buyers (Near Market)” option, you’ll be allowed to target people who will be considering a new vehicle purchase within the next 365 days, by style:

  • Crossover
  • Economy/Compact
  • Full-Size SUV
  • Full-Size Sedan
  • Hybrid/Alternative Fuel
  • Luxury SUV
  • Luxury Sedan
  • Midsize Car
  • Minivan
  • Pickup Truck
  • Small/Midsize SUV
  • Sports Car/Convertible

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors New Vehicle Buyers In Market

If you click the “New Vehicle Buyers (In Market)” option, you’ll be allowed to target people who will be considering a new vehicle purchase within the next 180 days, broken into three categories:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Style

If you select “Make,” you’ll be given 33 options that include:

  • Acura
  • BMW
  • Honda
  • Jeep
  • Porsche

If you select “Model,” you’ll get 50 options that include:

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Ford Escape
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota Prius

Click on “Style,” and you’ll get the same options as listed above when this option is selected for “Near Market.”


Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Automotive Owners

Click on the “Owners” sub-category, and you’ll get the following options:

  • Aftermarket
  • Make
  • Purchased
  • Style
  • Vehicle Age
  • Vehicle Price


Within the “Aftermarket” subcategory, you’ll be able to target people who are likely to buy auto parts, services or accessories:

  • Auto Parts
  • Auto Parts and Accessories
  • Auto Service Buyer


Within the “Make” subcategory, you can target people based on the make of the car in their household. There are 40 to choose from, including:

  • Audi
  • Dodge Ram
  • Infiniti
  • Mercedes
  • Saab


Click on “Purchased” and you’ll be able to target users based on how recently they purchased their current vehicle. Options include:

  • 0-6 Months Ago
  • 7-12 Months Ago
  • 13-24 Months Ago
  • 25-36 Months Ago
  • 37-48 Months Ago
  • Over 48 Months Ago


The “Style” sub-category will allow you to target Facebook users based on the style of vehicle they own. This was discussed earlier, and includes things like:

  • Commercial Truck
  • Crossover
  • Economy/Compact
  • Full-Size SUV
  • Full-Size Sedan

Vehicle Age

Targeting users by age of vehicle in their household could be a way to reach those likely to be in the market to buy. Options include:

  • 0 – 1 Year Old
  • 2 Years Old
  • 3 Years Old
  • 4 – 5 Years Old
  • 6 – 10 Years Old
  • 11 – 15 Years Old
  • 16 – 20 Years Old
  • Over 20 Years Old

Vehicle Price

Finally, you can target users based on vehicle price. This could be a good indicator of disposable income:

  • Less than $20,000
  • $20,000 – $30,000
  • $30,000 – $40,000
  • $40,000 – $50,000
  • $50,000 – $75,000
  • Over $75,000

Purchase Type

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Automotive Vehicle Price

Within the “Purchase Type” sub-category, you can target users who are likely to buy or lease a car based on the following characteristics:

  • Buy New (In Market)
  • Buy New (Near Market)
  • Buy New or Used (In Market)
  • Buy New or used (Near Market)
  • Buy Used (In Market)
  • Lease (In Market)

Reminder: “In Market” means that users are likely to perform that action within the next 180 days, and “Near Market” is the next 365 days.

Used Vehicle Buyers (In Market)

Facebook Power Editor Behaviors Automotive Used Vehicle Buyers

Finally, you can target users who are likely to buy a used vehicle within the next 180 days. You can refine your targeting buy Make and Style. Both were already discussed above.

Where Does Facebook Get This Data?

All of this information comes from Partner Categories. Facebook partners with data mining companies (in this case Datalogix) that collect data based on purchases, applications and surveys completed and send it to Facebook for ad targeting purposes.

It will undoubtedly sound creepy to some that you can target based on some of this information. But if you get past the creepiness, this data can be used to generate incredibly relevant — and useful — advertising.

For the purpose of the automotive targeting, Facebook explains the source of almost all of this information as follows:

Multi-sourced, U.S. consumer household information that draws from geographic, demographic and area-level vehicle characteristics. Validated using actual vehicle registration data.

Is it accurate? Test to find out!

As always, advertisers have no access to the names associated with this data. For more on how this data is used, make sure you read this message from Facebook.

How Can Advertisers Use This Data?

Here are a few examples of how advertisers can use this information…

Auto Dealership: You can target users based on whether they own a new or used car, by make and model, and you can make sure that you’re only reaching those who are likely to currently be in the market for a new car. Lots of possibilities!

Mortgage and Loan Company: What are your current rates? Target people in the market for a car, making adjustments based on likely amount a customer may put down.

Auto Insurance Company: Target users based on the specific make and model of car they own, complete with typical rates for that car.

Lifestyle: For brands with big ticket items that may only appeal to the wealthy, target those with expensive cars! On the flip side, you may have a product or service that appeals to a demographic on the other end of the spectrum.

Your Turn

Have you started using this information in your targeting? What have you done, or what ideas do you have?

Let me know in the comments below!

  • Nicole

    This article is an undeniable resource for those in the automotive marketing world who have either just come on the FB advertising scene, or who need a bit more clarity on the targeting and how best to drill it down. Thank you, Jon Loomer!

    • Jon Loomer

      You’re welcome, Nicole!

  • Josh Biggers

    Automotive aftermarket parts marketer here.. This is extremely intriguing. Jon I’m only seeing options in the ‘create and ad’ behaviors to be simply make, with some additional model options for a SMALL amount of makes by typing in the specific name. Is there more options in Power Editor, or what am I missing? Dropdown feature stops at Make.

    • Jon Loomer

      Maybe try Power Editor? Also, are you in the US? I know features get rolled out here first.

      • Josh Biggers

        Yes, California. I’ll fire up Power Editor and poke around. I see everything you’ve posted above, but what I don’t see is any drop down extending beyond “Make”. But if you start typing in the box without making a dropdown selection, BMW doesn’t have anything further, but Toyota Corolla will if you’re typing.

    • Phenomena

      Great share, but as we see here it has not rolled out everywhere.

  • Wayne Akey

    Great insights Jon–Could be great new “vehicle” for car related advertisers

  • Mark Bradley

    This is great for targeting in the US; I’m UK-based, do you have any idea when we can expect to see Partner Categories and automotive behaviours etc in the UK?

  • Dara Schulenberg

    Phenomenal stuff. Is there a similar ability you’ve successfully used to target homebuyers?

  • Nic

    Jon, I don’t have these categories coming up under behaviors. I only have Digital activities, Mobile Device User and Travel.
    Any idea why? or how I can get all of them like you share?
    (I’m in Power Editor and although I live in CAN it’s a user advertiser account).

  • Pria Shah

    Where do we get all these options in Behaviors ? I just get 3 – Digital Activities, Mobile device user and Travel.

    • Anoop Sudhakaran

      The update hasn’t reached Indian users. Currently only US advertisers have access to these options.

  • Emeric

    Hey Jon, good one. I’ve been digging partners’ categories lately (now behaviors). For your information, if you are located outside the US, you have access to much fewer categories. And definitely not to the ones you’re mentioning here. even when you target people in the US. That’s really a shame that Facebook gives access to these targeting options based on what country you’re based in and not based on the country you’re targeting…

  • Lisa Salabritas

    Thanks for sharing this, Jon! PCG Digital Marketing has offered this targeting in our social media packages for almost a year and has had great success in reaching in-market shoppers. We have been able to target sales, incentives and branding messages to people who are actually interested in that content. It’s nice to see that others are seeing its value as well.

    One example we’ve done is offered a Visa gift card to those who completed a test drive of a new model and track how many people that brought in. The full case study is here:

    It’s been very interesting to see what ads perform best in certain areas – truck ads always perform incredibly in Texas, whereas it’s much harder to get people to click through on smaller cars.

  • Larissa Hadley

    Really facebook has great refine data for their paid users. Jon you shared really important post for fb marketers ..

  • Saurabh Pandey

    Hello John,

    I have a question for you. In a country like India where people don’t specify these things on facebook. So in that condition how we do behavioral targeting ?

  • Emelie Svedberg

    Hi, I just have these as options:
    Digital activities, Mobile Device Users and Travel.
    Do you know if all this categories you see is limited for some countries? I live in Sweden.

  • junaid ahmed

    Fabulous post! I always find your blog like just written for me. I am following effective social media methods in the right direction just by following your blog. Thank you for sharing such great post and keep up the work.

  • Seb Alexander

    Hi Jon, first off let me say what a fantastic artice. I was actually searching for something else when I came across your site. Facebook targeting is something I’ve only just started getting into. Our own site has a car buying section in it as well as a facebook page so the targeting is a really useful tool.

    Being based in the UK I think some of the functions may differ but overall there is enough sub catgories to be able to narrow the audience down considerably. Our first ‘proper’ advertising campaign should hopefully start next week and I will post the results on here.

    Keep up the good work and will definitly keep reading your posts.


  • jordan

    Hey Jon, great article.. Do you know how long this sort of stuff usually takes to roll out? I’m based in the UK and could really do with this!

  • Betsey

    Hi Jon–great article. It’s great to see this kind of granularity with Facebook ad targeting. I’m confused, though, about if all of this wonderful behavioral targeting can be combined. If you select several options within behavior targeting, do they combine to give you laser-targeted focus? Or will you get people who meet behavior A, people who meet behavior B, and people who meet behavior C, instead of only those people who meet all three criteria?

    Say, for example, I want to reach people who have bought a Dodge pickup truck within the last year. Individually, each of the three targeting points is available in behavior targeting. But when you select all of them, do they combine to give you that ideal customer, or do they give you (A) Dodge owners, (B) pickup truck owners, and (C) automotive owners who have purchased an automobile in the last year? I’m just wondering how detailed all of this can get–being able to combine purchase behaviors would be the diamond in the rough for a lot of marketers.

    • Michael Caporale

      I have wondered this as well, same thing for “interests.”

  • MightyTravels

    Amazing info. I’m guessing there’s a way to spin this to use with all kinds of Facebook advertising!

    Torsten @

  • Terry Mahon

    Anyone have an idea when this will be rolled out to the UK?
    this would be perfect for our client

  • Arul

    Is this not available in India ?

  • Trisha Scarlet
  • FreedomFighter

    wow… can literally target anybody haha

  • Taylor Harrison Gittin

    Hey Jon, awesome article! Although when I opened up power editor, it did not give me the option to target by MODEL…? Did they remove this targeting options/feature? Thanks!