Google introduces new vehicle ad format

Google is giving automotive advertisers a new tool to power their marketing efforts in the form of a custom vehicle sales ad unit.

When people search for cars for sale, this new ad format shows nearby vehicles for sale.

The shift in online consumer behavior has transformed over the past two years.

Not only are more and more people turning to the web to find their next car, they are also making vehicle purchases online.

A Google study reveals 89% of new car buyers researched their new vehicle online.

In 2021, 16% of new car buyers bought their car online, up from just 1% three years ago.

Every industry must meet the growing consumer expectations for online shopping, even the automotive industry.

The vehicle ad experience

When a user searches for cars for sale, they have the option of buying or having the vehicle delivered.

The ad format displays specific images and inventory information, including:

  • Location
  • Brand and model
  • Price
  • Model

If a user clicks on the vehicle ad, they are redirected to the description page on a dealership’s website.

From there, they can get the dealer’s contact details to get them closer to their purchase.

Image credit:, March 2022

How to start

Currently, car dealerships in the United States can advertise vehicles.

The format of vehicle ads does not automatically appear in your account. You should contact Google if you are interested.

If you want to get started with vehicle listings, the first step is to create a vehicle inventory feed. The inventory feed must be connected to Google Merchant Center.

Once your feed has been created and imported, your Google Ads account must be connected to:

  • Google Merchant Center
  • Google Business Profile

Smart Shopping campaigns are required to show vehicle ads. You can’t run vehicle ads in standard Shopping campaigns.

Additional requirements

If you are a car dealership, you can participate in vehicle ads. Vehicle ads are not allowed for:

  • Private sellers
  • Individual sellers
  • Automotive Brokers

Vehicle listings are only permitted for non-commercial passenger vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, etc.). Vehicles that are not allowed for vehicle listings are:

  • Recreational vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Agricultural vehicles
  • The buses
  • 2 wheels
  • The trains
  • Boats
  • planes
  • Any outdoor utility vehicle

Finally, you cannot activate another Google Merchant Center program if you want to run vehicle ads.

Benefits of Vehicle Ads

Vehicle ads are meant to be more targeted at the bottom of the funnel for users. These users have a higher purchase intent and bring them closer to a final purchase.

Google beta-tested vehicle ads with select advertisers before releasing them to the public. Advertisers touted the benefits, including a 25% increase in conversions.

The main benefits of Google listings for vehicle listings include

  • More qualified leads by showing more information before a user clicks
  • Omnichannel conversions (online and offline)
  • Increased exposure alongside your text ads

The final benefit of Google listings is automated targeting. Depending on your view of automated targeting with Smart Shopping, you may be reluctant to try them. Vehicle ads would still be worth testing to see if they provide an additional boost.

Source: google

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