Google Introduces New Vehicle Ads Format

Google is offering advertisers in the automotive industry a new tool to boost their marketing efforts in the form of an ad unit optimized for vehicle sales.

When people search for cars for sale, this new ad format shows vehicles to shop around.

Online consumer behavior has changed over the past two years.

People are not only turning to the web to find their next car, but they are also making vehicle purchases online.

A Google study found 89% New car buyers research their new vehicle online.

In 2021, 16% New car buyers bought their cars online, up from only 1% three years ago.

Every industry needs to keep up with the rising expectations of consumers to shop online, even the automotive industry.

vehicle advertising experience

When a user searches for cars for sale, they get options to buy or have the vehicle delivered.

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

  • Location
  • make and model
  • cost
  • Sample

If a user clicks on the vehicle advertisement, they are taken to the details page on the dealer’s website.

From there they are able to retrieve dealer contact information to move them closer to their purchases.

An example of vehicle search ads on Google.Image credit:, March 2022

how to get started

Currently, auto dealerships in the United States are eligible to use vehicle ads.

The vehicle ad format is not automatically displayed on your account. If you are interested you will have to contact google.

If you’re interested in getting started with vehicle ads, the first step is to create a vehicle inventory feed. The inventory feed must be connected to the Google Merchant Center.

Once your feed is created and uploaded, your Google Ads account must be linked to:

  • google merchant center
  • Google Business Profile

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

additional requirements

If you are an auto dealer, you are eligible to participate in vehicle advertisements. Vehicle ads are not allowed for:

  • private seller
  • individual seller
  • auto broker

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

  • recreational vehicles
  • commercial vehicles
  • agricultural vehicle
  • buses
  • 2-wheeler
  • trains
  • boats
  • airplane
  • any outdoor utility vehicle

Lastly, you will not be able to enable another Google Merchant Center program if you want to run vehicle ads.

Benefits of vehicle advertisements

Vehicle ads are more of a lower level of funnel targeting to users. These users have a higher purchase intent and get closer to making the final purchase less.

Google is beta testing vehicle ads with a few advertisers before rolling them out to the public. Advertisers have touted the benefits, including a 25% increase in conversions.

Key benefits of Google Listing for vehicle ads include

  • More qualified leads by showing more information before the user clicks
  • Omnichannel Conversions (Online & Offline)
  • Increased exposure alongside your text ads

The ultimate advantage of Google Lists is automatic targeting. Depending on your approach to automated targeting with Smart Shopping, you may be eager to try them. Vehicle ads would still be worth testing to determine if they provide incremental lift.

Source, Google

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