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Google Vehicle Ads: Is Your Dealership Ready?

23rd February 2024

The last decade has certainly seen some changes and challenges in the automotive industry. Perhaps the largest shift is in the way that consumer car buying behaviour has evolved – with stats as high as 94% of car buyers saying their purchase journey includes researching online. The motor trade has had to adopt a digital-first mindset, ensuring they have a professional online presence that includes an expertly designed website, offering customers digital documents and presentation videos, and advertising their vehicles on various online platforms.

Google has clearly paid attention to the automotive market in recent years and is now set to launch a new ad format on its search engine to benefit car dealers, displaying nearby vehicles for sale to online car buyers. Google Vehicle Ads has been available in the USA for the past two years and is set to be launched here in the UK during 2024, with Google expected to reveal more information in the coming months.

Dragon2000 Ready For Google Vehicle Ads

Google Vehicle Ads in the UK – What are they?

The aim of Google Vehicle Ads is driving sales by optimising both online and offline conversions through website lead generation and physical visits to the showroom.

The new feature is designed to present vehicle adverts and dealer information to prospective customers when the vehicle they’re searching for is available nearby, and to also enrich the car buying experience for the consumer whilst providing dealers with qualified leads.

The format is basically the same as for other types of products in shopping channels, where it will display the car details at the top of the search.

For example, if someone searches for a 2019 SUV, they’ll be presented with several vehicle ads that they can either buy nearby or have delivered to them. The advert format includes photos, the dealer’s location and the main vehicle information such as make, model, price and mileage, and clicking on an advert will lead to the vehicle details page on the car dealer’s website.

Once on the car dealer website, prospective customers can get more information on that particular vehicle and carry out such actions as filling out a lead capture form, obtaining the dealer’s contact information to perhaps call or visit in person, or if the dealer’s website has the functionality, make card payment deposits to reserve the vehicle online – at any time of the day or night.

What are the key benefits for Car Dealers using Google Vehicle Ads?

Google say that their new Vehicle Ads will help dealers get in front of car buyers shopping online at the right moment, with the relevant listings and information to encourage them to move closer to a purchase. Key benefits include:

Increased Reach – appearing along with sponsored ads at the top of the search results, increasing the chances of grabbing the attention of the car buyer searching for vehicles like yours.

More Qualified Leads – by serving up adverts which show the important vehicle information, you’re more likely to attract quality leads from interested buyers.

Omnichannel Goals – two distinct goals of driving traffic and leads to dealers’ websites while also encouraging offline contact and visits to the dealers’ showrooms.

Automated Targeting – only the most relevant listings are shown that relate to the user’s search query, so there is already going to be buyer interest.

Google Vehicle Ads Benefits For Dragon2000 Car Dealers

Are there any rules / restrictions in using Google Vehicle Ads?

Dealers must have a physical business premises that customers can visit in person, which is used as the location on the adverts. Google will require verification of this and the business details before allowing dealers to participate in the Google Vehicle Ads UK program.

Vehicle Ads support new and used car inventory from dealers – but Google say that ads must be for non-commercial passenger vehicles, and ads from private sellers or car brokers will not be permitted. Vehicle types such as motorhomes, motorcycles, race cars, farm vehicles and buses will also not be allowed.

Lease or rental offers, vehicle auctions and auction pricing, vehicle parts, accessories, tyres and services are also not supported by Google Vehicle Ads.

Are there any image guidelines for Google Vehicle Ads?

The recommended aspect ratio is 4:3 and overlaid watermarks, superimposed logos or text and placeholder images will be rejected. If the image has a logo or branding in the background (such as dealership signage etc) or a cluttered background, Google may also use technical solutions such as background blur and auto-cropping to make images more consistent with their guidelines.

Google Vehicle Ads – How do Dealers get started?

Below is a brief guide to the onboarding steps required by Google to use Google Vehicle Ads. Google have comprehensive guides for each step on their Google Merchant Centre Help support website.

Step 1 – Set up a Merchant Centre account, a Google Ads account, and a Google Business Profile
Step 2 – Enable the Vehicle Ads program
Step 3 – Add your business information
Step 4 – Create, register and submit your feeds
Step 5 – Link your Google Business Profile and select your location group
Step 6 – Complete website policy review
Step 7 – Set up Google Ads for Vehicle Ads and create a Performance Max Campaign

How do the new Google Vehicle Ads work?

The dealers’ vehicle data feed is uploaded to the Merchant Centre, which includes the main details about the vehicle including make, model, price, mileage, colour and more, which Google uses to match a prospective customer’s search to the most relevant cars.

Google say that in order to use Google Vehicle Ads, dealers must create Performance Max campaigns with vehicle feeds on Google Ads, which are powered by Google AI, and is a cross-channel performance-focused format designed to help drive vehicle sales for dealers.

The cost of running a campaign via Google Vehicle Ads is controlled by the dealer setting an individual daily budget or a custom budget. On publishing the campaign, it may take up to 48 hours for the vehicle adverts to begin displaying, and Google recommend that dealers wait a couple of weeks for the campaign to fully ramp up, and to run it for 4-6 weeks to collect enough data to compare performance.

How can Dragon2000 help with Google Vehicle Ads for UK Dealers?

As a well-established dealer management system and website provider, we are well versed in feeding data to online advertisers, so we are gearing up for the UK roll-out of Google Vehicle Ads and will be able to provide users of our Dragon2000-built websites with a feed of their stock.

Our websites are fully optimised for mobile and desktop and have all the key stock information that will be required for Google Vehicle Ads.

We will keep you updated on Google Vehicle Ads once a launch date has been confirmed by Google.



We have been helping dealers and garages drive their businesses forward since 1995. Contact our sales team today by calling 01327 222 333 or emailing sales@dragon2000.co.uk to find out how our dealer management system, car dealer websites and mobile apps can help your business increase profits and reduce costs.

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