4 New and Upcoming Google Ad Formats for Auto Retail Lead Generation

October 17, 2019

Over the past year, Google has put more resources than ever before into creating new ad formats to give advertisers better ways to reach and capture leads. The new ad formats are more than welcome for dealership marketers looking to increase lead volume, improve lead quality and convert more leads. In this blog, we look at 4 new and upcoming awesome Google ad formats that promise to help auto retailers capture more in-market leads faster.

1. Google Gallery Ads

There are over 120,000 Google searches for new and used cars a month. Google search is often the place car buyers turn to when looking to discover a new vehicle, make a decision about the car that best fits their lifestyle or to find the best deals. 

Google Gallery Ads will bring images to Google search giving auto retailers the chance to showcase their inventory and take up more space in Google search result pages. The ad format will display a swipeable carousel of images at the top of search results in Google. The format also includes a short description and a call to action button that allows advertisers to drive relevant traffic to their website. Google Gallery Ads could be a great way for auto retailers to capture the attention of high-intent buyers and point relevant traffic to their vehicle configuration pages, provide directions to local dealers or offer test drives.  

Currently, Google Gallery Ads are only available to a select list of beta testers. Early beta tests are showing an improvement in click-through rate and a drop in cost per lead.  Google Gallery Ads are expected to be rolled out to advertisers globally on mobile devices later in 2019 with plans to make the format available on desktop later on. If you want a jump-start, start experimenting with Google Gallery Ads ahead of your competitors, gather learnings and see what works best for your dealership.

2. YouTube TrueView for Action Form Ads

Online video is an increasingly popular way for car shoppers to discover vehicles and choose the best fit for their lifestyle. Google found that 75% of car shoppers were influenced by online video in their buying process. What’s more, video content is great for bringing buyers to the dealership with 60% of car buyers saying they visited a local dealership after they watched a video of the vehicle they are interested in.

To make it easier for advertisers to capture leads on YouTube, Google is currently testing a new ad format called YouTube TrueView for Action Form Ads. Similarly to Facebook Lead Ads, YouTube Form Ads will capture leads via a fast-loading, mobile-optimised native form. This means users won’t have to leave the YouTube app to fill a form and advertisers don’t need to create a designated landing page in order to convert leads.  Advertisers will be able to collect lead data such as name, email, address and phone number.

YouTube Form Ads will be available for in-stream ads on the YouTube mobile app and will display via a banner containing a short title and a call to action below your in-stream ad. Once a user clicks on your banner they will be taken directly to a quick pre-filled form. To find out more about what the format will look like and how to set up your first YouTube Form Ad campaign read our blog on how to get started with YouTube Form Ads.

YouTube Form Ads are currently only available to a select list of beta testers and Driftrock is one of the Google partners able to onboard early adopters of the format. If you want to get started with YouTube Form Ads ahead of your competition, apply to join our beta list by clicking the button below.

Join beta list

3. Google Local Ads

Earlier in 2019, Google announced the next generation of local search ads aimed at driving store footfall and offline conversions. Google Local Campaigns are an automated ad format that uses machine learning to automatically optimise bidding, ad placements and asset combinations to optimise for and offline conversions. Local Campaigns are a great way to promote dealership locations across Google Search Network, Google Maps, YouTube and Google Display Network.  

Google is rolling out its Local Campaigns to more advertisers and will be adding new features to help advertisers become more visible exactly at the moment when visitors are searching online even if they don’t have store visits measurement enabled. The new additions will include new inventory in Google Maps that will allow you to promote your locations as Google Maps users are planning or navigating their route as well as Maps search suggestions. For auto retailers, this is a chance to influence car buyers at a critical time in their buyer’s journey. If a car buyer is looking for a dealership in their area on the go that usually signals strong purchasing intent and is a great opportunity for you to promote your best offers. Google reports that early adopters see a median 5x incremental return on ad spend from their business locations with the new improved local campaigns.

To get started with Google Local Campaigns you need to select the dealership locations that you would like to promote. This is easily done by connecting your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account.  To create a Google Local Campaign simply log into your Google Ads account, click on Campaigns to create a new campaign and select Local store visits and promotions. In the next screen, you will be asked to connect to Google My Business to define store locations or use affiliate locations. Visit this Google blog post for more detailed instructions on how to get started with Google Local Campaigns.

4. Google My Business

 Ferrari Mayfair used Google My Business posts to showcase used car inventory with stunning vehicle images.
 Ferrari Mayfair used Google My Business posts to showcase used car inventory with stunning vehicle images.

 Stratstone Aston Martin Mayfair used Google My Business post to promote their Black Friday Used Car Event.
 Stratstone Aston Martin Mayfair used Google My Business post to promote their Black Friday Used Car Event.

Ok, we know Google My Business is not exactly new but its recent updates and new features are worth mentioning.  Google is putting more emphasis on Google My Business listings and signals when ranking local search results which means it is worth creating an account for your dealership if you don’t already have one.

Google My Business is a free tool that lets you control how information about your business appears across Google Search result pages and Google Maps. Apart from helping your dealership’s visibility in search engine result pages, Google My Business can be a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website. Cambria Automotive’s Marketing and CRM Director Ian Godbold shared that his group’s organic traffic grew by 40% after implementing Google My Business listings. 

Apart from providing basic business information such as dealership address, contact number and working hours, Ian and his team used Google My Business’s new features to add inventory images and videos, virtual tours and posts to their dealership accounts. Ian shared that regularly updating the information and images on Google My Business listings helped his group drive more relevant traffic and improved their visibility in search results. Ian also proactively asks customers to leave a Google review through a QR code when taking a hand-over picture with a new buyer.

Google My Business posts are a great way for auto retailers to increase their dealership’s visibility in local search and drive highly relevant traffic to their website. Google My Business posts appear on Google search results alongside your Google My Business listing. Google My Business posts give you a chance to take up more space on search result pages with a visual and attention-grabbing short post containing a call to action button pointing searchers to your website. Creating Google My Business posts has shown to improve search rankings. There are currently four types of Google My Business posts you can create - Update, Event, Offer or Product.

The Update posts are great for announcing a new initiative or exciting offers that are not time-limited. Google gives you the chance to make your post more engaging by adding images and to point users to your website with a designated call to action button. 

The Event post is perfect for raising awareness for any promotional events your dealership is running. You can provide information about when and where your event will take place, add images, write a short description of the event and use a call to action button to point users to an event registration page. In the example below, Dees Ford Croydon used a Google My Business Event post to promote their test drive event for commercial vehicles. 

The Offer post type lets you increase the visibility of your current offers by creating a short visual post that points people to your website offer page. Dees Ford Croydon used Google My Business posts to promote their time-limited discount offer on one of their finance packages.

 Dees Ford Croydon used Google My Business posts to increase visibility of their sales.
 Dees Ford Croydon used Google My Business posts to increase visibility of their sales.

 Dees Ford Croydon used Google My Business Event post to promote their test drive event for commercial vehicles.
 Dees Ford Croydon used Google My Business Event post to promote their test drive event for commercial vehicles.

The Product post essentially showcases your inventory in Google Search Results. Use Product posts to promote specific vehicles in your inventory and provide a short description, price or price range and a call to action pointing searchers to your website.

To boost your lead generation in the coming year make sure you get started with all those new lead generation ad formats ahead of your competition and allow enough time for trial and error.  

Additional Resources

6 Essential Automotive Facebook Ad Campaigns

How to extend CRM strategies to Facebook for Auto Retailers

How to sell vehicles on Facebook Marketplace for Auto Retailers

Ready to get started with your Google Ads campaign?

Get in touch to see how Driftrock can help you run high performing Google Ad campaigns.  

Get in touch