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Car Dealership Advertising – How Google AdWords Can Help

31 Mar, 2017 McKell Naegle

Dealership Listing Ad’s & Visual Sitelinks (in beta)

The car dealership advertising industry is going through some real changes that go beyond just one dealership and just one brand. For one, its consumer base is searching differently than ever before. According to Google’s Internal Data for 2016 (illustration below), we can see that almost three out of four searches related to car needs are done on Google’s search engine.


This goes beyond just the service center as the entire car buying experience has moved online, according to Google. Our lives have certainly become busier, and with that in mind, there are businesses that adapt to it – and those that don’t.

Take home movies for example: Instead of going to a store like Blockbuster to rent movies, consumers chose the comfort of their home with Netflix. For auto insurance, you used to go into an office or call an agent. Now, people are going online for their auto quotes; or even quicker, they are comparing auto insurances all at once with websites that offer such information.

Still, the transition from everything being done in person to online in the auto industry will take a bit longer to change than movies or auto insurance. However, there is certainly progress already being made today for the automotive industry to use with some of the features that Google AdWords allows, if we pay attention.

Let’s say I’m an auto dealer that wants to advertise my dealership and the vehicles in real time, not later when they are doing other stuff online. When you want to engage those in need of a new or used car, to “come on down,” give you a call or whatever you can do to get them inside the vehicle, you use internet marketing to find them in the right moment. Let’s take a look at a couple examples of campaigns we could run on AdWords:

Display & Video Ads

They’re visually appealing, and give you the opportunity to advertise your brand and the different types of vehicles you offer. The problem lies in the “timing” of these ads. They aren’t in real time, but rather while the person is doing something else. For instance, image ads on Display Network might show up at times when someone is reading a new article, blog or whatever it may be relating to auto. Videos act the same, but for someone watching something totally unrelated to auto.

We could always do re-marketing ads which reinforce those images or videos the individual may have seen, but it’ll be those who have already seen your brand and website.

The question arises, “How do I capture a real-time audience beyond just a typical text ad?” The partial solution is: a very well optimized text ad with all the extensions you could slap on. This is generally a great approach and still is, but what if you can go beyond that and have your ad be even easier to find and create a higher intention for the searcher to visit your location?

Well, (insert cheesy car sales tactic here), you’re in luck, because Google offers something called Dealership Listing Ads, or DLAs for short.



The focus on this type of ad is to promote car dealers that focus on brand specific vehicle inventory by showing searchers the proximity of the dealership, which in turn creates a higher intention to visit the dealer in the first place.

For instance, searching for “Toyota Corolla Dealers” gives me the page results you see on the left.

Car ads for dealers get 25-30 percent higher click through rate (CTR) than standard text ads targeting similar queries.

The requirements are:
• Target relevant queries
• Be eligible to show on mobile devices
• Have necessary trademark authorization
• Have location extensions enabled

DLAs solve the problem of a basic text ad with a more user-focused search result, which shows more promise of action being done on the user end, i.e. visit, call, etc. In addition, the format alone is more eye-catching due to its increase in “digital real estate” than a general horizontal text ad.


Visual Sitelinks

But let’s say your focus isn’t necessarily brand focused but you still want to have the same effect of differentiating yourself from the competition that is sticking with the ad types mentioned above.


There is another recent beta testing extension out there for only whitelisted, or specialized, accounts.

Before you begin thinking, “Great, all this build up to only be disappointed,” I’m here to bring the good news.

Navigate to the “Labs” tab in AdWords, to find the “Visual Sitelinks” option. If you can’t locate it, you can always contact Google AdWords to see if you can be added to the whitelist, which shouldn’t be an issue in most cases.

The beauty of these newly released ad type is that it addresses the issue we wanted to solve from the beginning: Having visually impactful ads but in real-time that the searcher is looking for.



As you can see in this mobile view of a search, you’ll no longer see just an ad for a car dealership with simple text, but you’ll be enticed by the image and, if advertiser wishes to do so, a price mention in the text below the image.

Now, imagine having your dealership advertising your vehicles while the user is looking in “real time.” This, like the above-mentioned DLA ad, will result in higher CTRs and ultimately more bodies in more seats at your dealership.

We wanted a more targeted audience while at the same time delivering on the visuals that a vehicle demands, and we have it with the new Google AdWords Visual Sitelinks.

Here at Fluid Advertising, we know “new” is great and when utilized correctly, it’s even better. Whether it’s DLAs for your car dealership and standing out from the other guys by means of brand and location proximity awareness, or having a nice layout of visual sitelinks to promote certain vehicles with visual sitelinks – we are here to provide you with the latest and greatest features that Google AdWords gives us, and in return we give you the edge on all your online campaigns you do with us. Contact Us

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