Google’s used car Vehicle Ads format could launch in the UK later this year

  • Google confirms Vehicle Ads are coming to the UK later this year
  • In a Car Dealer Live keynote session (clip above), Google reveals its plans
  • Advertising format will serve up used car advert directly in search results 

Time 12:38 pm, April 12, 2023

Google’s automotive industry manager has revealed its Vehicle Ads format could launch in the UK later this year.

Speaking at Car Dealer Live, Google UK’s Ben Gault said the new advertising solution that has been rolled out in markets across the world is coming to the UK ‘soon’.

Already launched in America, Canada and Australia, the format allows the advertising giant to surface individual car dealer vehicle listings in its search results.

The format works in the same way as it does for other products in shopping channels, displaying details about the cars at the top of searches.

The ads will not be served to Google by the likes of Auto Trader or other advertising marketplaces, but instead a feed will be taken directly from a car dealer’s website.

In a keynote session at Car Dealer Live – a clip of which you can watch on video above – Gault explains how the advertising solution will work.

He said: ‘[Vehicle Ads] are coming. It’s been a long time in coming, but hopefully towards the end of the year we will have an update on that particular product. 

‘They have been very successful within the other markets, by and large, where they have launched. 

‘Very simply we will be able to surface [used car] results on the Google search that is getting real time promotions to inventory that is in stock now.

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‘It’s dynamic and it’s providing a much more real time nuanced feature that will compliment traditional text PPC ads.’

Launching the ad format in the US last year, Google’s Lissette Gole said they came about as a result of the ‘shift in car buying’.

Gole said: ‘People no longer spend a whole day going from dealership to dealership.

‘Now most car research happens online and even purchases are starting to head in that direction. 

‘There’s more opportunity for dealerships to get online to connect with potential car buyers. Vehicle Ads help connect buyers to dealerships, making it easy for people to see at-a-glance information that they need.’ 

When the format launched, bloggers rumoured that Google was planning to sell cars directly to consumers, but as the format has launched it has become clear it is more of a way of surfacing used car stock directly from dealers.

At Car Dealer Live, Gault added: ‘This product will allow another touch point and most importantly meet the consumer needs and expectations because obviously they expect this kind of format because they see it in their other types of purchase decisions. 

‘They are shopping ads and auto is just coming into that journey.’

Gault said dealers will be able to provide a feed of their stock, just as they already do for other advertising platforms, and Google will serve those to searching consumers.

‘It has taken time for it to come to fruition in Europe,’ added Gault.

‘That is effectively down to our operations within EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa region) and the regulation that is particularly under scrutiny within that shopping-based product.’

In his keynote session at Car Dealer Live, Gault also spoke in depth about how the used car buying journey had changed for consumers.

He explained why the search giant now thinks the omnichannel buying journey, rather than pure digital, is how the industry will develop in years to come.

You can watch the full keynote session and all the others from the day with a replay ticket for Car Dealer Live 2023. They can be purchased on the dedicated website and will give you instant access to the research papers and the videos of each session.

Google will also be returning for another keynote session at next year’s Car Dealer Live being held on March 7, 2024. Early bird tickets are on sale now.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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