Everything You Need to Know About Vehicle Listing Ads

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vehicle listing ads

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5 Min Read

Discover the dynamic world of vehicle advertising through Google’s Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs). These ads showcase your entire vehicle inventory on platforms like Google, offering crucial details to potential buyers. Benefit from more qualified leads, seamless omnichannel integration, and automated targeting mechanisms. Learn the step-by-step guide to launching successful VLA campaigns, incorporating tips, best practices, and features that enhance your reach.

Explore What is vehicle advertising? and how VLAs contribute to effective online promotions. Discover valuable insights on selling and advertising your car for free using Google Ads, tapping into free car advertising sites and free used car advertising sites.


What are Vehicle Listing Ads?

Google Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs) are a type of dynamic online advertising strategy used by car dealerships to showcase their entire inventory of vehicles on platforms like Google. These ads display images and essential details of vehicles, such as make, model, price, and mileage, providing potential buyers with comprehensive information. The ads appear on Google Search, Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail, targeting users in different stages of the buying process.

The dynamic nature of these ads pulls information directly from the advertiser’s website or free car advertising sites, and when users click on the ad, they are directed to the specific vehicle details page on the website.


Google vehicle listing ads


Essentially, VLAs are like Google Search Ads but with images, designed to enhance the research stage of car buyers and generate qualified leads.



How Does Vehicle Ads Work?

Vehicle ads are a powerful tool for car dealerships and individual sellers to reach potential buyers online. They work in a multi-step process, involving:

1) Data Feed

The advertiser starts by uploading a comprehensive vehicle data feed to Google Merchant Center. The data feed must include pertinent details about each vehicle, such as

Make and Model, Year, Mileage, Trim Level, Color, Features, Price, Photos and Videos. Google matches a customer’s search query with the most relevant cars using these details.

2) Targeting and Bidding

After setting the data feed the advertiser can set targeting parameters like demographics, location, interests, and keywords.

3) Matching and Display

When a user searches for a vehicle online, Google uses the information in the data feed and the user’s search query to match them with relevant ads. The ads are then displayed in various Google properties.

4) Tracking and Optimization

The advertiser can track the performance of their ads through Google Analytics and other tools. Including metrics such as CTR, CPC, and Conversion rate.

Based on this data you can optimize the campaign by adjusting targeting parameters, refining the data feed, and changing the bidding strategy.

Overall, Vehicle listing Ads for sale are a valuable tool for anyone looking to sell their car.


Top Benefits of Vehicle Ads

Auto advertisements help you reach online car shoppers at the appropriate time, providing them with relevant listings and information that will encourage them to make a purchase. Let’s explore key benefits including:

1) More Qualified Leads

Vehicle ads are designed to show customers key information and visuals about a car before they click. This approach helps in providing more qualified leads, as potential buyers have a better understanding of the vehicle’s details upfront.

2) Omnichannel Goals

Vehicle ads contribute to omnichannel goals by optimizing for both online conversions (such as leads) and offline conversions (like store visits). This means that the ads are structured to seamlessly integrate online and offline customer interactions, creating a holistic shopping experience.

3) Automated Targeting

Vehicle ads use automated targeting mechanisms to ensure that the most relevant listings are displayed in response to a user’s search query. This targeted approach enhances the likelihood of capturing the attention of users actively searching for specific types of vehicles.

Overall, to advertise cars for sale it offers a powerful and versatile tool for auto advertisers to reach qualified buyers, optimize their campaigns, and drive sales.



These vehicle ads are tailored for non-commercial passenger vehicles, such as cars or pickup trucks (utes in AU). However, it’s important to note that certain vehicle types are not allowed. Examples include recreational vehicles, commercial vehicles, farm vehicles, buses, 2-wheelers, trains, boats, airplanes, or outdoor utility vehicles.

Currently, these effective vehicle advertising opportunities are available in the US and Canada, with a limited beta in select countries. Maximize your reach and potential buyers by using the specified keywords: advertise car for sale free online and advertise my car for sale online. This ensures that your listing aligns with the platform’s guidelines and attracts the right audience.


How to Get Started with Vehicle Listing Ads?

Vehicle listing ads Google can be a powerful tool for car dealers and individual sellers to reach potential buyers online. To get you started, follow this step-by-step guide:

1) Vehicle ads policies

Before diving in, familiarize yourself with Google’s Vehicle Ads policies. These guidelines ensure your ads are accurate, ethical, and compliant. Including eligible vehicles, prohibited content, Image, and video guidelines.

2) Implementation Guide

Follow Google’s Implementation Guide for Vehicle Listing Ads to set up your accounts and campaigns:

Set up your accounts: Create a Google Merchant Center account and a Google Ads account.

Enable the vehicle ads program: Fill out the form in your Merchant Center to enable the program

Add your business information: Enter your company details and contact information

Create a primary feed: This is your vehicle data feed, containing details like make, model, year, mileage, features, and price.

Register and submit your feed: Upload your feed to Google Merchant Center and keep it updated.

Link your Business Profile and select your location group: Associate your Google My Business profile for local visibility

Create, register, and submit your store feed (Optional): If you have a physical store, create a separate feed for store inventory

Link your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts: Connect your accounts to manage your campaigns

Enable vehicle ads in your Performance Max campaigns: Choose Performance Max campaigns for optimal targeting and bidding

3) Vehicle ads image guidelines

Ensure your images are high-quality and comply with Google’s specifications.

4) Vehicle ads Content API guidelines

If you’re using the Content API to manage your feed, refer to these guidelines.

5) Vehicle ads troubleshooting form

If you encounter any issues, use this form to seek help from Google

6) Enable vehicle ads in your Performance Max campaign

Once you’ve completed the setup, activate Vehicle Ads within your Performance Max campaigns in Google Ads. This will activate Google’s AI to optimize your ad placements and bidding for maximum reach and conversions.

By following these steps and utilizing the provided resources, you can confidently launch your vehicle listing ad campaign and reach potential buyers effectively.



Google Vehicle Ads Tips And Best Practices

Google Vehicle listing Ads help boost your conversions and visibility on the Google search engine result page. To ensure success must follow these best tips and practices:

1) Track meaningful action: Don’t just count clicks! Track things like phone calls, email leads, or website visits from your car pages. This shows you who’s interested.

2) Budget for success: Figure out how much you can afford to spend on ads each month, then set your budget. Google can even help manage it for you.

3) Optimize your inventory feeds: Fill in all the details about your cars, like make, model, year, and features. Add awesome photos and videos from different angles!

4) Take control of your campaign structure: Group similar cars together in different ad groups, like “used trucks under $20,000.” This makes it easier to target the right buyers

5) Own the SERP with both vehicle ads and search ads: Don’t just use Vehicle Ads! Run regular search ads too, with keywords related to cars. This increases your chances of being noticed.

6) Focus on mobile optimization: Most car searches happen on mobile devices. To ensure a flawless user experience, make sure your landing pages and advertisements are optimized for mobile.

7) Retarget website visitors: Use remarketing campaigns to reach users who have already shown interest in your vehicles

8) Monitor and analyze: Regularly review your campaign performance and make adjustments as needed based on data insights.

By following these best practices and continuously testing and optimizing your campaigns, you can maximize the effectiveness of your Google Vehicle Ads and reach more qualified buyers, leading to increased conversions and sales.


Features of Google Vehicle Listing Ads

Here are the key features that make Google Vehicle Listing Ads an attractive option for auto advertisers. Here’s a breakdown of each point:

Seamless inventory-based advertising

1) Effortless feed management: Connect your Google Merchant Center inventory with your Google Ads account and the Vehicle Listing Ads system automatically pulls your entire vehicle stock, saving you time and manual effort.

2) Real-time updates: Any changes to your inventory (sold vehicles, new additions) are reflected promptly on the ad platform, ensuring accurate and relevant information for consumers.

3) Dynamic ad creation: Based on your feed data, Google generates tailored ads for each vehicle, showcasing key details like make, model, year, price, and mileage.

Stay at the top of the search and top of the mind

1) Prominent placement: Vehicle Listing Ads appear in dedicated car shopping sections on Google search results, Google Maps, and other partner websites, putting your vehicles right in front of potential buyers at the crucial research stage.

2) Visual appeal: High-quality images and key vehicle information displayed directly in the ad format grab attention and entice users to click through.

3) Strong branding association: By showcasing your dealership information alongside your vehicles, you build brand awareness and encourage repeat business.

Highly optimized average cost-per-click

1) Automated bidding: Google’s machine learning algorithms analyze user behavior and market trends to dynamically set bids for each ad, optimizing your budget and targeting relevant leads.

2) Performance focus: Vehicle Listing Ads prioritize conversions (e.g., website visits, contact form submissions) over mere clicks, driving more qualified leads for your dealership.

3) Scalability and control: Set budget caps and adjust campaign settings to control your spending while maximizing reach and return on investment.


How to Maximize Google Vehicle Listing Ads

Now that we know what Google Listing Ads are and how to set up a Google vehicle listing ads account, here are the actionable tips to hack sales through VLAs:

1. Configure your account

As basic as it may sound, configuring your Google Ads account correctly is the first step to making successful vehicle listing ads. This includes connecting your vehicle inventory data with Google Merchant Center.

What is Google Merchant Center? Google merchant center is where online sellers upload all their product details to manage and monitor their business on Google. It is a single-point dashboard that enables digital merchants to access millions of buyers worldwide.

Coming back to the vehicle inventory data- car details like model, mileage, price, and other necessary information should be well-displayed. You will also have to verify your website and your local Google profile, following which you will be one step closer to running ads.

2. Check and recheck new requirements

Since Google VLA ads are still in their beta phase, you will constantly have to keep an eye out for new additions or subtractions in the format. The best way to do this is to look at your Google ads account daily and meet the requirements. It could mean losing out on potential conversions and target achievements.

3. Set your keywords right

Keywords are what connect your merchandise with a potential customer. Therefore, make sure that you have an extensive list of relevant keywords. And while you are at it, create a list of negative keywords. You would want to avoid a customer looking for toys to click on your ad while you end up paying Google for the click.


Set your keywords right


Make the location of your keyword specific. This will allow locals to visit your car dealership and personally have a look and feel of the car they are interested in. Also, ensure all the relevant keywords are mentioned in the title, body copy, meta description, image alt text, URL, and other places.

4. Bid on competitor keywords

The online world is highly competitive, and for your Google VLA ads to stand out, you need to bid on competitors’ keywords with a compelling ad copy.

Be mindful of the rules, including not saying anything negative against your competition or using their name in your ad copy.

5. Use actual images

While stock images are an easier option, your customers have probably researched enough to recognize them in one go. A buyer looking for a specific car model must have already seen the stock photos, so you must put up real inventory images.

However, we understand that getting high-impact car inventory images is expensive and time-consuming. It involves hiring a professional photographer, creating studio-like production, and editing the output to match industry standards.

We have a super convenient solution for you!

We recommend using Spyne.ai to create high-quality studio-like inventory images with artificial intelligence. Anyone can shoot car images with a smartphone through their AI camera for professional output. The AI image editor then edits the pictures with a few clicks, changing the normal background to a studio backdrop, refining the shadow, editing window reflections & tints, transforming the floor, masking the number plate, and more.



Follow the Google ad page guidelines and upload the specific image size to come up in searches, and don’t forget to mention the relevant keywords in the image alt text section.

Bonus tip: Dealerships should also bring variety in how they present their inventory before online buyers. We recommend using 360-degree view images and vehicle walkaround videos to showcase your cars.

6. Get reviews

Get your customers talking about you. Good reviews go a long way in establishing your business and boosting your ad campaigns.

According to a report by G2, ninety-five percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. That is a significant number, so getting reviews from new or existing customers is key to running successful vehicle listing ads.

7. Target the right demographic

Specific ads for specific people will get more hits than ads that are not targeted. Suppose you have offers on cars for college graduates or have features in your vehicles for elderly customers; then your ad copies should mention that.

For example, All Our Cars Come With Special Massage Seats For Seniors | XYZ Car Dealership. Your being specific makes the job easier for Google and more profitable for you.

8. Keep your landing pages in order

Direct your potential customer to the specific product landing page he wants to go to. A slight deviation, even in the product’s color, may compel them to leave. So, it always pays to show what you have.


Landing Review and Page


Always be fully alert of your inventory and check the changes in the Google Merchant Center.

9. Make phone calls or make shoppers call you

Communication is key. Make your customers see your phone number and dial you up. It is the fastest way to get a sale. If the potential customer becomes a lead, call them, ask about their preferences, and pitch them your product.

A call button on the product display page or your number on the ad you show will work in your favor.


How do I Sell And Advertise My Car for Free Using Google Ads?

Almost all car-buying journeys begin with a search on Google. That is where you need your car classified ads to show up. Follow these steps to sell your car via Google ads.

  1. Set up your Google ads account for your car dealership
  2. Set your keyword list
  3. Select your location—the place where you will be targeting customers.
  4. Create compelling ad copies. This is for text ads that will be displayed on Google SERP.
  5. Bid for keywords. This includes the competition’s keywords as well.


Final Words

Google’s Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs) is your ticket to success in online car sales. This guide has laid out the steps for effective campaigns, helping you attract the right buyers and boost sales. With VLAs, you’ll gain more qualified leads, seamless ad integration, and automated targeting, all contributing to a smoother selling experience. By understanding these tools and their benefits, you’re equipped to navigate the world of online car advertising, ensuring your cars get noticed and sold efficiently. Get ready to rev up your sales and make your mark in the competitive car market with Google Ads!



  • Q. How can I advertise my car on Google?

    You can advertise your car on Google with the help of Google VLA. You will have to create Smart shopping Campaigns on Google Ads and link this with your Merchant Centre account and Google Business Profile. A store feed option is also available if you don’t have a Business Profile. 

  • Q. What are vehicle listing ads?

    It is an ad format supported on Google that includes an image of the vehicle, its make, model, name of the advertiser, price, and miles. These vehicle ads allow auto advertisers to promote their vehicle inventory to potential customers through Google. 

  • Q. How do you write a good car ad?

    A well-crafted ad can help you attract the best buyers and earn higher profits. Here are some guidelines you can follow to write a good car ad:

    • Be honest, and provide records if possible.
    • Keep the ad respect]cful, and make use of commonly searched terms.
    • Show reviews of the car from experts and highlight its positives.
    • Present your car in the best light with high-quality images.

  • Q. Who is the target audience for car ads?

    The ads should target customers who are actively searching for automobiles to buy. They are in the market to make a purchase. They will visit auto-related sites, check dealerships online, read their reviews, and compare prices on various sites. 

  • Q. What are ads on vehicles called?

    Ads on vehicles are known as wrap advertising or vehicle wrap advertising.

  • Q. How do you write a good ad to sell a car?

    To write an effective classified car ad here are the top 4 tips including: 

    1) Write a detailed description

    2) Mention the asking price

    3) Explain the reason for selling a car 

    4) Highlight good gas mileage

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Young, enthusiastic, and curious are the three words that describe Spyne’s content team perfectly. We take pride in our work - doing extensive research, engaging with industry experts, burning the midnight oil, etc. Every word we write is aimed at solving our readers’ problems.

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