Setting Up Google Vehicle Listing Ads and Maximizing Sales

vehicle listing ads

Table of Contents

5 Min Read

Is your physical car dealership not bringing the sales numbers you desire? Then it is time to set up shop on Google. Google is the world’s most trusted source of information, and if your car dealership is on Google, it has a greater chance of being relayed to a much larger audience. So, how do you do that? By Google Vehicle Listing Ads.

Vehicle Listing Ads on Google allow you to showcase your vehicles to interested customers looking to buy a car on Google. VLA ads improve your customer’s experience and, in turn, provide you with quality leads. First, let’s understand the basics.


What are Vehicle Listing Ads?

Vehicle listing ads are an ad format that focuses on performance and allows the advertiser to promote their vehicle inventory online on Google to customers who are looking to purchase a vehicle. They help your listing appear in front of the right person at the right time with relevant information, helping you secure qualified leads.

What are Google vehicle listing ads?

Google Vehicle Listing Ads is an ad format through which car dealerships can advertise and promote their vehicle inventory to potential customers. These show up as paid promotions on Google Search Results. On Google VLA ads, customers are shown a vehicle image with essential details like the make, model, price, mileage, and the advertiser’s name. Google Ads help in bringing quality leads and improving customer experience.

How do these ads help car sellers? The user who searches for a specific car model is served with the following options through VLA Google ads:

  1. Car options available for sale in proximity
  2. Information like the model, location, mileage, price, pictures, and inventory
  3. Vehicle display page access to fill out the lead form and get the dealership’s contact details.

In either case, dealerships can use this opportunity wisely to sell their car online or get the sales team into action.


Benefits of Google Vehicle Ads Program

Vehicle ads can put you in front of car buyers at the right time. The vehicle listings displayed will be relevant to their searches, increasing the chances of a sale. Let’s look at some of the key benefits of Google Vehicle Ads:

  • More qualified leads: With relevant information and high-quality visuals displayed to users, it helps you generate qualified leads.
  • Omnichannel goals: Vehicle ads enable you to optimize both online and offline conversions.
  • Automated targeting: With vehicle ads, the most relevant listing is automatically displayed to the user.
  • Increased exposure: They appear alongside the text ads on google, increasing traffic to your virtual showroom.


Setting Up Google Vehicle Listing Ads

To display your vehicle ads on Google, you will have to provide information about your business, dealership, and vehicles.

Step 1: Set up all necessary Google accounts

To get started with your automobile ads on Google, you’ll first need to set up accounts on Google Merchant Center, Google Ads, and Google Business. After setting them up, you’ll have to link these three accounts together. To do that, go into your Google Merchant profile and connect the other two accounts here. Once that is done, you’d need to enable the vehicle ads program.

Step 2: Set up a primary feed

The next step is to set up a primary feed, which is a detailed list of your entire vehicle inventory, which includes details like the product category, title, VIN, links to the vehicle images, etc. This needs to be submitted as a delimited text file or an XML file. You can also submit your primary feed through API.

For every new feed, you’ll have to complete a registration on your Merchant account. The feed also consists of price details, available deals, discounts, etc., on your listed cars. Keeping your primary feed updated on Google is also essential so that your ads always show the latest info. The recommended frequency for updates is once every month.

Step 3: Planning your adverts

While running vehicle ads on Google, it’s essential to do it correctly, so you don’t waste your time and money. Pick a catchy headline to draw attention and sell your product or service. After that, come up with an attractive description that will capture the readers’ attention. When planning your car advertisement, consider what you want people to take away from them.

For example, are you advertising a car sale? Or your dealership? So on. Be sure to include a link to your website (via CTA or a direct link), so that potential customers can learn more about what your business has in store. Lastly, ensure your adverts are responsive and look good on all devices- smartphones, desktops, etc.

Step 4: Choose a geographical area to target

When it comes to car advertising, it’s critical to choose the right location to target. Google Ads location targeting allows you to choose the geography in which your ad will run, be it a country or a specific ZIP code.

For your car retail business, you must identify your target market before setting up a car advertisement. Only target your ads in the areas you can cover. Any potential buyer you find outside your coverage area would turn away if you cannot fulfill a sale.

Step 5: Setting up your budget

You can set up daily budgets for individual ad campaigns on Google. It’s crucial to set up your budget carefully, even consult with an expert if necessary, before starting. Also, note that Google optimizes your expenditure to account for consumer behavior.

On days when the system predicts better ROI for your ads, your budget would exceed your average budget and vice versa. However, it will never cross your daily and monthly spending limit (two times and 30.4 times your average daily budget, respectively).

Step 6: Tracking and optimizing your car advertisements

It’s always smart to keep track of your investments. Keep checking the relevant metrics of your ads to know how they’re performing and then optimize them accordingly.

Interestingly, you don’t have to be a data or marketing expert to do that; Google gives you automated recommendations based on performance history, your campaign settings, trends, and more. Simply check out these recommendations and apply them if they seem useful.


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.

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.

But 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 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.

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 My Car Using Google Ads?

Almost all car-buying journeys begin with a search on Google. That is where you need your vehicle 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.



Google vehicle ads are a crucial part of any online marketing strategy. Following this step-by-step guide, you can create effective and profitable ads to help your business reach new customers. Remember to set up all your accounts – Google Merchant Centre, Google Ads, and Google business – before starting your campaign so that everything is in order when you go live.


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  • 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. 

Written by

Team Spyne

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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