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Automating Google’s New Vehicle Ads: Unlocking your Strategy at Scale

Google announced at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in March a new campaign type for dealerships to advertise vehicles for sale: the vehicle ad (VA). Dealers need to fulfill certain prerequisites before launching VAs. Here’s how to prepare, plus how to get the most out of Google’s newest ad type through automation.

What we’ll cover

  • Vehicle ads, explained
  • VA prerequisites
  • Why you should automate VAs
  • Next steps for automotive dealers

What Are Vehicle Ads?

Google introduced VAs (formerly called vehicle listing ads, or VLAs) to increase lead volume and improve lead quality for vehicle advertisements. Any companies that sell automotive or power sports vehicles can use this type of campaign.

VAs show potential customers ads for nearby cars on sale, helping dealers reach buyers more easily. Once someone clicks on a VA, the ad will direct them to the vehicle description page on your website. Here, you can show a lead or contact form, or allow for direct purchasing and delivery.

According to Google, 89% of new car buyers research online before purchasing. In 2021, a record 16% actually purchased a car online. VAs enable this shift. 

Prerequisites for Using Google’s Vehicle Ads

Take the following steps before using VAs:

  1. Create accounts for each of the following: Google Ads, Google My Business, Google Merchant Center
  2. Whitelist your Google Merchant Center account: Fill out Google’s VA onboarding form to do this
  3. Activate the Vehicle Ads program in Merchant Center: From the Merchant Center programs page, activate the Vehicle Ads program and select your country.
  4. Link your Google Ads, Google Merchant Center, and Google My Business Accounts with one another
  5. Add your contact information to the Inventory Verification Contact section in the LIA program settings
  6. Make sure you’ve entered all the right data for each of your products: Otherwise, Google may disapprove of the product for a VA
  7. Verify your website and business: Google manually approves feeds for storefronts with less than five clients with approved products. After that, they deem you a trusted partner with automatic VA feed approval.

Google requires a business to have certain prerequisites before launching VAs:

Why You Should Automate Vehicle Ads with Fluency

The VA format is not designed with scalability in mind. Fluency’s RPA4A—robotic process automation for advertising—fills that gap. With Fluency, dealers can scale VAs for large portfolios.

Once you have your prerequisites in order, Fluency can help you automate the VA process. Simply link your Google Merchant Center account to the Fluency platform. Then, supply Fluency with two things:

  • An inventory feed (add it as a polling source)
  • Your Google “Store Code” (you can find this in the Google My Business)

Note: Fluency uses your store code from Google My Business to automatically input your feeds.

Dan Sonneborn, Director of Product Strategy at Fluency, says about the software,“By enabling vehicle ads campaigns to be managed at scale, we allow our customers to focus on strategy rather than the execution of deploying VAs manually.”

Through automation, Fluency facilitates VA setup and maintenance. The platform combines existing vehicle feeds, Google My Business locations, data, and assets into the Google Merchant Center. This allows Fluency to create Google Smart Shopping Campaigns based on your strategy.

Next Steps for Dealers

Once you’ve completed all the prerequisites for vehicle ads, Google will approve the storefront and products in Merchant Center.

Finally, sync your data into Fluency so you can scale with automation. Fluency can launch Smart Shopping campaigns by utilizing Blueprints, so there’s no need to create them directly in Google.Determine your campaign settings, set your budget and conversion goals, and launch your product groups. Contact Fluency to get started with vehicle ads and make your presence as a go-to dealership known.