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First Look At Google Adwords Dynamic Ads For Dealer Inventory

Last month I wrote an article on ADM about a new announcement from Google that will give dealers who manage their own Adwords campaigns a big boost in relevant ad building tools.   (See Google Disrupts The Market With Dynamic Ads For In Stock Vehicles)

Dealers who outsource their Adwords management have more options if they want to implement inventory based advertising, which has proven to be very efficient when setup properly.  

So, I have created a few screen shots on how the new system works to spur your creativity.  There are so many ways that this can be implemented, especially if you want to have compelling ads based on Manufacturer and Models.  

I would love to hear from ADM members on how this new feature could be used at their dealership.

Campaign Creation

The dynamic advertising feature is ideal for websites that have product pages that change often.  Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) are constantly changing, so having ads show for ONLY in stock vehicles has a great appeal.  What is most compelling is that Google will scan the dealership website each day to make sure that the vehicles it choses to advertise are still available.


In the example above, I created a campaign for used cars  based on cars that are in stock.  I called the campaign "In Stock Used Cars" (see green box) and selected the "Dynamic Search Ads" option, shown in red.   Campaigns have associated budgets so by configuring Adwords in this way, I can control the amount of dollars allocated to VIN level advertising.

Ad Group Creation

Once the campaign is setup, you can create Ad Groups.  Ad Groups can be setup for specific manufacturers or they can be broad.  The customized strategy that dealers will use for this new feature is not covered in this article, but you should start to see how granular this can be set.  The initial setup may take a few hours but the long term benefits will easily pay off.  


In this Ad Group I am focusing on any used Acura that is in stock.  The Headline will be written by Google based on the VDP data that it finds on the page.   If the VDP is for a 2011 Acura MDX the headline could read "2011 Acura MDX" or some variation based on the Page Title and the content on the page.  The granularity of the headline will be improved over time as well as search matching criteria. 


Google is not requiring dealers to provide an inventory feed, which has many good points.  Once this Ad Group is setup, and a few ad variations created, we have one more step to take before we can start advertising all used Acuras in stock.



Setting Pages For Adwords To Scan

The next step is to click on the "Auto Targets" (green box) tab in the Ad Group setup and select the website pages that have Acura VDP's.  In the example below, I am using the syntax for websites which can break out Acura cars in the /used/Acura directory or /certified/Acura/ directory on their website. (see red box)


The slashes are important to keep in place.   VinSolutions websites do not distinguish new and used VDP's  by the URL; all VDP's have /vd/ in them.  In this case you will need to use the Page Title feature or adjust your strategy.


Cobalt websites Vehicle Detail Pages have a clear pattern between new and used cars, like  Their pattern is /vehicle-details/certified- or /vehicle-details/used- or  /vehicle-details/new-.  


 There are currently four choices on how to select pages to advertise dynamically.  Those four choices are as follows:

  • URL
  • Category
  • Page Title
  • Page Content


Any of these options should be able to get dynamic ads working for your dealership.  For example, using the Page Title search feature on a VinSolutions website, you could identify any pages with the words "Used Acura" in the page title to find valid VDP's.


Limitations of Adwords Dynamic Ads

With any new technology, there are limitations.  Dealers who use dynamic ads are somewhat dependent on the URL structure of their Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP) and how well the Page Titles are formatted.  Dealers who "frame in" their inventory would not be a candidate for this product.  

Dealers should never frame in their inventory but just today I saw a very respected dealer use framing.  This defeats any SEO benefits that your website platform could provide and now it will impact dynamic advertising opportunities.

Dynamic ads, since they are not generated by an inventory feed like used by Haystak, Cobalt, and have the potential to be misread.  I'll have some more specific data on how well Google's tools are doing to present the perfect ad for every in-stock piece of inventory.


Paid Search Strategy - Do You Have One?


If you like being kept in touch with the latest strategies and technology for digital advertising  come back to the ADM Community website frequently.   If you are serious about improving the ROI of your digital marketing investments, join me at DMSC where the top vendors offering paid search services will be speaking and sharing their winning ideas for 2013.


Which digital advertising companies will be at DMSC?  Cobalt, Haystak,, Dominion Dealer Solutions, Now Marketplace, VinSolutions, DealerTrack, Dealer eProcess, CarMercial, and many more thought leads.  


If you would like to join me at DMSC, register today by calling Carrie Hemphill at 908-601-6475 or by visiting


I hope to see you in Orlando, Feb 5-7th at DMSC.


If you found this article helpful, will you please share this link on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  Thanks in advance! 


Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting


Views: 6042

Tags: Cobalt, Dealer, VinSolutions, adwords, dynamic search ads, google adwords, haystak


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Comment by Brian Pasch on January 10, 2013 at 6:39pm


I can't imagine any company that can scale a human run Adwords campaign that can do VIN level advertising in a real-time, daily updating environment, that could be profitable and billed at a price that dealers would pay.

Adwords campaigns should NOT be 100% automated and manually created and inspected campaigns have the potential to perform better, but some aspects are better automated.

I'm a fan of a hybrid approach, and it is what PCG Digital offers, but you do bring out a common complaint: mediocre customer support and strategy for Adwords.

The good news is that there are a handful of companies whose "give a s***" meter is high and are delivering a good ROI for dealers seeking to outsource their paid search. 

Comment by David Addison on January 10, 2013 at 4:06pm

Let's see how this works.  Automated ads almost never outperform human-made campaigns.  I've been into PPC all the way back to the days.  Even Google reps can't come close to what a smart well equipped and trained advertising professional can do.  This industry is full of mediocrity.  Dealers with mediocre ability lose.

Still, an interesting development.  Google is extending these type features to increase ad spending.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 9, 2013 at 9:01am

That's a good idea Ralph and something you should have had it created and sold it!


This isn't really that much different from how Facebook has created custom advertisement marketing via CRM dB import, except Google smashes FB's face in when it comes to making money through online marketing.

Makes me wonder when Google will allow the same technique for ease of importing in entire inventories for advertisement purposes. Unless there is a 3rd party mechanism out there that does it (someone must have created something by now and I've been sleeping or missed it). You can do it for pushing inventory to Craigslist you have to be able to do it for Google AdWords. (just the tip of the iceberg), one day this will all be integrated into one streamlined solution that will adapt with your preferences, robotically, literally.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 9, 2013 at 5:54am

This is long overdue... In 2009 I showed several product managers at Google how many car dealers were creating individual Google Adwords search advertising for specific used vehicles where the sponsored listing in the SERP would use the vehicle detail page as the destination URL.  My request at the time was on behalf of the Ford Digital Advertising program and it was to create an application extension that would index the dealer's vehicle inventory detail pages to make it easier to generate such ads for specific vehicles... Looks like it took them awhile!

At any rate, I have used the tactic of specific Google Adwords listings for each vehicle (normally used) to save many ISM jobs during the recession... Because it absolutely works far better than you can imagine if you have not tried it before! If you need to sell more cars starting today, get to work and use your Google Adwords account to create individual ads for each used vehicle you want to sell.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 9, 2013 at 5:53am

Just the beginning of the granular control Google will provide dealerships and any other group with an inventory (dB) of products.

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on January 9, 2013 at 4:50am

see you in Orlando. good information.

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