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Another prediction that I wrote about has come true. Change is in the air again at Google. Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think. It's called "Google Commercial Unit For Cars".
In November 2011, I wrote about a product called "Google Advisor" which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales.
It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground. This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.
Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a more common name: Google Cars.
I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you. Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:
Palo Alto Toyota
What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business. I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving. I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.
Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area. We will find out when this will open up to other markets. This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.
According to my sources, this product is focused on lower sales funnel queries meaning the buyer has already decided on a brand and a model to purchase. So it will not be showing up for all automotive search queries, just a subset that Google believes have already made a brand/model selection.
When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page
If you click on the "Google Price Info" link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.
The Google Price popup box is shown on the right. If you click on the "Learn More" link, you can read about how these prices are determined.
The "regional price paid" data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state. Here is what Google says:
Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.
Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid."
When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:
And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options. Clicking on the "Email Dealer" choice reveals this screen.
Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle.
I was able to confirm that this is a pay per lead model and user contact information is not shared, all communications will go through proxies. Take a peek at the image above to see the statement "Google protects you from spam".
This is an attempt to limit spam to consumers from dealers. Read the information on this link: http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=...
This adds a degree of complexity since normal CRM workflows and contact strategies will be impacted by lack of direct phone number via proxies. This means that leads generated by the program will really need to be worked to get direct contact information before the proxy period expires.
I will be working to get the information you need to prepare for this new opportunity in new car vehicle marketing. If you have any specific questions, let me know. You can send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I'll be busy researching this and getting the facts. Keep in mind that at AutoCon 2012 will have 3 deep dive workshops on all the latest paid search strategies that car dealers can leverage.
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing