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Google Gets Into Automotive Lead Generation

Google met with top automotive dealers and manufacturers at the 2011 NADA Convention in San Francisco this week to introduce their new lead generation model for search, which one insider called "Dealer Preference". This is a new strategy for their popular Google Adwords software.

The new paid automotive advertising model by Google would create special automotive ads which are designed to generate calls or leads, which will be sold to the highest bidder. This is a game changer in my mind but people at the meeting said that dealer response was very mild.

Google Automotive Lead Gen

This model is new to the automotive industry but not new to other verticals like Mortgages. You can see from the screen shot above highlighted in red, Google has created a special new pink bar for ads that it creates for lead capture and places them ABOVE normal Adwords ads. Notice that ad has radio buttons and a call to action to "Compare Rates".


When you click on that link, this is what you will see:

Google Automotive COmparision Ads

The position of this page is sold to the highest bidder, I assume. Details on the Dealer Preference advertising is forthcoming in a second post.

This is a game changer for the automotive advertising industry. If Google starts to become a middle-man in automotive price advertising and comparisons, a whole new strategy will need to be considered. It still will have to be seen if this increases clicks on paid ads.

Google Changes Automotive Advertising Again

This new features does a few things:
  1. It pushes other paid ads lower on the right sidebar.
  2. It pushes organic search results down so positions 1-3 become even more valuable
  3. Dealers that have been ignoring Adwords will need to get in the game and test things.

The idea that Google has in mind is that if a consumer types in "Used Honda Miami" it will display its OWN lead collection ad and show cars or sales based on participating dealers.

What is your reaction?

Do you have some additional information from NADA to share?

Views: 269

Tags: automotive advertising, automotive lead generation, car dealer leads, google adwords


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Comment by Rob Fontano on February 12, 2011 at 7:18am
I am currently inthe process of transitioning from AT to a used cars PPC campaign and a more robust SEO strategy (with Brian Pasch's AAN) I will keep you all posted on the results.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 10, 2011 at 7:06pm
Thanks Brian!
Comment by Brian Pasch on February 10, 2011 at 6:20pm


That's to be seen.  I just wanted to keep everyone posted on the word on the street.  The business of Internet Marketing is ever changing and as soon as I know more, I will share it.  As Google uses its muscle more, it will be interesting to see how they monetize search.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 10, 2011 at 5:32pm
Brian, I think with Google it's always "follow the money".  It will be a PPC-like (or PPL, maybe) angle:  Vehicles are purchased more often than mortgages, so the opportunity to align paid search on top of organic is where Google's money is.
Comment by Brian Pasch on February 10, 2011 at 5:18pm


Here is what I am thinking.  Someone types "2011 Honda Accord" and the Google Ad says "Compare Local Honda Prices" and they show the local dealers and prices.  This would possibly simplify the consumer experience and change the engagement for leads.  Not sure if that is what will happen but it could easily start with new cars and then go to used cars.

Comment by Bill Nagel on February 10, 2011 at 2:31pm
Great points on the impact Brian.  The key is what you just posted about wait-and-see.  I don't think this will be a game changer though, much like it hasn't been a massive game changer for Google w/Mortgages.  It'll require tweaks, but not massive strategy changes. If you consider the sales funnel that new car consumers take, effective auto dealer advertising requires balanced positioning within Google properties and externally (auto portals, blogs, display, etc).
Comment by Michael Wise on February 9, 2011 at 10:22am
Yes, I'm afraid they have my old employer in their sites.  Exciting time for dealers though, more competition can mean lower advertising prices.
Comment by Brian Pasch on February 9, 2011 at 9:41am
Michael, thanks for your feedback. How this will impact automotive advertising strategies is still unclear.  When we start to see how dealers and sales are listed, we will know more.  For now, it looks like Google wants to go after,, and other inventory advertising portals.
Comment by Michael Wise on February 9, 2011 at 6:52am
Long term, this could open Google up to a pay per lead model, as opposed to pay per click.  Though, if you have a consistent conversion rate, at the end of the day you could argue Google is already pay per lead.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on February 8, 2011 at 7:34am
And so Google becomes Autotrader.

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