Google Brings Auto Showroom To Mobile With New Search Ad Format

Google made available a new mobile ad format Wednesday to all original equipment manufacturer (OEM) automotive advertisers in the U.S. The ads recreate a showroom-like experience by featuring images of advertised cars along with additional information about each such as MPG or features in mobile search results.

The ad format, Model Automotive Ads, first announced in beta May 2015, aims to reach consumers at each critical moment during the car-shopping journey by serving the most useful information on mobile devices in a carousel of images.

Toyota and Ford are running the new ad formats for some models. Google estimates engagement rates on Model Automotive ads are about 30% higher on average compared with standard text ads. Toyota has seen roughly a 45% increase in conversion rates and a 30% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) compared with standard search text ads across its core line of car model, Dionne Colvin-Lovely, director of traditional and new media for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, in a statement.

One in every two automotive-related searches on Google -- such as those for car make and model -- are conducted on smartphones, up 51% year-over-year, according to Google Trends data.

Images are a powerful tool in purchase consideration, as auto shoppers who are on the fence about a make or a model can narrow down their choices by having a detailed view of the car.

Searches for pictures of automotive brands in the U.S. rose 37% in September 2015, compared with the same month in the prior year, according to Google Trends data.

Google also built Automotive ads to work with the new ad format. Auto shoppers who start their search with a car model can tap on the "Dealers" button in the Model Automotive ad to get directions to or call local dealerships. When someone taps on the Model Automotive ad unit Dealers button after searching for a specific car, Google will show Dealer Automotive ads for a nearby dealerships location.

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