New Google tools link dealers, mobile shoppers

Google has rolled out two mobile-search ad formats to help drive consumers to dealerships as more car-shopping activity occurs on mobile devices.

Illustrating the importance of imagery to the car-buying process, the interactive Model Automotive ads allow shoppers searching for vehicles to swipe through a series of photos on the results page while learning about details such as mpg. Google says searches for “pictures of [automotive brand]” were up 37 percent in September 2015 from the year-earlier period, with 80 percent of those searches taking place on mobile.

Google shared plans that it was building Model Automotive ads in May 2015, a spokesman said.

The other format, Dealer Automotive ads, provides information about a dealership’s location along with a click-to-call button so consumers can contact stores.

This format is available to franchised and authorized dealerships in the U.S., the company announced last week.

Google found a way to connect the two formats.

If shoppers click on the Model Automotive ad’s “Dealers” button after searching for a particular model, Google will show them Dealer Automotive ads for stores in their area.

The mobile space is an increasingly valuable research platform for shoppers.

For instance, Google said one of every two automotive searches — such as those for make and model — were up 51 percent in April 2015 year over year.

Toyota has already deployed the Model Automotive ads.

“Google’s Model Automotive ads provide an immediate and immersive mobile experience for our guests, and the ability to show and tell our story helps highlight the value of the Toyota brand and our vehicles,” said Dionne Colvin-Lovely, Toyota’s director of traditional and new media, in a statement.

“Across our core line of car models, we’ve seen a 45 percent increase in conversion events and a 30 percent decrease in [costs per action] compared to standard text ads.”

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