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The Truth About Third-Party Vehicle Listing Ads

Vehicle Listing Ads (VLAs), AKA Google Shopping Ads, are changing car shopping. Now more than ever, shoppers can find local dealerships with the exact car they’re looking for, quickly and easily. When a shopper types in a high-intent search term related to their desired vehicle (for example, 2016 Audi A7 3.0 Quattro Prestige AWD for sale), Google will serve them a local ad that includes an image of the car, its mileage, trim level, the name of the dealership, and its location.

This allows shoppers to get all the information they need about a car without clicking multiple links. For dealerships, this means that their ads are now much more prominent on Google's search results page.

Most dealerships currently purchase their VLA ads through one or more third-party auto sites (for example,, Autotrader, KBB, Carfax, Edmunds, and so on.) As a result, when your vehicle listing ad is clicked, the prospect goes directly to the third-party auto’s website site and not yours. Now your vehicle listing competes directly with VLAs for the same make and model vehicle from several local area dealerships. Further, even when you know your vehicle is a "Great Deal", you have no control of the search algorithms, so the featured vehicle that you thought would be at the top of page one, is nowhere to be found on the first page unless you pay extra to boost the ad.

On the other hand, when you run your own Google VLA campaign directly or through an agency, your dealership will reach more shoppers and generate more leads because the prospect will go straight to your website and spend time with the vehicle that got their attention in the first place, yours. If the prospect is not sure and decides to keep looking, they’re more likely to do that on your website since they’re already there. Another benefit of running your own VLA campaign is providing a better customer experience. Since customers already have access to all relevant details before visiting your website or store, they’re likely to be more informed and better prepared when they arrive - leading to improved customer satisfaction ratings (CSI) and higher conversion rates.

It should also be noted that dynamic VLA campaigns don't depend on keyword bids like traditional Search campaigns, so dealerships don't need to worry about constantly managing their budget or maintaining accurate bids to remain competitive.

VLAs are transforming how people search and shop for vehicles - providing shoppers with quick access to just what they're looking for while giving dealerships more visibility and control over their campaigns than ever before. It’s why more dealerships are choosing first-party lead-gen agencies to run their VLA campaigns.

At Digital Downforce, we go the extra mile to ensure dealerships’ VLA campaigns deliver optimum results. We monitor your vehicle-specific shopping activity, and if specific vehicles and VINs aren’t getting much online attention, we adjust your digital marketing and merchandising on those units to boost demand. Contact us today and see how a First-party VLA campaign with Digital Downforce can help your dealership reach more active shoppers and drive better results!


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