How To Run Google Ads For Car Dealers

In an increasingly competitive automotive industry, it has become essential for car dealerships to adopt digital marketing strategies to attract potential customers. One of the most effective methods is using Google Ads. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to run Google Ads for car dealers, touching on key concepts like PPC for car dealerships and auto dealer ads. Buckle up as we drive you through the world of digital advertising for car dealerships.

How Does Google Ads Work?

Google Ads, previously called Google AdWords, is a digital advertising platform by Google enabling businesses to create and showcase ads on Google’s search results pages (SERPs), affiliated sites, and throughout numerous apps and services within the Google Display Network. Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks their ad. Here’s an overview of how Google Ads works:

  1. Keywords and Auctions: Advertisers choose keywords relevant to their business, product, or service that they believe potential customers might search for on Google. They then create ads based on these keywords and set a maximum bid – the amount they’re willing to pay for each click on their ad. When a user searches for a particular keyword, Google runs an auction to determine which ads will be displayed on the SERP and in which order.
  2. Ad Rank: Google determines the position of the ads in the auction based on a metric called Ad Rank. Ad Rank is determined by multiplying the advertiser’s highest bid with their Quality Score. Quality Score evaluates the ad’s relevance and value for the user, the experience on the landing page, and the ad’s click-through rate (CTR).
  3. Cost Per Click (CPC): Advertisers don’t necessarily pay their maximum bid for each click. Instead, they pay the minimum amount required to maintain their ad’s position on the SERP, which is determined by the Ad Rank of the next highest competing ad plus $0.01. This ensures that advertisers pay a fair price based on the quality and relevance of their ads.
  4. Ad Formats: Google Ads offers various ad formats, including text ads, display ads, video ads, and shopping ads. Text ads appear on Google’s search results pages, while display ads can be seen across Google’s Display Network, which includes millions of partner websites and apps. Video ads can appear on YouTube and other video platforms, while shopping ads showcase product images and prices directly on the search results pages.
  5. Targeting: Google Ads enables advertisers to tailor their ads according to various factors, including demographics, geographic location, interests, and user behavior. By doing so, ads are displayed to a highly pertinent audience, enhancing the probability of successful conversions.
  6. Campaign Management and Optimization: Advertisers can monitor and analyze the performance of their Google Ads campaigns using various metrics and reporting tools provided by the platform. This data can be used to make decisions and optimize campaigns for better performance, such as refining keywords, adjusting bids, improving ad copy, and enhancing landing page experiences.

Understand The Basics Of PPC For Car Dealers

Before diving into car dealer Google Ads, it’s crucial to understand the basics of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. PPC is an online advertising model where you, the advertiser, pay a fee each time your ads are clicked. Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a powerful platform enabling you to create and manage PPC campaigns.

Set Clear Goals For Your Car Dealer Google Ads Campaign

To make the most of your advertising budget, setting clear and measurable goals for your Google Ads campaign is essential. These include increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting sales, or raising brand awareness. Having well-defined objectives will help you optimize your campaign and measure its success.

Create A Well-Structured Account

A well-structured Google Ads account is vital for the success of your auto dealer ads campaign. Organize your account into multiple campaigns, each focusing on a specific aspect of your dealership, such as new cars, used cars, or service offerings. Break down each campaign into ad groups, targeting distinct keywords and customer segments.

Conduct Keyword Research For Car Dealer PPC

Keyword research is the foundation of a successful PPC campaign for car dealers. Identify relevant keywords your target audience will likely search for when looking for a car dealership. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords likely to generate quality leads. Don’t forget to include long-tail keywords – these are longer, more specific phrases that often have lower competition and higher conversion rates.

Write Compelling Auto Dealer Ads

Once you have identified the right keywords, it’s time to create compelling ads to entice potential customers to click. Use persuasive language, highlight your dealership’s unique selling points, and include a strong call to action. Also, ensure your ads comply with Google Ads policies and best practices.

Optimize Your Landing Pages

A well-optimized landing page is crucial for the success of your car dealer Google Ads campaign. Ensure your landing pages are relevant to the ad and keyword, have a clear call-to-action, and load quickly. Use tools like Google Analytics to track user behavior on your landing pages and make improvements based on the data.

Set Your Bids And Budget

Determine how much you will pay for each click on your car dealer PPC ads. You can either set manual bids or use Google’s automated bidding strategies, such as Target CPA or Target ROAS. Also, allocate a daily budget for your campaigns to control your overall ad spend.

Utilize Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are additional information that can be displayed alongside your auto dealer ads, such as your phone number, address, or links to specific pages on your website. These extensions can improve your ads’ visibility and click-through rate, leading to better results.

Monitor And Optimize Your Campaigns

Regularly analyze your car dealer’s Google Ads campaigns’ performance using Google Ads’ reporting tools. Monitor key metrics like click-through rate, cost per click, conversion rate, and return on ad spend. Based on this data, optimize your campaigns by refining your ad copy, adjusting bids, testing new keywords, and improving your landing pages.

Harness The Power Of Remarketing

Remarketing is an effective strategy for targeting previous website visitors with customized ads. By setting up a remarketing campaign, you can reach potential customers who have already shown interest in your dealership but haven’t yet made a purchase or taken the desired action. These ads remind them to return to your website and complete their intended action, thus improving your overall conversion rate.

Utilize Google Ads' Geographic Targeting

Geographic targeting is a valuable feature that allows you to display your car dealer ads only to users in specific locations. This can benefit local dealerships, ensuring potential customers see your ads in your service area. You can even adjust your bids based on the performance of specific locations, ensuring you’re maximizing your ad spend in areas that generate the best results.

Implement Call Tracking

Call tracking is essential to your car dealer PPC strategy, enabling you to attribute phone calls to your Google Ads campaigns. By assigning unique phone numbers to your ads and landing pages, you can monitor which ads and keywords generate the most calls, optimizing your campaigns more effectively. Additionally, this data can be used to improve your sales team’s performance by identifying areas for improvement in their call handling.

Leverage In-Market Audiences

In-market audiences are users that Google has identified as actively researching or considering purchasing a specific product or service. By targeting in-market audiences for your car dealer ads, you can reach potential customers more likely to be interested in your dealership’s offerings. This can result in higher click-through and conversion rates and more efficient use of your advertising budget.

Monitor Competitor Activity

Keeping an eye on your competitors’ advertising strategies can provide valuable insights that can help you refine your car dealer Google Ads campaigns. Tools like SEMrush and SpyFu allow you to monitor your competitors’ keywords, ad copy, and bids, giving you the information you need to stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on potential opportunities.

Continuously Test And Refine

Continuous testing and refinement is the key to a successful Google Ads campaign for car dealers. Regularly split-test your ad copy, keywords, and landing pages to identify which elements drive the best results. By consistently making data-driven decisions, you can optimize your campaigns and maximize your return on investment.

Is Google Ads Worth It for Car Dealers?

Yes, when used strategically, Google Ads can be a highly effective marketing channel for car dealers. It offers numerous benefits worth considering for car dealerships of all sizes. Here are some reasons why Google Ads is worth it for car dealers:

  • Targeted Advertising: Google Ads allows car dealers to target potential customers based on various factors such as location, demographics, interests, and search behavior. This means that your ads will be displayed to users actively searching for vehicles or services related to your dealership, making them more likely to convert into leads or sales.
  • High Visibility: Google Ads allows car dealers to place their ads at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing their visibility to potential customers. With the majority of online users not going past the first page of search results, having a prominent position on SERPs can significantly improve your chances of attracting leads and sales.
  • Immediate Results: Unlike SEO, which can take time to show results, Google Ads can deliver immediate results for your dealership. As soon as your campaign is set up and live, your ads will appear on Google’s search results, driving traffic to your website and generating leads.
  • Measurable Results: Google Ads provides a wealth of data and reporting tools that enable car dealers to track the performance of their campaigns. This allows you to analyze key metrics like click-through rate, cost per click, conversion rate, and return on ad spend, making it easier to optimize your campaigns for better performance and maximize your return on investment.
  • Flexible Budgeting: Google Ads allows car dealers to set their daily budgets and adjust bids for each ad. This means you can control how much you spend on advertising and make adjustments based on the performance of your campaigns, ensuring that you’re making the most of your advertising budget.
  • Remarketing Opportunities: Google Ads enables car dealers to engage in remarketing campaigns, targeting users who have previously visited their website but didn’t convert. Remarketing ads can help keep your dealership top-of-mind and encourage these users to return to your website and complete their intended action, ultimately boosting your conversion rates.


Running Google Ads for car dealers effectively increases your online presence, attracts potential customers, and grows your dealership’s revenue. Following the strategies outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can create and manage successful car dealer PPC campaigns to drive tangible results for your business. So, gear up and get ready to accelerate your dealership’s digital marketing success.