Google expands automotive search

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Google expands the search capabilities of its automotive and car search features

Recently, Google has been boosting its search tools for finding cars on Google search. The latest addition to functionality is displaying more comparison views and features in Google search. The enhanced knowledge panel compares a range of vehicle specifications in the search results list, including review comparisons. Moreover, it is possible to filter by different vehicle brands, model types, and years. Knowledge panels generate rich results within Google search. They have the flexibility to show information about a diverse range of items. The knowledge panel displays on the right side of desktop search results with relevant details on the particular items the user is searching for, giving users a quick preview of data about the topic or item.

Google launches new Google Ad format for cars

Last month, Google added vehicle ads to search to show users cars for sale locally. When a user searches on Google for cars for sale, results appear with options to either buy or have a vehicle delivered.

Auto advertisers can use the new format to create targeted ads for local buyers who use smartphones to search for either new or used cars.

The new ad format is currently available in the US, intending to support car sellers in reaching potential new buyers more directly and straightforwardly through the search results. Google aims to expand the new ad format to other countries in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed car purchasing behavior with an increased amount of home orders as online shopping became popular for a range of items that were previously not part of online consuming patterns, which means that many retailers have had to pivot to go online. The automotive industry has had a wild ride recently. New and used car sales initially declined during the pandemic as demand dropped; however, demand far outstripped supply, and manufacturers are racing against the clock to produce more vehicles despite a global chip shortage.

With the new function, users looking for a car on search will see a photo of the cars available, along with their location, brand, price, and mileage of vehicles that are either locally available or can be delivered. Advertisers can use the new ad format to generate information about potential leads. 

Once a prospective buyer clicks a car on the search results, the ad takes the user to the vehicle description page which is located on the advertiser’s website; here, the user can be taken to a lead generation page where contact details can be collected. To track the ad campaign, it is possible to add track conversions such as lead forms completed or visits to a particular page.

At this time, the new vehicle ad format is only available to car dealerships rather than private sellers or auto brokers. Moreover, recreational, commercial, or farm vehicles are not allowed to be advertised through the new ad, along with other such vehicles, e.g., buses, trains, boats, and airplanes. 

Advertisers are required to set up an inventory data feed and connect this through the Google Merchant Center. Early results from the beta launch are promising, as advertisers observed vehicle ads’ conversion rates increased by 25%.

Google has yet to announce which countries the vehicle ads will be available next; however, it is understood that Canada or Australia may be among the countries where the new ads are due to launch.


With an increased user base of people using Google search to research vehicles options, Google is taking some significant steps to get ahead of the trend, with the new vehicle ads on search and expanding the automative search to offer a more extensive and relevant connection within the search results.

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