Google Enters New Car Lead Generation Business

Another prediction that I wrote about has come true.  Change is in the air again at Google.  Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think.  It's called "Google Cars"

 

In November 2011, I wrote about a product called "Google Advisor" which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales.    It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground.  This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.

 

Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a name: Google Cars.

 

I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you.  Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:

Palo Alto Toyota

What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business.  I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving.  I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.

San Francisco Bay Beta Test of Google Cars

 

Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area.  We will find out when this will open up to other markets.   This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.

 

Google Cars Inventory Model Results Page

 

When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page 

 

Google Cars Pricing Info

 

If you click on the "Google Price Info" link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.  

 

The Google Price popup box is shown on the right.  If you click on the "Learn More" link, you can read about how these prices are determined.

 

The "regional price paid" data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state.   Here is what Google says:

 

Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.

 

Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid."

 

Google Cars VDP

 

When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:

Google Cars Email Contact Options

 

And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options.  Clicking on the "Email Dealer" choice reveals this screen.

Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle.  Today, I have no details on how this advertising product works and the costs associated with it.  Give me a few days.

 

I will be working to get the information you need to prepare for this new opportunity in new car vehicle marketing.  If you have any specific questions, let me know.  You can send me an email to:  brian@pcgmailer.com

In the meantime, I'll be busy researching this and getting the facts.   Keep in mind that at AutoCon 2012 will have 3 deep dive workshops on all the latest paid search strategies that car dealers can leverage.

 

Brian

 

Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing

Brian Pasch 

 

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Comment by David on June 29, 2012 at 12:15pm
This is fantastic! Bring it to the UK market ASAP! I'll push it forward for Mercedes-Benz Hertfordshire www.landlautomotive.co.uk! Great article...
Comment by Lou Weisenbacher on June 27, 2012 at 2:52pm

My feeling is that they are starting with new cars but they will eventually get in to advertising used vehicle inventories for dealers. That is where I feel the big change will come for these other providers

Comment by Jason Mickelson on June 27, 2012 at 2:46pm

Two comments suggest that this change would affect Autotrader.com and Cars.com.  I am interested in hearing more about how this would affect these two companies.  I know that Autotrader and Cars would like to be new car lead providers, but both have struggled to gain traction. This will affect them, but won't it affect AutoUSA, CarsDirect, Autobytel and companies like these more than the two companies whose primary business revolves around advertising pre-owned vehicles?

Comment by Lou Weisenbacher on June 27, 2012 at 11:08am

This could certainly put a real hurt on Cars.com and AutoTrader.com (which is good in my opinion) and cause them to rethink their strategies and princing.

Comment by Lou Weisenbacher on June 27, 2012 at 11:07am

This is definitely an interesting development! I will be watching this very closely. Thanks for sharing the info!

Comment by Jay Prassel on June 27, 2012 at 10:39am

@Brian, great article. Thanks for the info.

Comment by Jay Prassel on June 27, 2012 at 10:38am

Looks like a knockoff of TrueCar?

Comment by Jason Mickelson on June 27, 2012 at 12:36am

Great information and a wonderful explanation of the product.  Your second link is really interesting as well.  For dealers who are persistent with their follow up, google's phone number and email proxy will trigger rapid change to dealer follow-up processses.  6 calls and you're out?  If customers were engaging customers every time you call this would be fine, but the majority are not.  Especially when responding to 3rd party leads.  Dealers will probably be slow to adopt this technology because of the limitations on prospect's contact information. Unless the price is to low for a dealer to refuse.

Comment by Brian Pasch on June 26, 2012 at 9:47pm

Team Dealer Elite:

I was able to confirm that this is a pay per lead model and user contact information is not shared, all communications through proxies.  

Read the information on this link: http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=...

This adds a degree of complexity since normal CRM workflows and contact strategies will be impacted.  

Comment by Leonard Buchholz on June 26, 2012 at 9:42pm

This is just another step in the "information revolution" that has been occurring in our industry in that past 10-15 years. It started with just an innocent search for a car in the local area and now has evolved into an internet search for a reason to buy at the dealer displayed in the search results. 

Every advertiser knows that Automotive Dealerships have traditionally been the biggest buyers of paid advertising in whatever medium they happen to be offering their wares. Check the local newspaper...think they are are happy about this information revolution? 

Google has only taken the next step. They see TrueCar, Edmunds etc. and don't say "Dangit, someone else beat us to it" they see it and say "Why not? If they can do it, we can too!"

Hey Fixed Ops, don't think you are out of the picture. In just a short time this will morph over and all of the Service Departments in a specific area will have all of the available specials/department information displayed just like the New Cars in this beta test format. The information is already there, it's just a matter of time until it is collected, sifted, sorted and displayed.

Thanks for the update Brian. I am reading these type of posts with keen interest. 

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