Google Vehicle Ads UK Guidelines: How to Optimise Your Campaigns

February 29, 2024

Follow these key policies and guidelines for the best-performing vehicle-based ad campaigns online

Standing out in an ever-crowded digital marketplace can be challenging for car dealerships looking to promote new and used stock to prospective buyers. Fortunately, Google’s Vehicle Ads platform offers advertising solutions tailored specifically to enable dealers to display relevant, attention-grabbing ads that align with car buyer behaviour. 

Properly optimising your Google Vehicle Ads can deliver a high-converting pathway by matching potential buyers to vehicles in your current stock. Configuring these inventory-linked ads using industry best practices can boost visibility, generate more quality leads, and support overall dealership sales targets.

In this handy guide, we’ll explore top strategies and troubleshooting tips for car dealers looking to create high-performing Google Vehicle Ads campaigns in the UK. Whether you are new to advertising or want to improve your existing efforts, applying these solutions will help your dealership sell stock. Read on to find out more… 

Am I eligible for Google Vehicle Ads UK?

Google Vehicle Ads are going live in the UK later this year (expected Summer 2024, but the exact date is to be confirmed) and now is the time to accelerate your digital marketing strategy to accommodate the much-anticipated search engine product. To be eligible, you must be an authorised dealer in the UK with a current, valid licence to sell vehicles. This means having physical dealership premises, as private sellers are not permitted. 

It goes without saying that access to inventory feeds with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for the vehicles you want to advertise is a must. As inventory availability is likely to constantly change, the feeds should be monitored and updated regularly as your stock shifts or grows.

To be eligible, you’ll also need a fully functioning website for your dealership. The vehicle pages must display full details on specific models, pricing information, and a lead form and/or contact information so interested buyers can reach out to you (this is where we come in!). Location targeting for your ads must be limited to regions your dealership serves and where you are permitted to sell vehicles, so bear this in mind too!

Essentially, Google wants to ensure its Vehicle Ads platform points users to legitimate dealers who provide detailed vehicle descriptions and can provide purchase and/or relevant contact information on their website. Maintaining eligibility also requires following Google’s strict editorial, transparency, and targeting guidelines – we explain more about these requirements further on in the article, below. 

How do I run Google Vehicle Ads campaigns for my car dealership?

First things first then, you need to make sure you meet all the Google Vehicle Ads eligibility requirements for UK dealers that we’ve outlined above. Secondly, if you don’t already have one, sign up for a Google Ads account and ensure the account currency is set to GBP for doing business in this country. You’ll also need a Google Business Profile AND a dedicated Merchant Center account created so they can be linked – this is where your stock feed will be held ready for campaigns to be created within Google Ads. 

Remember that your inventory feed file will need to meet certain parameters to make campaigns eligible. Full vehicle descriptions are required in order to populate ads in the campaign, as well as a series of images matching the vehicle in question. Make sure you define the advertising geography and use location-targeting options to reach potential customers in your area.

To be successful, your Google Vehicle Ads campaign will need to match user search queries, so you’ll want each one to be as descriptive as possible. For example, use prominent keywords such as ‘new luxury electric SUV’, or ‘low mileage used Volkswagen Golf’. 

For ads to be active, payment information will need to be added to their Google Ads account and a daily/monthly budget set against each campaign. As a heads up, each campaign will need to be submitted for review by Google and will be rejected if it doesn’t meet certain criteria. All being well, your ad will go live and be displayed within the shopping carousel at the top of Google’s search engine results page. 

Once ads are live, it is really important to monitor campaign performance and optimise ads accordingly – again, this is where we can help! 

What are the rules for Google Vehicle Ads campaigns UK? 

When it comes to Google Vehicle Ads, there are certain guidelines and criteria to adhere to. These are the requirements needed for campaigns to go live and run effectively during the allocated timeframe. Here’s what you need to know… 

Google Vehicle Ads Guidelines

Requirements to participate in Google Vehicle Ads:
  • Non-commercial and passenger vehicles licensed for use on public roads
  • Pre-priced vehicles for sale (no leases!)
  • Actual vehicles only – no added extras, parts, accessories, or services are supported
  • A vehicle title that is clear, correct, and relevant to the make and model
  • Direct sellers only (no brokers!)
  • Sold from a showroom or licensed vehicle premises
  • A single designated region per Merchant Center account feed
Google Vehicle Ads image guidelines:

Each image must meet the following specifications – 

File FormatsGIF (.gif), JPEG (.jpg/.jpeg), PNG (.png), BMP (.bmp) and TIFF (.tif/.tiff)
Maximum File Size16 MB
Minimum Image Size100 x 100 pixels
Recommended Image Size800 x 600 pixels
Maximum Image Size64 megapixels
Recommended Aspect Ratio4:3

Automatic image adjustments for Google Vehicle Ads aren’t yet supported, so you’ll need to make sure the vehicle images you upload meet the requirements outlined above, otherwise your ads are at risk of being rejected.

Disapproved images:

In addition to the above, there are further strict rules to follow when uploading images for Google Vehicle Ads which will lead to disapproval if not met, these are:

  • No overlaid watermarks
  • No superimposed logos or banners
  • No superimposed text – such as ‘coming soon’
  • No generic stock images – it must be the actual vehicle for sale (exception: manufacturer stock images are permitted if the same make, model, and colour of the car listed)
  • No offensive or inappropriate content
  • No photoshopped/falsely edited images – the entire vehicle must be pictured
Discouraged images:

There are also some frowned-upon points to be aware of when it comes to uploading images, and although they are discouraged by Google, they won’t actually stop your vehicle ad from going live. They are:

  • Logos or branding in the background
  • Modifications on the licence plate
  • Cluttered/busy background
  • Rear-angle image used as the main image (these should be added as additional images only)

How can I improve my Google Vehicle Ads campaign?

If you’re going to run Google Vehicle Ads campaigns, you’ll of course want them to perform at their best. To do this, you need to meet all of the campaign criteria and follow the strict Google guidelines. The ultimate aim is to turn browsers into buyers, so we’ve shared our top five tips on how to do just that:

5 Steps to Better Google Vehicle Ads Campaigns

  1. Optimise vehicle inventory feeds – Ensure VINs, descriptions, pricing, and images are accurate and feeds update frequently as inventory changes. The trick is to keep ads as relevant as possible.
  2. Utilise audience targeting – You can target tailored audiences such as car enthusiast groups, or past website visitors using custom affinity and remarketing lists.
  3. Create an engaging landing page – Make the most of your website by ensuring the relevant landing page houses all the necessary vehicle information. Include enquiry forms, contact information, reservation options, and finance quotes where possible.
  4. Track conversions – Utilise tracking tools and the likes of Google Analytics, and Google Search Console to monitor conversions, attributing them to specific ads or keywords.
  5. Monitor and optimise ads regularly – Check search terms, geographic performance, and conversion rates so you can tweak any underperforming keywords and low-converting locations. 

Why was my Google Vehicle Ads campaign rejected?

There are a few common reasons why Google Vehicle Ads campaigns get rejected. Here are just a few to cross-reference against your campaign:

  • You included excluded vehicles such as motorhomes, motorcycles, farm vehicles, and race cars
  • The vehicle is for lease and not for sale
  • The vehicle is from an auction site or is set to auto-price
  • The ad is selling parts, accessories, or additional services instead of a vehicle
  • You included a vehicle title that is ineligible, isn’t descriptive enough, contains mistakes, or is not directly linked to the advertised model 
  • You are a broker and not a direct seller
  • You are not selling from a showroom or licensed vehicle premises
  • You’ve chosen more than one region for the ad per Merchant Center account
  • Image guidelines are not met

Always double-check you comply with all policies and eligibility guidelines listed in the Google Vehicle Ads documentation. If you feel your ad campaign does meet the relevant criteria, then you can appeal a rejection by requesting a review and updating non-compliant elements. Try preventing rejections upfront by thoroughly vetting campaigns ahead of submission as this can help avoid delays in approving your ads. 

Can you get banned from Google Vehicle Ads?

Yes, it is possible to get banned from running Google Vehicle Ads for a variety of violations, such as repeated disapproval, fraudulent clicks, and misleading behaviour. But, before outright banning happens, Google will often send warnings on detected issues or policy violations. If suspensions do occur, appeals can be submitted to request reinstatement of your advertising privileges. Just be aware that this can take time and isn’t always successful. 

The most effective way to avoid being banned is by thoroughly reviewing all the Google Vehicle Ads criteria before launching campaigns. Ongoing monitoring for issues and optimising poor-performing ads also helps avoid quality standards drops or flags for violations. Maintaining strict advertising ethics standards, inventory accuracy, and transparent operations is also key to a successfully approved ad campaign.

Google Vehicle Ads campaigns for car dealers 

Google Vehicle Ads is set to revolutionise the motor industry by driving higher quality leads and greater sales from online automotive advertising. As a 67 Degrees customer, we can switch on Google Vehicle Ads when the platform officially launches in the UK. Our in-house experts are ready to put your dealership in pole position by creating campaigns that perform.  

Register your interest today and start connecting more high-intent customers searching online to the vehicles on your forecourt through the power of Google Vehicle Ads. Get in touch with us to find out more. 

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