Financial services, hotels, flights, products… what’s next for Google’s paid inclusion vertical search engine plans? It appears to be new cars, if a Bay Area test is any indication. The test was first spotted by auto industry publication DealerELITE.
If a person has indicated he is in the San Francisco Bay Area, searching on specific automotive-related terms, such as “Palo Alto Toyota,” return results that include a box similar to other Google Advisor products. The box shows images of vehicles, prices and a link to the dedicated Auto Advisor site — http://www.google.com/advisor/usauto. (Which only works if the ZIP code entered is in the Bay Area.)
It also has a “Sponsored” icon, which lets users know that some of the auto dealers have paid Google for listings. It appears the automotive dealerships are providing a feed of their inventory that includes specific vehicles, including their vehicle identification numbers (VIN).
On the Auto Advisor site itself, users can search inventory at auto dealers surrounding their ZIP code, and can refine the results by trim, year, engine, transmission, body style and exterior color.
Clicking on text on the SERPs provides additional information. “Why these cars?” lets users know how the cars were chosen and discloses that some dealers pay for listings.
Clicking on “Incentives,” reveals information about incentives — if any — available on the particular vehicle.
Clicking on the “Pricing” lets users see further information including the invoice price, MSRP and the typical prices actually being charged in their region.
Once users have narrowed things down, they can contact the dealer by either asking for a callback, calling the dealer, or emailing the dealer (or even multiple dealers at one time). It appears Google is provisioning the telephone numbers like with their other Advisor products, so leads can be tracked.
The car advisor product is similar to others Google has been rolling out lately. The company recently changed its model for shopping search, following efforts to consolidate its approach in the flights, hotels and financial services verticals. We’re making inquiries with Google about how advertisers are being charged for this product, but it seems like a cost-per-lead model would make sense.