How to Use Gmail and Discovery Ads to Boost Used Vehicle Advertising

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How to Use Gmail and Discovery Ads to Boost Used Vehicle Advertising

It is no secret that new vehicle inventory has been an issue in the world of automotive. In recent months, that same issue has been bleeding over to the Used Vehicle department. The bids for used inventory are now almost on par with the current housing market. As time goes on, it becomes harder to justify the costs of most advertising outlets. Dealers are more reliant than ever for their advertising partners to proactively provide solutions to maximize their ROI.

This is where Gmail should come into the conversation. Gmail is an underutilized ad tool that could provide an advantage for dealers.

What is Gmail Advertising?

Gmail Advertising is an advertising channel with flexible reach and messaging. It shows users fully loaded ads in their Gmail promotions inboxes.

What is the Value?

Gmail advertising provides several benefits. Gmail allows you to reach relevant shoppers away from the competitiveness of the SERP. We have seen Gmail in the automotive space have a cost per engagement of $.25 and an open rate of over 20% over 12 months.

Gmail is often compared to search, but a better comparison is to an email blast for consumers not in a dealer’s CRM. Research shows that consumers browsing through the promotions tab are already in “shopping mode” and receptive to offers.

Gmail advertising also allows you to target Used Vehicle In-Market shoppers with a specific targeted message. This enables you to develop custom strategies and promote unique sales events to empower dealers to get more creative.

Consider Your Target Audience

Gmail is one of the most popular email providers in the U.S., and with ads placed in the promotions tab, this allows for a unique opportunity to reach price-conscious shoppers. These ads can then be further qualified by leveraging the full array of Google audiences, including custom intent (past search behavior), website audiences (remarketing or lookalikes), Google’s first-party audiences (in-market and affinity audiences), and for customer lists like a traditional email effort.

What are Discovery Ads?

Google Discovery Ads are the visual content ads that you see on the Google and YouTube homepages as well as in Gmail. These two products together are a recipe for success in a relatively untapped area of digital advertising.

What is the Value?

Just as ads in Gmail are a cost-effective replacement to a portion of your search budget, discovery ads are the cost-effective replacement to a portion of your social budget. Social avenues have quickly become the dominant force in the market for behavioral and audience targeting. But with the average Facebook CPC around $1.70, the $.33 CPC of discovery ads are starting to attract advertisers from every industry.

Discovery Ads are also a significant upgrade over your typical Google Display ads. These ads allow dealers to tell more of a story within the ad than the display ads that often get overlooked or placed in effective placements. Targeting audiences based on what they have searched in Google recently gives Discovery ads another huge advantage over other digital ad products.

Discovery Ad on Phone

Be Prepared for Updates


Gmail is migrating into Discovery Ads on July 1, 2021. This means you will no longer be able to create a standalone Gmail ad campaign. Instead, you will need to create a Discovery ad campaign, and your ads will deliver in Gmail as they did as a standalone ad unit as well as on the Google and YouTube homepages.

How Your Strategy Will Change with This Migration

As Google makes the transition to Discovery ads, Gmail Ads will become an additional piece to a much larger display ad puzzle. We can expect that with any increase in placements, there will be more opportunities to find price-conscious shoppers and deliver a meaningful ad that will have positive outcomes for our automotive customers. As early adopters to this new ad format, you will be able to take full advantage of reaching shoppers before they reach the consideration phase with another dealership.

Tying It All Back to Your Used Vehicle Ad Strategy

Used Vehicles attract a niche shopping market that not all ad tools are equipped to target. Using Gmail and Discovery ads provides a cost-friendly and effective solution to maintain or improve the level of engagement to your site from used car shoppers without losing ROI on your advertising investment, using Gmail and Discovery ads provides a cost-friendly and effective solution. Premium price-sensitive ad placements can target used vehicle shoppers for a low cost. Even allocating a modest 10-20% of your digital advertising budget to these channels should pay dividends quickly by diversifying your media portfolio. Again, this is a very underutilized product, so the sooner you can become the dominant force in this area, the better it will be for your dealership.

Have we piqued your interest? Sincro can help you reach your advertising goals. Reach out to your digital advertising representative or info@sincrodigital.com and get started today.

David Ridenour is a Digital Advertising Team Lead at Sincro. David has been working to master his craft in digital advertising for the past eight years. He has spent the majority of that time working specifically in the automotive industry, where he has continuously developed innovative and effective advertising strategies for auto dealers all across the country. When David isn’t busy chasing his twin 2-year-old boys around, he spends most of his not-so-free time watching sports or enjoying the summer days at the lake.


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