Interactive Inventory Ads for General Motors

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CDK Global deploys thousands of retargeting ads designed to target “In-Market” vehicle shoppers every day. For this project I lead design efforts for a new multi-brand 2-frame ad template for our client, General Motors. Working closely with the client, account managers, developers and strategists, we successfully launched a new scalable, model-focused ad type for the Chevy, Buick and GMC LMA markets. Frame 1 is an editable message/offer and frame 2 is a dynamic offer feed. The UI components control both the inventory scroll and movement between the offer and inventory frames.


My Objective

My objective as design lead for this project was to partner with other internal stakeholders and our GM client to create a flexible and compliant ad template that supported the client’s brand and campaign goals. My design user will be the account strategists who configure and implement the ads month-over month for Tier 2 campaigns.

Business Objective

Create a brand-agnostic ad framework that can support 3 GM brands — Buick, Chevy and GMC. The framework will be built into 3 separate ad templates and will need to be brand-compliant for each respective brand. The templates need to support a “model-focused” offer and inventory feed. Strategist will customize, configure and deploy each OEM ad template for their respective LMA (Tier 2 Regional) market campaigns.


Simple Sketches

Low resolution sketches of flow and wireframes to help visualize the user’s interactions and component layout.


Challenges:

The three main challenges I identified were:

  1. A scalable design that works within the guardrails of our platform that is easy to use by internal account strategists.

  2. Create a baseline framework that can be skinned by brand to meet OEM compliancy standards.

  3. Ads need to be customizable and model-specific.


Challenge #1 – Scalable with guardrails

We support a large customer base of dealerships across the country divided into regions. These ads are targeted to in-market (tagged) car shoppers at a local level. CDK’s system identifies the region and local dealership then makes a database call to feed in the appropriate content into the ad in real time — LMA Logo, Dealer name and custom offer messaging, etc.

Layout:

I designed a layout that supports the common and required components across OEMs. Logo and text areas are large enough to be identifiable and readable by the user.

Content:

The inventory frame feeds targeted model-specific vehicles that are available for purchase local to the ad recipient. The ad framework supports a vehicle thumbnail and price that is large enough to entice a user to click through to dealership website. I designed the message/offer frame to be easily customizable by the internal strategist. Model images and  backgrounds are available for implementing into the ad easily for a custom look and feel but maintaining scalability.

Interaction and Functionality:

The template is designed to support a custom-appended URL CTA (configured by strategist) and UI components that assist the user in scrolling through inventory and clicking through to a vehicle details page. UI control are designed to be simple and intuitive to the user.


Challenge #3 – Model Specific

What makes this new ad type unique is its hybrid functionality — model offer message + inventory feed. Traditionally we deploy 2 different types of LMA ads (Offer ads and Inventory ads). This new ad type helps marry those 2 types and focus on model specific messaging and real  localized inventory feeds.

The account manager identifies and requests several “core” models to use for the ad. I designed the ad to use OEM lifestyle imagery that is custom sized for each ad size per model. A library of images is built out and delivered to AMs and strategists for implementation.


Challenge #2 – Framework

Ad template framework must be flexible enough to support skinning into 3 different brand versions. Each branded template must meet OEM compliancy standards at its base level and at scale — meaning each ad unit that has been dealerized passes compliancy.

To do this individual LMA logos are loaded into our internal tool, all fonts and imagery is selected from OEM ad planners and sized to fit our ad sizes. Messaging and offer incentives are implemented by account managers and strategist who implement the ads.




Wireframes


Retrospective

Looking back on this project, I am thankful that I was working with a team of motivated professionals to deliver a great product to our client. The ad template was a big win! Agency account managers are currently planning to release versions of this ad to be used by our other OEMs outside of the General Motors space.

Client Approvals

Mocks were sent to account reps at each OEM for approvals. A few rounds of revisions and tweaks were made until final approvals are passed. This is the process for all ad templates I build. Usually, no matter how well researched and designed the initial mocks are, a client likes to fine tune details then iterations are made before final approvals come through and the template moves into development.


The Result

Various Sizes

Billboard Ad Size (970×250)