Introduction: What Are Local Service Ads?
It’s true, some industries have a harder time seeing success from traditional pay-per-click advertising. CPCs can be extremely high, competition can be fierce, and you may very well be paying for clicks that rarely materialize in business. Naturally, Google has a new solution. Google Local Service ads are a new form of advertising in both traditional SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and Google Assistant. These ads appear at the very top of the SERP above even traditional ads, and are a part of a whole new platform aimed at the service industry.
A Whole New Platform
Local Service goes beyond ads. It’s actually a whole new platform for a potential customer to learn about your business, see your hours and services, contact you, and leave a review all in the same place. It functions like a Google My Business and Google Ads hybrid of sorts.
Industries & Locations
As this is a new product, it is not available everywhere and for everyone just yet. We’ve only recently started seeing these ads pop up for industries in our area. Thankfully, Google has a helpful page where you can check the availability for your area and service. If Local Service Ads haven’t reached you yet, don’t worry! Google is rapidly expanding this service and may reach your area soon.
Well, Sign Me Up!
Not so fast. The sign-up process for Local Service Ads is actually fairly thorough. Unlike Google Ads, it’s not just the simple matter of creating an ad and adding your credit card. Businesses that wish to be featured must go through a screening and qualification process. This process is free, and includes a background check, insurance check, and license check. Requirements do vary by business type, and you can check this page to see exactly what will be required from your business in order to sign up.
How Does The Advertising Work?
There are some major benefits that Local Service Ads give over traditional PPC, one of which is the method in which you are charged. Unlike traditional digital advertising, you are only charged for each lead you get. You are still tasked with turning that lead into actual business, but you are only charged when someone calls your number or sends you a message on the platform. Budget setting is very simple. Using a slider, you can see a hypothetical amount of leads you would like to receive in a week, along with an estimation of how much those leads would cost. Adjust the slider up to spend more and get more leads, and adjust it down to spend less and receive less leads.
Another benefit is the platform’s hands-off approach to targeting. During setup, you will have to select services that your company offers out of a list. From this list, Google will show your ad in SERPs for searches that relate to your offered services.
There is a method to what may seem like madness to this particular brand of targeting. Your ads will be ranked higher or lower than competitors depending on your location in relation to the searcher, the number and quality of reviews that you have, business hours, responsiveness to leads, and the number and severity of complaints against your business.
The number of ads shown varies on device and platform. Desktop will see three ads, mobile will see two, and Google Assistant will see one.
More than just a new ad type, Local Service Ads are a whole new platform to help you garner qualified impressions where you pay only for leads you receive. It’s yet to be seen how quality the traffic is, as there’s no way to control what searches you will get impressions for, but such is advertising with Google these days. What we do know is, aside from the rather rigorous vetting process it takes to get into this program, it seems to be a fairly simple and new way to increase your real estate and business within the SERP.
As always, Searchalytics would love to partner with you to help you win your local market. If you are interested in seeing how our advertising experts can help you and your business grow, contact us and get a free quote today!