Whether you noticed or not, Google has changed the game when it comes to local search. Recently, the search giant began incorporating paid ads into its Google Maps offering, a move that increases paid real estate substantially.
Industry observers anticipate the move will have its greatest impact on brick-and-mortar establishments, and Google has described the ads as being no less than “the next generation” of paid search. Here’s what local businesses need to know about Google’s new local search ads.
Advantages of Google Maps Local Search Ads
Even now, marketers everywhere are scrambling to ensure their clients’ presences in Google Maps, and these placements are all but guaranteed to increase traffic and phone calls. This new ad channel offers a number of distinct advantages, including:
Laser-targeting for eligible consumers performing active searches in your local area
Increased clicks and conversions
Higher ability to compete with prominent competitors who have a strong Google Maps presence
How Google Maps Local Search Ads Work
Google’s new local search ads take advantage of the most powerful tool in the local SEO arsenal. As opposed to traditional paid search ads (which recently have undergone significant changes of their own), local search ads appear directly in expanded Google Maps searches and results.
The ads also appear in the Google Maps mobile search app beneath the map box. As you can see, local search ad results are given priority over organic search results, and paid local search destinations are differentiated from other results with a purple — instead of red — map marker.
For now, the local search packs (which appear in SERPs beneath paid ads) will remain without ads. However, Google already confirmed in June at SMX Advanced that paid ads will be coming to the Local Pack sometime in the near future.
What this Means for Existing and Prospective LeadBuilder® Clients
With more than 1 billion users on Google Search and on Google Maps, this new ad offering amplifies your ability to reach consumers as they interact with the physical world. This is the case, no matter if they’re searching for a nearby electrician or browsing the map for the nearest HVAC company.
Because we’re constantly monitoring new trends, our performance marketing team already has been working to create an orderly transition for our clients’ campaigns. In order for ads to become eligible for Google Maps, advertisers must sync each AdWords account to their Google My Business pages. The team is moving through this process quickly, and we expect to have this accomplished for all clients before the month is over.
As the ever-changing paid search landscape continues to evolve, the LeadBuilder® performance marketing team is here to keep pace with those changes and ensure top performance for our clients. At this point, we are not expecting the need for additional budgets or drastic performance changes. In the weeks and months to come, though, rest assured that we will keep you informed as we start to analyze the data and its results.
Hansel Merchor manages the LeadBuilder® performance marketing team. He’s widely experienced on overall performance marketing, regional, local and international lead generation, branding, media planning and media buying, retargeting, attribution models, social media as well as e-commerce on nationwide and international SEM campaigns.
Images via Google.com