Think of the last time you were out and about and found yourself in need of a good or service. Maybe you weren’t familiar with the area or just wanted to find the closest location. Our first instinct is to Google the answer, and with the Local 4-Pack, you are able to see at a glance a map with a selection of results for your area. In just a few clicks, you are connected with hours, directions, contact information and reviews. Clicking through on any of these results or on the More Places link sends you through to a larger map of your area and a fuller listing of applicable results for your area.
Imagine you are a business owner and you want to drive foot traffic into your location. You have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, and keep it up to date and well maintained. You also have Google AdSense set up to run search and display ads and have them targeted to your local area. Now you are ready to take your advertising to the next level. By linking your GMB to your AdWords and enabling location extensions, you have the option to start advertising directly into these local search results.
First announced in 2016 and rolled out in various forms through 2017, Google’s Local Pack Ads (also known as Local Search Ads) have begun to effectively integrate themselves into online advertising. Oddly enough, while these have become increasingly popular in America, we are just starting to see these sorts of ads show up in the Canadian marketing scene.
Google touts Local Pack Ads as having 3 key benefits…
Increasing Visits to Your Business
This is can be an awesome advantage for restaurants and boutique shops that want to able to target the foot traffic in their area or a home service that needs to be accessed on a tight time frame. A lot of our shopping has moved online, and while this can be an amazing everyday convenience, it does have its limitations. While a customer might research a big ticket item online, at the end of the day, going into brick and mortar store can be necessary. When these kinds of purchases happen its important for your customers to know you are in their area and ready to serve. Being listed before organic listings can help ensure your business is getting the impressions that might otherwise be lost.
Encourages Communication with Convenient Contact Options
On both Mobile Search and the Google Maps App platforms, the local search results have prominent call buttons that allow the customer to easily contact your business from the search results page. Note that this call information is linked directly to your Google My Business Listing, so its vital that this information is up to date. Additionally, this information is not trackable through Google Analytics as you might assume after working with call extensions within AdWords. This information is instead available to track through your AdWords account under click attribution. While this option is not available on Desktop, those customers instead have the option to click through to your website’s home page. Clicking through the ad will bring them to your GMB Listing, which then makes contact information available.
One-Click Overview of Your Business
When the client clicks on your ad, instead of being automatically linked through to your website, it will open your Google Business Listing. It allows the customer to get an overview of your business at a glance. Your location, hours, starred reviews, and the map are shown, as well as sections for Q&A, peak hours, and photos. The option to click through to your website and get directions are also available. This is the chance for the customer to get to know more about your business, and in particular, how your business interacts with its community.
While what Google has to say is true, its important not to let the flash of a new advertising option run away with our imagination. Its still a relatively new feature, and there are some outstanding questions on how quality score and keywords effect ad auction and position. This is a great new opportunity, and they are uniquely positioned to reach customers that are lower in the purchasing funnel, like customers that know what they want or need, and are now looking for a place to purchase it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these ads are in their element when it comes to businesses that are looking to capitalize on spur-of-the-moment transactions. It’s also important to remember that the success of Google’s Local Pack Ads hinges on the businesses interaction within their GMB account. Are the hours up to date; are reviews being replied to; are the questions being answered; are there recent photos and updates? You need to provide the customer with a good experience when they go to interact with your listing, because in some cases it might be the only online interaction they have with you.
At the end of the day, we should be viewing Google’s Local Pack Ads as a fantastic added feature, and not a new marketing strategy. If you already use both GMB and AdWords on a regular basis, it is a great opportunity to capture more advertising space in your immediate proximity. Interested in learning more about the benefits of Google’s Local Pack Ads? Get in touch with us at Strathcom to learn more.