December 20 2018
What are Local Service Ads?
Local Service Ads are unique listings created by Google for specific local service industries. This ad type initially started as a Google Ads Beta Test in the San Francisco area back in 2015 and was officially rolled out in 17 major cities back in November 2017. Over the last year, they have expanded across the US and are open to a variety of different service-based local businesses.
When a potential customer searches for local service provider, they will be shown a number of Google Guaranteed Businesses that match their query and location. Each business listing includes business ratings, hours, service area, phone number and number of bookings. From there, the user can click or tap on an ad to either call or message the selected business.
Another option is to click on “More locksmiths Link” where the user is taken to a separate results page which lists all participating local service businesses, along with a drop-down menu of relevant services next to a zip code look-up.
These ads are also different from other ad types in the following ways:
- Businesses pay by the number of leads they receive, not by the typical cost per click model of Paid Search Ads.
- Ads are not targeted by keyword, they are targeted by job type.
- Impressions are based on your business’s proximity to the search, your business hours and your company’s review score & responsiveness to the messages & calls coming in through Local Service Ads.
- In addition to the factors above, Google will attempt to spread out the leads you receive over time. This is to prevent you from spending your entire budget too early in the month. If your ad is generating leads more quickly than your budget can accommodate, you may see your ranking affected or your ad paused temporarily in order to more evenly spread out your leads and designated spend.
- Service Providers utilizing Local Service Ads are given access to a special dashboard and mobile app where they manage and communicate with their incoming leads.
Where Are Local Service Ads Shown?
Local Service Ads are shown at the top of Google Search results, above the map listings and any regular PPC ad formats. Meaning, they take up prime real estate within the search results.
The image above illustrates some of the most popular desktop & tablet screen sizes and their relative “folds”.
The impact is even more significant on mobile devices where space is already limited by screen size. The examples below show Local Service Ads taking up a majority of the space across 4 different mobile devices.
If results include Local Service Ads, Paid Search Ads and Maps Results, the results page requires multiple swipes to get to an organic website listing.
Whether your audience uses an iPhone or an android, if they are doing a search that has local service ads in the results, ads are all they will be seeing above the fold.
Who are Local Service Ads available to?
For now, Local Services Ads are only available for certain professional service categories and areas in the US.
- Carpet cleaners
- House cleaners
- Garage door services
However, there are additional categories being tested in some California markets including auto glass repair, auto repair, general contractors, junk removal, house cleaners, tutors, roadside assistance, handyman, painters, pet groomers, pet daycare/boarding.
Since this is being updated on a continual basis, we recommend checking your eligibility on Google’s local service ads signup page to see if Local Service Ads are available for your business and in your area.
How do I set Local Service Ads up for my business?
Since your business will be shown with the Google Guarantee, the vetting and approval process is fairly in-depth (in our experience, it can take up to a few months).
The process begins with a background check that includes submitting everything from your field workers (anyone from your business that would be visiting a client’s location), your business licenses and insurance information. From there, you would apply through the Google Ads platform to let them know that your background check was submitted.
You will also need to create a Local Services profile & Local Service Ads within Google Ads (or, if you’re a client of TopSpot’s, we can assist with this process as well).
You can also read more about the full setup process & view Google’s resources in the Local Services section of their website.
Why should I set up Local Service Ads for my business?
We’ll admit, the setup process (for now) is fairly intensive, but the real estate you’re gaining by doing so is proving to be worth it so far. Not only will your Google Guaranteed Business be shown at the top of the search results, but you’ll be put in front of potential customers who are searching for the exact services you provide. You will only hear from (and pay for) customers who have specifically selected your profile out of all the rest.
Most importantly, the results we are seeing are great and more budget-friendly for small businesses trying to advertise in highly competitive markets. While this may change as the Local Service Ads offering expands to more businesses, to date, the average cost per lead is reported as being anywhere from $10 to $26, based on the vertical.
As the search landscape continues to evolve, it’s important to take note of Google’s focus with each new update they make. Local Service Ads, in particular, are geared towards not only providing a good search experience for their users by providing results based on service type, location and business hours, but also connecting their users to businesses who have a good reputation of providing a great customer experience by taking the business’s online reviews into account.
Focusing on your business’s customer service efforts and overall customer experience is an important trend that we believe will continue to be at the forefront of Google’s strategies for increasing and maintaining its market share moving forward.