What are these new Local Services Ads from Google? And how can your business take advantage of them? Read on to learn about this disruptive new innovation.
Google rolled out Local Service ads in 30 cities in the US during Q4 2017. These ads are in the top position—above paid search, maps, and organic listings—and rather than using the cost-per-click model of AdWords, these ads are cost-per-lead. With just three placements available with eye-catching details like “GOOGLE GUARANTEED” and business’ star ratings, Local Service Ads are going to be a real game changer.
To be sure you make the right decisions for your business when considering Local Service ads, you need to understand these five details:
1. Cities Where Local Service Ads are Live
Google is starting Local Service ads in just 30 US metropolitan areas.
|Atlanta, GA||Baltimore, MD||Boston, MA|
|Charlotte, NC||Chicago, IL||Cincinnati, OH|
|Dallas, TX||Denver, CO||Detroit, MI|
|Houston, TX||Las Vegas, NV||Los Angeles, CA|
|Miami, FL||Minneapolis, MN||New York, NY|
|Orlando, FL||Philadelphia, PA||Phoenix, AZ|
|Pittsburgh, PA||Portland, OR||Riverside, CA|
|San Antonio, TX||San Diego, CA||Seattle, WA|
|SF Bay Area, CA||Sacramento, CA||St. Louis, MO|
|Tampa, FL||Stockton, CA||Washington, DC|
First, you’ll need to confirm that Local Service ads are even an option for your market. Then, as part of setup, you’ll define your specific service area within that metro. This is done at a zip code level. The searchers proximity to your service areas plays a major factor in whether or not you’ll show an ad in the top three positions, so getting this right is key!
2. Google Guaranteed Badges
Any HVAC company can use Local Service ads, but the winners will be those who achieve the Google Guaranteed badge. Appearing in all caps, the badge is a huge trust indicator—and it’s another of the ranking factors for your business to appear in one of the top three Local Service ad positions.
Google introduced the Guarantee badge to eliminate illegitimate companies from scamming consumers and poaching business from legitimate HVAC companies like yours. To get a Google Guaranteed badge for your company, you’ll have to provide evidence of your professionalism and high standards. This includes:
- Background checks. Three levels of background checks are currently required
- One on the business entity
- One on the business owner
- One on every field employee
- Proof of insurance
- Business license details including license type, expiration date, and license number
Getting this information together can be a bit of an ordeal, especially if you have a sizable field staff. But unfortunately, it is the only way to get the Google Guarantee badge. In our experience, once you complete the documentation, it takes two or three weeks for the badge to be added to a business account.
3. What You Pay For (and How Much)
Businesses using Local Service ads will set a weekly budget for the total number of leads they are willing to pay for. HVAC costs-per-lead vary slightly by market. At the time of publication, rates were as follows:
|Cost Per Lead||Cities|
|$22||Boston, Pittsburgh, Portland|
|$24||Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Seattle, St. Louis|
|$25||Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Riverside, San Antonio, San Diego, Los Angeles, SF Bay Area, Sacramento, Stockton, Washington, DC|
|$26||Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa|
So what does your ~$25/lead get you? A phone call from a specific, tracked Google phone number. If you get a phone call through Google Local Service ads and it isn’t valid, you can immediately dispute it and get your money back.
4. How Someone Becomes a Lead
This sounds boring, but this is important! People click on Local Service ads because the ads are well positioned, and users feel safe with that Google Guaranteed badge and star rating. But when someone clicks, they will go to a Google page that confirms a match between your business’ service area and service type. The lead converts then and there.
Did you catch that? They never go to your website. They never see your logo. They might not even remember your name. And they will find another company if they don’t get the quick follow up they expect. That makes it imperative for you to be on top of your follow up with Local Service ad leads.
5. The Role of Reviews
You’ve always known reviews play a role in your business success, but Google is now bringing reviews front and center.
If you want to run Local Service ads and you’ve only got a handful of reviews—or if your Google review score is fewer than four stars—you need to make changes stat! In addition to being prominent visually, Google’s star rating and the number of reviews you receive are determining ad rank for Local Service ads. Take a look at the three businesses showing in those key positions in your community, and my hunch is that all the ads showing are for businesses with five or four-and-a-half stars.
Need Some Help?
Want help with your Google Guaranteed badge and getting Local Services ads running in your market? Interested to know how these ads fit in with your current digital advertising strategy? Let the Adpearance team dig into your current marketing and give you our recommendations on this new Google innovation. Request a free digital marketing analysis with one of our local marketing consultants to learn how we can help. Sign up is easy and the analysis will only take about 30 minutes. Adpearance successfully helps over 1,000 local businesses with their digital marketing, and we know we can help you too.