Are you aware of the new strategy to pinpoint users ready to buy from your business? Google’s Performance Summit held in late May ushered some exciting new changes that further cement the value of Pay Per Click (PPC) strategy in connecting with the modern consumer. Chief among these changes is the transformation of the Google Maps program to expand paid advertising space for businesses with a physical location. Google first introduced paid ads into Google Maps in 2013 to help bridge the gap between consumer’s online and offline worlds, and with the service now having racked up 1 billion confirmed app downloads, the update is wonderful news for businesses looking to boost their profile and sales.
Why the change?
The changes have been prompted by the release of some landmark statistics which demonstrate the sheer growth of mobile traffic and the need for marketers to adapt to user’s preferences. For example, over half of all web traffic now comes from smart phones and tablets instead of desktop searches. Furthermore, almost one third of all mobile searches on Google relate to location, whilst location-related searches on mobile devices are growing 50% faster than general mobile searches. These trends make it clear that marketers cannot ignore the power of mobile search and signals a natural transition for marketers to better cater to how users are using the internet.
How can it benefit you?
The purpose of these changes is to drive inquiries and foot traffic to your physical location. Until now, Google Maps has remained largely untapped in terms of advertising potential despite it being prime real estate space; not only in terms of reach, but the audience quality. Imagine serving an ad for your business when a user is on the move and specifically looking to find and visit a service provider or retailer. Google Maps users can be described as that coveted audience in the last phase of the purchase cycle, meaning they are more likely to convert and therefore a prime target for marketers.
Where will the new ads be displayed?
The new local search ads will be featured across the Google Maps network, including the Google Maps app, mobile, desktop, and tablet sites, and Google’s Expanded Maps results.
If doing a search within the Google Maps app, a single ad with a purple ad label will display in the top spot and above any organic search results. For searches within google.com.au/maps, Google will show a maximum of two ads with a purple ad label at the top of the search results.
What does/will it look like?
The new local search ads will be visible through a variety of formats and features, including promoted pins, customizable business pages, local inventory search and in-store promotion options.
Business Pages: Revised business listing pages will now offer greater customisation to encourage users to visit your location. This includes the ability to offer special promotions and a tool to check stock inventory before they even arrive.
Promoted Pins: Ads that appear in the form of a Google Maps pin drop whilst users navigate a map search. Pins will be coloured purple and branded with your logo.
Local Inventory Search: Allows you to upload product/stock availability information. Google data indicates that 1 in 4 people avoid visiting stores because they are unsure if a specific product is in stock. By allowing users to browse items beforehand, you can remove this guesswork towards improving your conversion rate.
In-Store Promotion: The opportunity to feature specials/discounts on particular products to offer customers an incentive to visit.
When can I start using them?
Local search ads are still in the beta testing phase, but will continue to rollout over the coming months. To use this feature, the first step is to have your AdWords account linked to your Google My Business page and location extensions must be enabled.
This is a massive development and will become a key tool in the marketer’s arsenal. If you are a business with a fixed location(s) and have not begun to prepare your strategy for the new local search ads, you are on the back foot and doing yourself a disservice. Building your mobile profile is a priority, so for more information on how to harness these exciting features and get a leg up on your competition, give us a call on 1300 766 665!