What’s New with Google’s Local Search Ads?

Street Map with Pinned Location

A few months ago, Google announced they were making some changes to their local search ads. Now that these changes have rolled out, we thought it would be a good time for a refresher on what local search ads are, who should be using them, and what changed in the recent months.

What Are Local Search Ads?

These ads appear when you search in Google Maps on a phone or other device for something near you: essentially, Google will boost your business’s placement on a page with local search results.

Demonstration of Google's local search ads

Because they’re targeted to users in the geographic area, these ads make the most sense for brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, rental agencies, flower shops, clothing stores, pest control companies, etc. Essentially, any walk-in storefront or service industry business with a local service area is fair game.

Despite the proliferation of online shopping, there are plenty of consumers running out to physical stores for things they can’t get (or don’t want to wait for) from an online store. As of 2018, Google Maps was bringing its users to 1.5 billion destinations annually. That’s a lot of room for a well-placed ad to drive traffic.

What Has Google Changed? 

One new feature is the Promoted Pin, a purple pin that appears on the advertiser’s business and alerts potential customers to coupons and currently running deals as well as their distance, hours, and reviews.  

Another related feature are inventory ad campaigns: these ad campaigns let users know what specific items you have in stock. You submit an “incremental item feed” to Google to let them know as items come in and out of stock as the day goes on.  

There are also newly customizable company pages in Google My Business, enabling business owners to create an informational (and flattering) picture for Google to show users looking for reviews, hours, photos, etc. 

These are some of the more notable changes, but they aren’t the only ones, and we encourage any business with a storefront to spend a little time reading about the opportunities provided by local search ads.

Get in touch if you’d like to consult on a strategy or get more information about how your company can run a successful local ad campaign.  

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