At its core, Google Service Ads, often referred to as Local Service Ads, act as a bridge connecting local service providers with potential consumers directly through Google’s search results.
Unlike traditional advertisements that take users to a website or a landing page, these ads lead to direct communication, such as a phone call, facilitating a more immediate connection between the provider and the potential client.
The modern consumer wants quick, reliable services. They’re no longer looking just for products; they’re seeking solutions. Google Service Ads, with their immediate format and Google’s backing, perfectly cater to this new consumer behavior. They’re not merely ads; they’re vetted service recommendations.
Before diving deeper into the intricacies of Google Service Ads, it’s crucial to understand the landscape they operate in. Google Service Ads, though relatively newer, have made their mark quickly.
I will take you through the why and how ensuring you have a holistic understanding by the end.
Table of Contents
What are Google Service Ads?
Google Service Ads, or Local Service Ads (LSAs), aren’t your traditional online advertisements. Unlike standard Google Ads that direct users to a website or a specific landing page, LSAs are designed to get local businesses in front of potential customers at the exact moment they’re looking for a particular service. When clicked, they often lead directly to a phone call or a booking interface, streamlining the process for immediate conversions.
How They Stand Out from Traditional PPC Google Ads
One of the prime distinctions is their position in search results. LSAs generally appear at the very top, even before traditional PPC ads, giving them premium visibility.
While PPC ads might have a headline, description, and URL, LSAs have a business’s name, its reviews and ratings, a clickable phone number, and often, the coveted “Google Guaranteed” badge.
PPC ads rely on clicks to direct users to a page where they might convert. LSAs, on the other hand, are tailored for immediate action, often leading directly to phone calls, messages, or a booking gateway. That’s way you pay for leads, not for clicks.
The Essence of Google Service Ads
LSAs are inherently local. They’re about connecting people to services in their vicinity, emphasizing the relevance and immediacy of the connection. When a user searches for “electrician near me,” they’re not looking to read articles or explore websites; they’re likely facing an issue they want resolved ASAP. LSAs tap into this urgency.
Google doesn’t let just any business utilize LSAs. There’s a screening process, which we’ll explore later, ensuring users are connected with credible and reliable service providers. This curation enhances trust and increases the likelihood of conversions.
The Evolution of Google Service Ads
As search trends evolved, Google recognized the growing importance of local search queries. With millions searching for local services daily, there was an evident need to cater to this demand more effectively than traditional ads.
This graph compares two searches “repair shop” and “repair shop near me”.
As you can see, people search for services “near me” a lot more often.
Initially introduced as a pilot in select regions, Google Service Ads were targeted towards a few service categories. Their success led to a broader rollout and the inclusion of diverse service sectors.
Key Milestones in LSA Development
From its pilot cities, LSAs have now expanded to numerous regions across several countries, making it a global feature of Google’s advertising suite. Although not available in all countries.
At the time of writing this post, LSAs are available in:
- United States
- United Kingdom
But there’s a caveat. You must still enter your details to see if that particular area, state, or zip code can display local service ads.
What began with a few service sectors like plumbers and electricians has now grown to include tutors, real estate agents, financial planners, and more. You can find a list of available services here. Remember, that it will be different per country.
To further instill trust and encourage users to engage with LSAs, Google introduced the “Google Guarantee” badge, which promises assurance regarding the quality of service. You might have notice in the screenshots above.
Recognizing the trend of users wanting to take immediate action, Google integrated direct booking features, further simplifying the user journey from search to service procurement.
Modern Features and Enhancements
Just like for search results, Google has incorporated advanced filtering options for LSAs aswell, allowing users to find the perfect service provider matching their specific needs. If you click on any local service ad, you will be taken to additional filters.
With mobile search queries surpassing desktop, LSAs have been optimized to look and perform seamlessly across devices.
How Do Google Service Ads Work?
We established that Local Service Ads occupy the prime search real estate. They appear at the very top, higher than your usual search ads.
They are also very compact, providing just enough information for you to make a decision. The business name, rating, service area, and the potential “Google Guaranteed” badge include key elements.
Call to action
Every marketer knows that the ad has to have a call to action. Users have to know what to do next if they like the ad.
Well, local service ads have two types of call to action: click-to-call and message/book.
Click-to-call might be familiar as Google had call-only ads for a while. And search ads also have a call extension which lets you call by clicking on the ad while browsing on your mobile device.
Depending on the business preferences and settings, users can also send a message directly or book a service right from the ad.
Some LSAs provide additional details on the services offered and their pricing, giving users a clear idea before proceeding.
How Google Determines LSA Placement
Let’s look at how Google decides where to put your local service ad. There are several factor taken into account here:
Bid Amount. Similar to traditional PPC ads, the amount you’re willing to pay (your bid) plays a role in your ad’s placement. However, it’s not the only factor.
Business Reputation. Ratings and reviews are crucial. Businesses with higher ratings and more positive reviews tend to get better placements.
Responsiveness. How promptly and effectively you respond to leads and inquiries can also influence your ad’s placement.
Relevance. Google assesses the relevance of your services to the user’s query. The more relevant your offerings, the higher the chances of your ad being displayed.
Tracking and Analytics
As any ads expert will tell you, analytics is one of the most essential things in digital marketing. If you can’t see how your ads perform, there is no way you can improve them.
Google is no stranger to analytics. They understand the importance of tracking everything.
In your account, you can see how many bookings you have from your ads, how much money you spent, and for how many leads you were charged.
I mentioned that you are paying for a lead, not a click. For each valid lead you receive through your Local Services ad, you get charged. Lead prices may vary depending on your location, job type, lead type, or bidding mode, but each lead received will count toward your budget.
Once you’ve reached your monthly max, your ad won’t appear for the remainder of the month (unless you adjust your budget).
Setting Up Your Google Service Ads
Prerequisites for Setting up LSAs
You must ensure you have a few things before setting up your local service ads. These are:
Business Profile: Ensure you have an updated and accurate Google My Business (GMB) profile, which forms your LSA’s backbone.
Service Area & Category: Clearly define your service area and select the most accurate service category to match user queries better. Just take a minute beforehand to think about it.
License and Insurance: For most service categories, Google requires valid proof of business licenses and insurance, ensuring you’re qualified to provide the services you’re advertising. Have digital copies of your documents at hand.
Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up LSAs
Setting Local Service Ads is very easy. Trust me, they are no Search Ads. You can start by going Local Service Ads link. Click Get Started.
You may already have Google Ads account, so you can use the same email. Otherwise, just select to create new account.
Next you will have to fill in your business details. This shouldn’t be hard if you’re the business owner.
Then Google will ask you to select your service area. This can be only one area, or in the example bellow two areas.
After that you will have to select the services you provide. I recommend select all that apply. Don’t skim on this.
Next, business hours. You will have to uncheck the box to see the time selections.
Then, you should see a preview of your ad. There’s nothing you can do here so click Next.
After you click next you will get this pop up. Make sure your contact information is correct.
In this step you will have to provide additional information about your business, so Google can check it and verify.
Lastly, you will end up in your dashboard. I suggest leaving everything as is until you get verified.
That’s it. Now you have to wait until Google verifies your business.
Google Guarantee and Background Check
To earn the Google Guarantee badge, you must undergo a background check. This varies based on your region and service category.
Depending on the service category, the business owner or the business will undergo a background check. This is typically carried out by third-party agencies associated with Google.
Once you pass the background check, the Google Guarantee badge is activated for your ad. This badge boosts trust and provides insurance for your services up to a certain amount.
If you’re backed by the Google Guarantee, and your customers aren’t satisfied with the quality of your work, Google may reimburse the customer up to the amount paid for the initial service, subject to a lifetime limit.
Suppose a customer is not satisfied with the quality of your work. In that case, Google may, reimburse the customer up to the amount on the job invoice for the initial services provided by you, up to a lifetime limit.
Maximizing Return on Investment (ROI) with LSAs
Budgeting and Bidding Strategy
Determining Your Lead Value: Before setting a budget, calculate the average value of a lead for your business. This involves assessing the average conversion rate and the average value of a sale or job.
Setting the Right Budget: Your weekly budget should reflect both the desired number of leads and the value of those leads. Remember, LSAs charge per lead.
Adjust Bidding Based on Competition: Regularly assess how many businesses are competing for the same service keywords in your area. This can guide whether to increase or decrease your bid.
How your ad looks?
Even though there is not a lot you can do as the look is predetermined by Google, there are few things in your toolbox.
Highlight Unique Selling Points (USPs): Determine what sets your service apart. Is it 24/7 availability? Years of experience? Areas of expertise?
Use High-Quality Images: If your category allows images, use high-resolution photos that resonate with the service you’re offering. This could be before-and-after shots, team photos, or images of happy customers.
Encouraging and Managing Reviews
Requesting Reviews: After completing a job, always request reviews. This can be done via email, SMS, or even in-person.
Managing Negative Feedback: In the event of a negative review, respond promptly and professionally, showing potential customers that you value feedback and are committed to resolving issues.
Synergy with Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) and Local Services Ads (LSAs) are two potent tools designed to boost local businesses’ online presence in Google’s suite. When used in tandem, they can significantly amplify a company’s visibility, trustworthiness, and customer engagement.
LSAs appear at the top of search results, while GMB listings often appear in the sidebar or the map pack. Using both, a business can dominate a larger portion of the search results page.
LSAs benefit from the Google Guarantee, but coupling this with positive reviews from a GMB listing can significantly enhance a business’s trustworthiness.
Don’t forget to be consistent across both LSA and GMB regarding imagery, business details, and messaging. This ensures a seamless user experience.
By analyzing metrics from both LSAs and GMB, businesses can gain comprehensive insights into customer behavior, search patterns, and conversion paths.
Try regularly updating both listings with current promotions, business hours, photos, and other relevant details.
Address any negative feedback promptly and professionally on the GMB platform. Use it as an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service.
Pros and Cons of Google Service Ads
Pros of Google Service Ads
Local Service Ads appear at the very top of Google search results. This premium placement ensures that these ads are the first thing users see, even before organic listings and traditional Google Ads.
Unlike traditional PPC (Pay-per-Click) models, with LSAs, businesses only pay when they receive a genuine lead, such as a phone call or direct message from a potential customer. This can result in a more direct return on investment.
Businesses that pass Google’s screening process receive a “Google Guaranteed” badge, building trust with users. This assurance can be a significant factor in a potential customer’s decision-making process.
Easy Budget Management
LSAs allow businesses to set a weekly budget based on the number of leads they want to receive, providing more straightforward budget control and predictability.
LSAs are triggered based on user location and search terms. This ensures that businesses reach local customers who are actively searching for their services.
Reviews and Ratings
LSAs showcase business reviews and ratings, giving potential customers an immediate sense of the quality of service they can expect.
Cons of Google Service Ads
Limited to Certain Services
Currently, LSAs are not available for all industries. They cater mainly to local services like plumbers, electricians, and locksmiths. This means many businesses can’t take advantage of them yet.
To get the “Google Guaranteed” badge, businesses must undergo a rigorous screening process. This can include background checks, license verifications, and insurance requirements. Not all businesses will qualify.
Unlike traditional Google Ads, LSAs offer less flexibility in ad copy, design, and extensions. The format is largely predetermined by Google.
As more businesses recognize the value of LSAs, the space becomes increasingly competitive. This can lead to higher lead costs and the need for a more significant budget to maintain visibility.
Reliance on Reviews
While reviews can be a significant advantage, they can also be a double-edged sword. Negative reviews prominently displayed can deter potential customers.
Limited Control Over Leads
With the pay-per-lead model, there’s a risk of receiving irrelevant or low-quality leads. For instance, a user might misinterpret a service offered and call the business, leading to a lead cost without potential for conversion.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Google Service Ads
What are Google Service Ads (LSAs)?
LSAs are a type of online advertisement provided by Google specifically for local service providers. These ads appear at the top of Google search results and connect businesses with local customers actively searching for their services.
How do LSAs differ from traditional Google Ads?
Unlike traditional Google Ads, which operate on a pay-per-click model, LSAs function on a pay-per-lead basis. This means businesses pay only when a user takes a specific action, such as calling the business directly from the ad.
What industries can use LSAs?
LSAs are designed mainly for local service providers. Examples include locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC service providers, and more. However, the availability can vary based on the region and Google’s updates.
How do I qualify for the “Google Guaranteed” badge?
To earn the “Google Guaranteed” badge, businesses need to undergo a thorough screening process by Google, which includes background checks, license verifications, and proof of insurance, among other requirements.
How are LSA costs determined?
Costs for LSAs are determined by a variety of factors, including the service type, lead type (e.g., a phone call or message), and location. Businesses can set a weekly budget based on the number of leads they’d like to receive.
Can I choose the area where my LSAs appear?
Yes, businesses can set a specific service area for their LSAs. This ensures that ads are only shown to users in locations where the business operates.
How do I handle negative reviews on my LSA?
Address negative reviews promptly and professionally. Responding to feedback shows potential customers that you value client experiences and are committed to resolving issues.
Are LSAs available globally?
LSAs started in the US but have expanded to other countries. However, their availability varies based on region and specific service industries. It’s best to check Google’s official resources for the most up-to-date information.
Can I link my LSA to Google Analytics?
Yes, you can integrate LSAs with Google Analytics to gain deeper insights into user behavior after they click on your ad.
What happens if I exceed my LSA budget?
Google provides a set weekly budget for LSAs. If you reach that limit before the week ends, your ad will be paused until the next cycle. However, there might be slight variations, and in some cases, you might exceed your set budget, but Google typically offers credits for those additional charges.
Can I use LSAs even if I don’t have a website?
Yes, having a website is not a prerequisite for using LSAs. Google will provide a business profile page for companies that don’t have a website.
I hope this post has shed more light on what Local Service Ads are.
While Google Service Ads offer numerous advantages for local businesses, especially in terms of visibility and trust-building, they are not without their challenges.
It’s essential for businesses to weigh these pros and cons carefully, considering their specific industry, target audience, and business model, to determine whether LSAs are the right fit for them.
I always recommend testing things. With Local Service Ads you don’t need a website, and that is a major advantage over any other platform. If you’re a one man army, working on things in New York, or any other city, you might not have time to work on a website. And with Google Guarantee it’s a no brainer.
LSA might be the solution you’re looking for. Just pay attention to your cost per lead.
I wish LSA would be available in all locations and the list of services expanded beyond physical services. I think even digital services can benefit from the locality aspect.