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What are Google Local Service Ads (LSAs) and How do they Work?

As industry pros here at IdeaZone, we know that beyond all the apps, marketing tools and jargon is a business that just wants to reach its customers. Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) have been generating a lot of positive buzz because they do just that.

Meant to add another layer to your marketing roster, Local Services Ads allow the consumer to book or contact your company directly through the LSA company homepage (see below). Your LSA will show your business as a local option for customers searching for the exact services you offer.­

example of LSA local company landing page

 

Imagine showing up at the top of your customer’s search results. Not because of an elaborate keyword selection, but because you’re a trusted company located close to home. This is the premise behind LSAs.

How Do Google LSA’s Work?

First, you need to apply to Google to be eligible for Google Local Search Ads (and the vetting process is fairly in-depth…more on that later).

Because these ads aren’t dependent on keywords, it makes ad setup super simple as it’s just based on categories. For your ad to show up, all your potential customer needs to do is google your service while being in proximity of your business (or service area).

Your LSA is selected by business category. If your business is near the customer, your ad will be eligible to show in the search results. Rankings (ie. what position in the list your business appears) are based on company response time, reviews and the Google badge for Google Guaranteed and Google Screened listings (more on this later).

A search for “electrician victoria bc” immediately pulls up a carousel of “Google Guaranteed” electrical companies in Victoria BC who have been vetted for the Local Services Ads program.

 

google local services ads for electrician in victoria bc

 

These are shown at the top of Google search results as well as in audio search results from devices like Google Home or Google Assistant.

Searchers can instantly see (or hear!) the web address, contact number, tagline, and a short writeup on services offered. In five seconds, they could be on the phone, booking an appointment with your company. Just like that, your lead has come to you.

Google “Screened” and “Google Guaranteed”

There are two categories for consumer protection— called “Google Screened” and “Google Guaranteed.” Both require a thorough screening including a civic and criminal background check and license/insurance verification. Employee background checks are also conducted, free of cost.

Google Guaranteed

With so many rumours about businesses buying or otherwise manipulating their way to positive reviews, it can be easy for a customer to have trust issues. This is why Google offers a “Google Guaranteed” business option. If a customer is unhappy with the services provided, Google will start a claim, contact the business and work with them to find a resolution. Essentially, it’s a money-back guarantee.

If a customer is unsatisfied with a company’s services (who they found by clicking on an LSA), Google can refund the amount paid as shown on the invoice. It covers up to $2,000 once the claim between the business and customer has been thoroughly investigated. With Google Guaranteed, consumers are much more likely to proceed with the work since they know that Google has vetted the business and are guaranteeing the results.

Customers can easily see whether a business is “Google Guaranteed” with a green checkmark badge. This shows under the business name or is verbally confirmed via audio searches on Google Home or Google Assistant (the Google Guaranteed designation is required for Google Assistant).

google guaranteed local services ads

This service is currently available for limited types of businesses. In Canada, these include the following:

  • Appliance repair services
  • Carpet cleaning services
  • Cleaning services
  • Electricians
  • Garage door services
  • HVAC (heating or air conditioning)
  • Junk removal services
  • Lawn care services
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Pest control services
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Tree services
  • Water damage services
  • Window cleaning services
  • Window repair services


Google Screened

Google Screened is currently only available to certain verticals in the U.S.

Businesses that are Google Screened must also pass Google’s extensive background checks. This means they’ll still appear at the top of the search results page based on business category, reputation and location. Combined with the green check mark by the company name, this builds trust among businesses and customers.

The main difference is the there is no money-back guarantee for customers and there is no monthly fee ($50) for the business. Google Screened is currently available for professionals in the fields of law, finance and real estate in San Diego, CA and Houston, TX. Like “Google Guaranteed,” it’s likely to be offered in more verticals and areas as the program grows.

How Much Do Google LSAs Cost?

Sounds great, but how much does it cost? You only pay per lead if a customer contacts you directly through the ad or if the call lasts two minutes or longer. Lead costs vary depending on the location and business type. Here are some examples of the cost per lead for some common services here in Victoria, BC.

  • HVAC ($24/lead)
  • Locksmith, plumber ($28/lead)
  • Garage door, electrician ($18/lead)
  • Housecleaner, carpet cleaning ($26/lead)
  • Pest control, tree services, junk removal, window cleaning ($13/lead)
  • Appliance repair, lawn care, moving services, roofing ($22/lead)
  • Window repair, water damage restoration, carpenter, countertops, fencing, flooring, foundations, landscaper, siding. ($22/lead)

When you set up your own Google LSA, you’ll know exactly how much your leads run at, depending on your industry and location.

What are the top 5 Benefits of Google Local Service Ads?

To the point, here are the top 5 (of many) reasons to get yourself a Google LSA account today:

  1. Cost-effective – You’re only charged for leads when the customer contacts you and a job is booked or the call lasts 2 minutes or longer.
  1. Calls route through a Google forwarding number – When you receive a call from your ad, you’ll hear “Call from Google.” This way you know how well your ad is working. Google also notifies customers that the call will be recorded for quality and research purposes.
  1. LSAs build trust – They will only show if the business has been vetted by Google. This means it has positive reviews and feedback from real customers. It also means that it’s passed a stringent background check for the owner and all employees.
  1. Easy on the budget – For local businesses who may not have the budget for Google Ads, this makes it easy to stay well within your marketing budget. Incidentally, we have an awesome post for 33 FREE marketing apps and tools.
  1. You get to enjoy high-quality leads – Tired of tire kickers? Well, these are people who specifically search for your services are ready to book their appointment. They’ll be glad that your ad takes the guesswork out of deciding who to hire.

How to Get Started Using Google Local Service Ads

Ready to get started? It’s simple to DIY, but you can also have an expert Google rep help you out. LSA’s are designed to be as user-friendly as possible – from the initial application to fine-tuning your selections via dashboard or mobile app.

To see if your business is eligible, enter your location information into the signup page here. If your business type qualifies, you’ll be directed to fill in your profile. This includes basic information like business name, year founded, total number of workers and more.

As you fill in your profile, you’ll be directed to the following pages:

  • Business details
  • Service area
  • Service types
  • Work hours
  • Preview the ad

When it’s done, your ad will feature the most important highlights. This includes reviews from real customers, the number of reviews, whether you’re Google Guaranteed or Google Screened (CA and TX only), any photos, business hours and more.

The complete list from Google:

Business name The name of your business.
Phone number A tracking number will be displayed. Calls to this number will be forwarded to your business phone number.
Location Your business city may be displayed. This is either the address of your business, or the city where you live or work. In some cases, we may show the cities you service instead.
Reviews Your reviews include reviews from Google My Business as well as reviews collected directly through Local Services Ads. Partner affiliate listings will include reviews provided to us by the partner platform.  All ads will show an average star rating.
Number of reviews The number of your reviews you’ve received may be displayed in parentheses next to your average star rating.
Business hours The hours that your business is open.
Google Guarantee or Google Screened The Google Guarantee badge or Google Screened badge  shows customers they can trust your business.
Photos Photos to show customers your business and your work. These will show in your profile when available.
Business bio Highlights about the important aspects of your business, such as whether you are locally owned or offer free estimates.

 

In the Google LSA dashboard or mobile app, you can also customize your LSA. Just a few of the options available:

  • When you want to run your ad (always on, only during business hours, custom hours)
  • Manage and respond to ads
  • View reports
  • Sort through leads
  • View and edit budget information
  • Update your business details

Google Local Services Ads present so many excellent options. We’re really looking forward to seeing the difference it makes with bringing customers to local businesses just like yours.

Do you have questions about LSAs, Google and Facebook Ads, SEO strategies, or do you need a new site made from scratch? Based out of Victoria, BC, Canada, we’ve been building sites, developing marketing plans and creating eye-catching graphics for over 20 years. Browse our case studies and portfolio then contact us or call us toll free at 1-844-651-9333. We look forward to designing the perfect digital marketing solution for your business.

6 Ways Facebook Ads and Google Ads Combine to Create Unbeatable Campaigns

 

Many advertisers have a hard time choosing between Facebook Ads and Google Ads. There’s really no reason to choose though since Facebook and Google each have over 2 billion users and are the two strongest ad platforms today.

Google and Facebook make up the largest percentage in digital advertising spend with a combined 59% as of 2019—miles ahead of Amazon and Microsoft/LinkedIn. Google is an obvious choice. Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) have been around much longer than Facebook Ads, and “googling it” is so common, it’s a household term. Though newer, Facebook Ads is just as powerful. People spend an average of 5 years and 4 months of their lives on social media, making Facebook a perfect avenue for marketing.

So, Facebook is highly effective at gathering new leads and appealing to existing customers, while Google targets customers who are already actively looking for a product. Together, they work to fulfill the wish list of every advertiser – to tap into the emotional lives of customers while also having their ads show up for buyer intent keywords.

Facebook Ads

  • Facebook Ads have the ability to target using a variety of methods including age, gender, language, device, geographic location, interests, likes and behaviour.
  • There are a huge variety of ad types including image, video, image carousel and video poll ads which are designed to drive user engagement—just to name a few.
  • You can choose from 11 target objectives for your ad campaign in three categories: Awareness, Interest and Conversions. Other than the regular ‘ol link clicks or landing page views, objectives can also include getting customers to install apps and engage with your videos.
  • Since this is distraction marketing (i.e. you’re distracting someone from what they were initially doing), ads need to stand out and make the user want to click.
  • You can choose the type of device, placement and platform (e.g. Stories on both mobile and desktop, right-hand column or newsfeed)
  • Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can kill two birds with one stone and advertise on both these platforms within one campaign – and you can tailor the ads to fit the platform.
  • Since late 2020, Facebook no longer limits the amount of text in a Facebook ad. They used to have a Facebook 20% rule which only allowed for 20% of an ad to be taken up by text but they finally abolished that rule.

Google Ads

  • The Google Ads marketplace works like an auction, making it possible for the smallest of companies with a quality ad and decent bid to win the #1 (or #2 or #3) spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a budget friendly way to advertise effectively within Google.
  • You can set a fixed budget to get started. There is no minimum budget but if you don’t bid high enough for your keywords (against others also bidding in the same auction for those keywords), your ads won’t show up.
  • Google Ad campaign types include displays, search, shopping, apps and video which can cast a wide net for new and existing customers.
  • Similar to Facebook and Instagram, since Google owns YouTube, you’re able to advertise on that platform directly through the Google Ads interface.
  • The most common campaigns are the ones where Google only charges you for each time someone clicks on your ad (known as cost per click or CPC for short). This means that you only pay for people who actually clicked on your ad and not for those who just saw the ad (i.e. ad impressions) but didn’t click.
  • Every keyword gets its own Quality Score. The Quality Score is made up of things like keyword relevance, bids, Click Thru Rate (CTR) and the quality and relevance of your landing page.
  • Google requires quality ads that lead to quality landing pages which add value to a user’s search. In short, if Google determines the ad experience to be poor, they will either not show your ads or charge you more for showing them.
  • Google Ads allow you to easily track conversions by either setting conversions up directly within the platform, importing them from Google Analytics or creating conversions within Google Tag Manager.

How Google Ads and FB Ads Work Together

  1. Advertising on multiple platforms increases reach (The rule of 7)

The rule of 7 is perhaps the oldest marketing concept. It means that a potential customer needs to be shown your marketing message multiple times (typically 7) before they will buy. Using Facebook and Google together is a great way to achieve this, especially when customers use multiple devices across multiple platforms and your ads are presented in many different formats.

  1. Google Ads are logical while Facebook Ads appeal to customer’s emotions

Imagery and videos on social media can hit customers right in the feels. They see a product they didn’t know they loved and needed, discover your brand, click over to your website….. and the rest is history. Meanwhile, Google search ads present them with exactly what they are looking for at the exact time they are looking for it. As they enter certain keywords, your ads are triggered and users click your ad in Google and land on your website, where your wonderful website copy is waiting to convert them into customers.

  1. Remarket to Potential Customers via Retargeting

Both platforms offer the ability to retarget users. That is to say that once a user visits your site, you can retarget or remarket to them by showing ads specifically to that audience. This gives you the ability to speak directly to your audience, knowing that they’ve already been on your site. For retargeting campaigns to be most effective, make it known through your ad copy that you know that they have been on your site by making mention of it.

This could be as casual as “Come back and finish shopping with us” or something a little more witty such as “You left your cart sitting right in the middle of the aisle! Don’t worry, we’ve got security watching it for you until you come back.”

Consider this: Wordstream found that advertising on Facebook led to a 34% increase in brand searches on Google.

Capture their attention via Facebook and close the sale via Google.

  1. Both platforms can reach extended audiences (Lookalike and Similar)

Using Lookalike Audiences (Facebook) and Similar Audiences (Google), advertisers can tap into even more potential customers based on shared characteristics of existing customers. Combining this data on both platforms can easily multiply the amount of targeted customers you can reach.

Using lookalike audiences inside Facebook is an excellent strategy which allows you to use Facebook’s algorithm to go out and find the right customers for you. Start by building an ad around your target market’s demographics and interests.  Then build up an audience of people who have engaged with your ad or page. From there, you can create a much larger Lookalike Audience to find more people with similar interests to those who engaged with your ad/page.

  1. Measure and optimize your Facebook and Google Ads Campaigns by Tracking Conversions

A conversion is any action that you’re looking for users to take after they click on your ads. Typical conversions include newsletter signups, contact form fill outs, messenger conversations or a sale.  If you’re not tracking conversions, it makes it very difficult to track the efficacy of the campaign. If you have a “get an estimate” form on your site and you’re driving traffic with the goal being that you want leads, it doesn’t tell the whole story if you can only tell how many people clicked on your ad. What you really want to be tracking in this case is how many of the people that clicked on your ad actually filled out the ‘get an estimate’ form on your site.

To track conversions with Facebook, you’ll need to install the Facebook Pixel on your site. The FB Pixel is simply a piece of code that you add to your site that allows Facebook to tell when someone has visited a certain page, filled out a form, added something to their cart or purchased a product.

With Google, there are multiple ways to track these conversions – but they all also need some type of code to be added to your site. This can be done directly through Google Ads, or it can be done with Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics and imported into Google Ads.

  1. Boost your Google Ads campaigns with Data from Facebook Campaigns

Google is great for detailed demographic information as well, but it just doesn’t get as granular as Facebook. Layering this information into your Google Ads campaign can really stretch your budget and increase reach. To do this, you first need to create specialized URLs using something called UTM parameters, which are basically just a snippet of code that you append to the target URL used in your ads.  The easiest way to create these UTM links is by using a UTM builder (aka campaign URL builder). This UTM tool lets you append information about the campaign to the URL. The final URL might look something like the example below where everything after the question mark are the UTM parameters:

https://www.example.com/page?utm_content=buffercf3b2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Once you have your new trackable URL and you start sending traffic there (it ends up being the URL you add to your FB ad campaigns), you’ll start to see this information show up in Google Analytics.

From there, you can build audiences using this data inside the Google Analytics’ Audience Builder.  To do this, go to Admin and then under the Property View, click on Audience Definitions and then Audiences to create your audience.

Google Analytics Audience Builder

And then import the audience into Google Ads to start using it. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have at least 1000 people in your audience before you can start to target them with Google Search Ads.

We are digital marketing experts with over two decades of experience. Not sure how to best narrow down your customer demographic? Wondering which ad platform and type would be the most effective for your product or service? We continually test and customize our clients’ ad campaigns for the best possible results. Contact IdeaZone today to get started getting more customers.