Local Google Map Ads: The Power of Perfect Timing
Did you know that over 80% of people who do a local search on their smartphone will contact or visit a company within 24 hours? Nearly half of all searches in Google are for a local business. Whether people are searching for local merchandise inventory online or local services one thing is for sure; with local search ads, timing is everything.
Over one billion people actively use Google Maps to get around with 67% preferring it to other similar tools. Each day Google Maps users drive, walk, bike, and rideshare over 650 million miles.
And here’s the icing on the cake. 90% of Maps users don’t know the exact business they plan to visit before searching to chart their course.
Local Google Map ads put your business in the right place at the right time for your target customer.
What Are Local Google Map Ads?
Local Google Map ads may just be the perfect way to connect with local customers. But they’re highly underutilized because so many people don’t actually know how to set them up.
Similar to Google AdWords, you’ll bid to have your ad shown. But that bid is primarily location-based rather than keyword.
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Where Do Google Map Ads Appear?
When you win the bid, your Google My Business (GMB) listing goes to the top of the list with a small ad symbol. It otherwise just looks like another listing. They appear anywhere people view Google Maps. That currently includes:
- Google Maps App for Android and iPhone
- Google Maps mobile
- Local searches on desktops, tablets, and smartphones
- Google.com Expanded Maps
With the success of Maps ads, Google is continually expanding ad formats to both enhance searcher experience and drive more traffic to local businesses. Because physical traffic Google can drive to businesses, the more those businesses will want to invest in both search ads and SEO.
Google is also currently launching promoted pins that will help your business stand out on the map even if a person is in the area for some other reason. For example, if you’re a local florist near a hospital, appearing prominently on the map near the hospital can drive extra traffic from people who are already in the area and want to buy flowers.
From restaurants to car repair shops to wedding planners, it’s easy to see map ads, including promoted pins, which are great for business.
How to Increase Your Chances of Appearing in Map Ads
Google will only show one to two ads per area. And simply trying to outbid the competition is never a good strategy. You’ll struggle to achieve the right Google ads ROI.
So it’s vital that you position yourself by understanding how Google will choose ads to show based primarily on:
- Location – Is the person in your area or traveling to it?
- Search/browsing history – Based on past search history, does it appear they’re looking for your kind of business?
- Query context – Beyond history, the actual query gives Google some much-needed context. Remember, Google’s goal is to show searchers the most relevant content. If your business doesn’t seem relevant, it won’t appear. So don’t try to work the system to appear in other searches.
- Your GMB page – Google will use the information on your GMB page to understand whether or not you’re relevant to this query. So fill it out completely and make sure it’s accurate. And while we don’t recommend keyword stuffing, you should do some keyword research and include long-tail keywords to make sure you’re hitting important searches.
Some other targeting factors include:
- Time of day – If you’re closed and someone else is open, they could appear instead
- Previous page views
How Much Do Google Map Ads Cost?
Google Maps Ads are comparably priced to regular AdWords ads.
The biggest factors that influence ad cost include:
- Competition – How many similar businesses are in your local area also using Map ads?
- Quality Score – How have your ads performed in the past? This applies to your regular AdWords ads too. If people don’t click your ad, or they backtrack quickly after clicking, your Quality Score goes down and the price you pay per click goes up. In fact, an account with a low-quality Score may end up paying 400% more than an account with an average score.
You can also keep costs low by setting low bids and daily limits. But it essential to note that if you’re too cheap, you may not appear enough to make AdWords worth your while.
How Do You Set Up Google Maps Ads?
After all of this, here’s the kicker. You don’t actually directly set up these ads. They’re sort of automatic, but only if you meet certain criteria. Follow these steps to make sure you’re in the running.
- Have an AdWords account. Set it up and use it to run search ads. You must actively run search ads to appear in map ads.
- If you don’t have a Google My Business page, you must set one up. If you already have one, then make sure it’s complete.
- Link your AdWords account to your GMB page. To do this, sign into AdWords > Ads & Extensions > Extensions > Click the + > Location extensions > Select A Google My Business Account > Choose your Account.
- Use AdWords to target people locally with your search ads. Bid by location. This increases your bid when someone is in your area or searching for something in your area.
- Add location terms to your keywords. “Near courthouse, next to a hospital, Sylvan Park (neighborhood)”. etc.
- Analyze performance and optimize.
How Do Maps Ads Help Your Overall AdWords Performance?
So let’s just pretend for a moment that after all we’ve said here, you don’t really want to appear in Google Map Ads. The benefits of completing the above steps extend beyond Google Maps. It helps Google make all of your AdWords ads more locally relevant for your target customers.
If someone else bids higher than you for a search term, but you’re closer and otherwise relevant, Google may choose your search ad over your competitors because they want to deliver up an ad that a local searcher is more likely to click.
After all, like all of us, Google wants to get paid. They get paid when people click.
Additionally, following these steps may inadvertently improve your AdWords Quality Score since your ads are now appearing in more relevant local searches. That means your overall ad costs should go down as your response rate goes up.
Isn’t optimizing fun? And speaking of optimizing, before we leave you to it let’s quickly look at how to track how your Maps ads are doing
How Do You Track Maps Ad Performance?
To see how these ads are being received by customers, from your AdWords account, go to Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, or Keywords. Click the segment icon. It looks like three uneven horizontal lines. Then hit “click type”.
For here, you can look at different metrics:
- Location detail clicks
- Get direction clicks
- Mobile-click-to-call clicks
Which you measure and what goals you set for your campaign depend on your business goals.
Local Ads on Google Maps: A Powerful Business Tool
Now, you’re ready to see for yourself just how powerful local search can be when you appear in the perfect place and the perfect time. Not only will you see more traffic from map ads. You’ll experience ripples of benefits throughout your AdWords campaigns.