Google has launched a new campaign that promotes verified business locations in the search results in both the Google maps and Google search without the traditional use of keywords. Strange but true.
Instead of using keywords, Google uses the information in Google My Business (GMB). This information includes the location category and location address to prompt relevant results. Google does not allow advertisers to request to be a part of the experiment which now currently with selected advertisers only. This is a very recent development but advertisers must think ahead.
Optimizations that are Focused Locally
Right now brick-and-mortar advertisers have only one way to control when the ads pop up when the customer is searching Google map and that is through the activation and deactivation of the local extensions.
There are local services that are available and is usually managed by a local services portal which are currently available in a handful of local cities. Therefore, only local extensions have the power to drive the local ad results for established businesses in most locations.
What are local extensions?
Local extensions have been in existence for many years now and traditionally, they are added in AdWords campaigns for all traditional advertisers. This is the best practice to gain search engine result pages in real estate. It is also useful in giving helpful information to searchers about the store’s location and operating hours.
Google has used them over the years along with active keywords to trigger ad units when searching in local pack and maps.
Getting the traffic reports
According to Google at this point, there is no clear path to segregate the mapped traffic from AdWords traffic. This is because the get location details clicks are all coming from maps.
Another remarkable finding is that the share of traffic from this click type has increased in 2017. This is mainly on brand keywords.
Locally focused units like an ad in local packs and maps are collected only by Google.com. There is no search partner network. This resulted in the local extension being automatically opted to show in local maps.
This reinforced the fact that advertisers have no control over this traffic except to turn the location extensions on or off coupled with an addition or removal of location extensions on campaigns.
Local-only campaigns and lack of keywords
The promise of local-only campaigns is great because you will be able to manage these searches away from traditional Google searches.
When Google announced that it is running a new campaign for advertisers built upon Google My Business in contrast to keywords, many marketers remain adamant.
Keywords are synonymous with searches, everybody knows it. Just type the keywords and boom here comes the results. Therefore eliminating it from the searching equation is a radical shift in the search advertising sphere. Even though location extensions have as widely deployed as they are it is still not widely accepted.
Improvements on GMB are underway
For the advertisers, the performance result of phrase-free AdWords is not visible. However, according to Google, they plan to deliver the results to the advertisers in due time. Right now it is unclear on what triggers the traffic and how is the performance.
But one thing is for sure, Google is equipping its Google My Business new features. This feature might be instrumental in what triggers relevant ad results, at this point it is unclear.
There are two notable changes done on Google My Business.
First is the introduction of business description in GMB. Businesses are allowed to briefly describe their business to their potential customers in 750 characters. The description may include what their business is all about and other relevant facts about their business. There should be no promotions URLs (universal resource locators) or HTML (hypertext markup language) code.
The second modification is the ability for businesses to describe the specific services they provide. There is a structured combination of the service name, there is the item name within that service and the item price along with the description. These GMB menus were made available for restaurants initially but moved on to businesses in other industries too.
Phase-free AdWords will make keyword centric search look Jurassic
Although there are a lot of reservations about this new strategy of Google, the shift in location instead keywords can actually have significant benefits.
First is it can help in the unsaturation of the search market. The search market is the most competitive advertising market today albeit expensive. Finding ways to increase the market share and improve ROAS is becoming impossible. It is all about picking up trends and always staying ahead of your competitors. By drilling down into location focused campaigns, advertisers and business have more to gain than lose.
Second is this new strategy will expand the location to all searches. Google has done a great job in bringing in location for product specific searches. If you search for a particular item, Google can show you relevant information like ads, deals and pricing in your area courtesy of the Google Shopping local inventory ads.
Since this type of ad has delivered great value for both the advertiser and customer, the new Phrase-free AdWords campaign remove the spotlight away from the keywords and deliver results from location through GMB. By optimizing GMB business data it will be a more location-centric model.
And last, a keyword search will be enhanced, it will be more dynamic, more defined and static set of words unlike what advertisers are doing today. It will be more personalized and will provide more information beyond the level it is giving now.
Rather than focusing on random keywords, search advertisers will adjust to trends and the focus on the circumstances that influence the search. The location has become hugely influential that will predict the movement, for advertisers to adjust the strategies and execute them. Regionally focused information can also reveal so much more.
In conclusion, Phrase-free AdWords campaigns maybe puzzling to advertisers today. Given time they will adjust to it. If this strategy is utilized properly, it is an unsettling force in the search market that many advertisers can benefit from.