Local Services Advertising: Recent Updates from Google

Local Services Ads (LSAs) are a great tool for connecting with potential customers in your local area while maintaining control over your marketing budget. Distinct from Google Pay per Click, Local Services Ads offer a range of unique features and a results-driven, pay-per-lead cost structure. 

One of the most innovative aspects of LSAs is they give customers the ability to call, message, or book with service providers directly after searching for their services. The main differentiator between Google LSAs and PPC is how the leads are charged. 

With Google LSAs, you are only charged for true leads, as opposed to every time someone clicks on your ads. This feature enables you to access and connect with the most promising leads, while easily measuring ROI.

Google has recently implemented updates to LSAs affecting how customers and companies communicate using this product. These updates have also included changes to the process for disputing leads generated by these ads and beta testing of auction-based pricing. Below are the main updates you should be aware of if you’re a Local Services Ads user.

Changes to the Lead Dispute Process

Providers always have the option to dispute any leads whose validity they find questionable. The charges for any leads successfully disputed are then credited back to providers’ accounts.

While in the past there was a 60 day window for providers to review and dispute charges, this window has now been shortened to 30 days. The goal of this change is to increase efficiency within the dispute and refund process and facilitate the resolution of invalid leads as quickly as possible.

As you should always take immediate action to dispute leads you believe aren’t valid, this update is unlikely to have a significant impact on your utilization of Local Services Ads. However, it is important to keep this timeline in mind as you review leads.

Charges for Message Leads

Recognizing that many prospective customers prefer written communication over phone calls, Google has started charging providers for message leads in addition to phone leads. The cost of message leads is half the corresponding rate for phone leads.

The messaging feature offers a number of benefits, including the ability to reach a larger pool of customers. It also increases the flexibility of LSAs since it allows you to receive leads even when you aren’t available to take a phone call.

When you get a message lead, you’ll receive both an email notification and a notification in the Local Services Ads mobile application. You’ll then be able to respond directly to the potential customer by email, via the mobile app, or using your Local Services Ads dashboard. 

In order to begin receiving message leads, you must first enable the feature in the Profile & Budget area of your dashboard. If you are a Qiigo client, please reach out to your Account Manager to discuss these changes.

Monetization of Booking Leads

Booking leads are another exciting feature of Local Services Ads. Priced the same as phone leads, these direct bookings can help you avoid the hefty commissions charged by booking sites. Customers are also prompted to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile after booking, building your company’s online presence without any extra effort on your part.

This feature does require the use of specific CRMs, so you’ll need to decide whether a subscription to these platforms is the right move for your business before enabling booking leads from Local Services Ads.

A New Bidding System

Google has also introduced bidding for LSAs, although this feature is still in beta testing and there is no clear indication of when a wide-scale rollout will occur. Bidding will help increase competitiveness for advertisers, allowing them to determine how much they want to spend on lead generation. 

Through this new auction-based pricing system, advertisers who are willing to pay more will have their business details featured prominently at the top of search pages. Advertisers can either have Google set a bid for them or select a maximum amount per lead through the manual bidding option, offering plenty of control over advertising spending as well as flexibility from week to week.

Qiigo is currently testing bidding in some accounts, but it’s important to note that not all verticals can utilize bidding at this time. As Google expands the bidding feature, more and more advertisers will have the chance to take advantage of this tool to compete with other businesses in their local market for advertising space. 

If you’re a Qiigo client and are wondering whether bidding is available for your vertical, get in touch with your Account Manager to discuss how this feature could affect your use of LSAs.

The above changes show Google is working to meet the needs and demands of both businesses and consumers with their Local Services Ads. Thanks to this innovative product, it’s easier than ever to connect with potential customers in your local area on a pay-per-lead basis.

Qiigo clients should reach out to their Account Manager with any questions about LSAs or any of these changes.