In the past few years we have seen Google and Bing really pushing the shopping side of search and both the search engines and advertisers have seen massively positive results from the channel. Moving into the latter half of 2016, we are seeing Google turn its attention across to local and this was very evident in their Google Ads & Analytics Keynote that streamed live back in May 2016.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I would really recommend you take a look. It’s an hour long but it is packed full of all the features we can expect to see coming to AdWords and Analytics in the near future.
In this post I am going to share 10 paid media strategies that any business with a local presence can take advantage of. Whether you are looking to drive brand awareness, actual revenue or encourage loyalty among your existing customer base, there will be something here for you.
Local Search Ads
Advertisers now have the ability to show ads within the local listings and on the maps listing on desktop and also on the Google Maps app. Businesses who were previously dominating within the organic local results will start to see organic traffic reduce as an ad is now able to secure that all important top spot. At present we are only seeing one ad but my prediction here is that ads will start to creep in more and more. Have a read about these ads on Wordstream.
This is how an ad looks on desktop:
And this is how an ad looks on a mobile:
Waze is an app that drivers use to navigate which is very similar to a sat nav but instead is an app on your phone. The difference with Waze for advertisers is that you can easily set up an account and get your local stores advertised to drivers whilst they are on route to their next destination.
This can be a particularly effective way of advertising brands that offer products that people need on the go. For example:
- Pubs and Restaurants
- Petrol Stations
- Hotels & Bed/Breakfasts
Include Distances within your ads
If you are looking to drive footfall into your local business, you can customise your ads to include distances from certain landmarks to highlight to searchers that you are located nearby. Make sure you choose a landmark or station that most people searching will know so that the ad is still relevant for everyone who sees it.
This technique can be especially powerful if you are using geo-targeting within your campaigns so you know you are only showing the ads to people who are searching nearby. This doesn’t work well for campaigns targeting nationally as much unless you have specific ad groups targeting local keywords such as ‘Restaurants in Bristol’.
Promoted Pins – Google
Google will soon be bringing Promoted Pins to Maps which will be very exciting for advertisers who are looking to encourage people to come and visit them in person. This feature is going to be very similar to what Waze Ads offer but will be within Google Maps. The guys over at Wordstream have written about this feature at length so if you want to know more, I would recommend you check out this post: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/06/01/google-maps-local-search-ads
Local Inventory Ads
These ads work alongside Google Shopping Ads but instead of trying to solely encourage online purchases, Local Inventory Ads tell searchers whether the product they are searching for is in-stock at their nearby store.
Local Inventory Ads are great if you are selling high value items that customers may want to physically see before they actually make a purchase.
The example below is for a Samsung TV priced at £849. We can see from the listing that it is really localised showing:
- The address
- Phone number
- Stock levels
- Other locations
Many brands don’t actually take advantage of the fact that you can drive low cost traffic to your site if your brand name is included within the search query.
In the example below for Kwik-fit (a tyres, MOT testing and car service garage in the UK) we can see that for the term ‘Kwik-fit Reviews’ the top result is positive but the second and third results are very negative. The actual Kwik-fit site does not appear within the results above the fold at all.
In the same way as Kwik-fit did not appear for review style terms, a search for ‘Kwik-fit Discount Code’ brings up three external sites that show discount codes that searchers can take advantage of. Again, the brand does not appear above the fold for this search either.
These types of searches happen very frequently and Kwik-fit could really capitalise on this by showing a paid advert at the top and making use of all the ad extensions possible to push the other listings further down the search results and channel the traffic back into their own website.
Facebook Local Awareness Ads
This ad format is a great way for you to reach customers who are located near to your actual business location. You can tell potential customers all about your product or service offering and at the same time show them more local context such as their proximity to your location.
Ads can also include a call to action to help drive offline sales. You can choose from four messages:
- Get directions
- Call now
- Learn more
- Send message
Linking your AdWords campaigns up to your Google My Business account and enabling location extensions means that customers who are searching for your product or service who are located close to your business will see your address details in the adverts.
Location extensions take up an additional line within the ad helping it to stand out in the crowded search space and can increase CTR pretty significantly.
A lot of businesses have special events or sales that happen throughout the year and people who are searching online have a tendancy to shop around for deals.
If you are running a special offer on any products or services or maybe you have a wide scale sale on; you can make use of Countdown Ads within Google to create urgency within your ad copy. Countdown ads countdown (believe it or not) to the end of your sale or whatever date you have asked it to countdown to.
There are lots of other ways in which local businesses can promote their offering via paid media. I actually spoke about this recently at a MozTalk event in London. You can check out the slides for more ideas here.