What Are Local Services Ads?
Local Services Ads (LSAs) are Google’s new lead generation platform. LSAs differ from traditional PPC ads because this is a pay-per-lead (PPL) service, not pay-per-click, meaning you only pay for the leads you receive rather than paying for each click—lead or not.
These ads also differ when it comes to targeting, as the LSA program is built for local businesses that target specific geographic areas. For me and many others, LSAs has proven to be a successful and, depending on the industry, necessary marketing tool.
Do I Need an LSA Campaign?
The answer is, it depends! First, you’ll have to see if your business is eligible to run Local Service Ads, which you can do here. After you’ve determined that your business is eligible, scope out the competition. If you manage a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, PA, see if your competitors are running LSAs. How about a roofer in Portland, OR? Check it out.
If your competitors are already up and running, it’s in your best interest to at least test it out. If it doesn’t yield the results you were hoping for, just pause it. And if your competitors aren’t yet running LSAs, why not be the first? Also, there’s a chance that your ad won’t show unless there are competitors running LSAs as well, but you can still have your Local Service Ads ready to go. With that being said, it’s also important to ensure that your current campaigns are optimized and fully funded (traditional PPC). You can always sign up and complete your campaign and then pause your ads until necessary.
August 2023 update: Google is now only showing 20 LSA results in the SERPS which means the space is getting hyper-competitive.
How Do Local Service Ads Rank in Search?
According to Google, your ranking is determined by several factors that help match customers with local businesses running LSAs. The factors that can affect your ranking are:
- Your proximity to potential customers’ locations
- Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
- Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
- Your business hours
- Whether or not Google LSA reps have received serious or repeated complaints about your business
While all of those factors are critical to your ranking, there is one that I’d like to discuss a bit further: the importance of your responsiveness to customer inquiries. If you or your client is considering an LSA campaign, there must be someone who has the time to answer the calls and manage the dashboard. You have the ability within the LSA dashboard to mark a lead as booked or completed, archive un-booked leads, and dispute leads. The better that designated person is at managing the dashboard, the better your campaign will rank.
What Do The Experts Think?
- Anna Blanken, Digital Marketing Specialist:
“There is no doubt that Google Local Service Ads is one of the best drivers of leads for service providers. Google’s “Google Guaranteed” and “Google Screened” badges offer searchers peace of mind when contacting service providers. Local Service Ads are more user-friendly than Google Ads— put in your desired budget, complete all the required checks, choose what kind of services you provide, and start receiving calls and messages. Google LSA is an ideal way to get more business.”
- Ben Fisher, Google My Business Platinum Expert and Founder of Steady Demand:
“Local Services Ads really is a goldmine for most businesses. Google has found a way to match consumers’ needs to local service providers in an easy-to-use and understand service. We have found that most of our clients will gain a majority of new leads via Local Services Ads. LSA is way less expensive than traditional PPC, and in this case, you only pay for a lead versus a click. This affords merchants with a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use system for gaining new customers.” Ben also applauds the Local Service Ads support team. What makes the LSA support team superior to the GMB support staff is that many of the operators have been with the program since inception. Ben also notes that the onboarding team is very patient (which I can attest to), and you get access to enterprise-level support after your ads go live.
- Melissa Hough, Bookkeeper and LSA Manager for Flager & Associates, PC:
Melissa manages the LSA dashboard for a personal injury law firm in Bensalem, PA, and likes being able to track the firm’s cases that come from Google. In the past, clients have said that they found the firm on Google, and that’s where the paper trail would end. Now, they have confirmation that not only did they come from Google, but when exactly that call came in. “You can add notes to see where they came from and what kind of case it is. You can dispute charges pretty easily. If they call for something we do not advertise for, I can dispute it, and it often gets approved.” With pros come cons, and when it comes to personal injury law, “The choices it gives for whether we have a case or not don’t exactly match up with how we do business.”
Personally, I’m a fan of the platform, and a few of our clients are taking advantage of the real estate these ads occupy in the SERPS. As with any other service, success is never guaranteed, and we have had clients who have since stopped running the ads. The truth is, as Google continues to incorporate more paid advertising options into search, it becomes increasingly difficult and sometimes detrimental to opt out of these new services. If you happen to be in an industry where Local Service Ads are not yet available, you need not worry. However, if the option presents itself and you have the additional ad budget, don’t wait. Local Service Ads have really only been utilized by the masses for the better part of the last year, so you can still get in while it’s unknown to many of your competitors.