• http://www.semreportcard.com semreportcard

    Great information, Greg. One of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of PPC advertising in Google by small businesses has been ease of use. It is clear that Google Place pages are basically landing pages for small businesses that lack a professional web presence.

    I disagree with Google’s claim that the ads will not carry any creative. One of the unsettled issues with Google Maps right now is the practice of keyword stuffing the names of business listings.

    I would describe keyword-rich, geo-modified business listings as a form of creative in the ad. For example, what if a business legitimately changes their dba to Discount Rates Auto Insurance Chicago, LLC, with the accompanying website, DiscountAutoInsuranceChicago.com? I would consider this optimized marketing copy in the form of a business name.

  • http://www.toddleiser.com ToddLeiser

    This could be significant, if the broad adoption occurs as you pondered in the post, but I see two more significant hurdles. Will merchants come back to the LBC for the reporting (a regular email from Google could help that) AND will the merchant be able to “translate” the consumer activity data into sales data. Arguably that is the same problem other media has, but there is the tangibility of a sales rep helping the rep “see” the results.

    I’m with you, tremendous potential, but it will take more time to gain traction than perhaps Google expects….Thoughts?

  • http://www.semreportcard.com semreportcard

    Todd, the Local Listing Ads program will provide some conversion analytics, such as phone calls, clicks, and requests for driving directions (I assume in the LBC interface). Local Listing Ads also will offer free call tracking numbers with a short announcement such as “this caller brought to you by Google,” before each forwarded call.

    I believe this program is going to be huge and will directly challenge Google AdWords Resellers currently offering local search advertising platforms like ReachLocal and Yodle.

  • http://www.texasenergyrates.blogspot.com Shadab Malik

    You are right Greg. A TV Ad would be more beneficial since most of the sign ups would come from business owners without a web presence who are more likely to watch a TV ad than hit a web promotion.

    Google is now inevitable for the business owners WITH a website, this is just the start of Google’s expansion for those WITHOUT a website. The video say that the call will be received on a unique no. Does that mean Google will ask such biz owners to buy a separate no to track that?

  • http://WickCentrick.com Wickerpedia

    Greg you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence:

    “This will truly be the test of the conventional wisdom that a direct sales force is necessary to penetrate the local market.”

    Google keeps going back to the well on self-service even though the numbers are poor. Look at the LBL. It’s a FREE means to get your business exposure and yet adoption is very low (10 – 25%). Google’s local listing are still often fraught with error b/c they are a bunch of 3rd party bulk uploads and not actual claimed business. Yet Googlestill stands by the self-service model.

    Don’t even get me started on call tracking. Ever try to talk to a business owner about call tracking? They hate it. Yes it’s irrational but many simply can’t stand the idea. Now they want to put a pre-roll on it to make it slightly more annoying. Hmmmm.

    In the end SMBs aren’t marketers and don’t want to become ones. They are small business owners who have traditional mindsets that change VERY slowly. They will not self-service in the next 3-5 years.

  • http://www.ezwebsitemonitoring.com/ ezaaron

    It looks great for local businesses. They do need to make the self service more friendly and less spam-prone, including the reviews piece of it. I believe that more and more businesses will want to be in control of their online marketing, and this is a good way for them to start seeing results.

    Aaron
    http://www.ezwebsitemonitoring.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000912768598 Robert Blackwell

    As always your articles are very rich and informative thanks for the contributions. I was wanting  some feed back on a pattern of Google places abuse. What is your thoughts on the reviews that are being targeted from dirty marketing tactics for companies that are delibratly leaving negative reviews for a business to derank them?, Do you see a filter some time that will stop this corporate review espionage? 

    http://www.googlelocalexperts.webs.com | MICHIGAN INTERNET MARKETING AGENCY