Several years ago Google was working on a radically simplified approach to AdWords called “Simple Ads.” It was supposed to totally automate AdWords creation and campaign management for small businesses. Google worked on that product for a long time and didn’t seem to be able to create a product it was satisfied with.
In the interim several locally focused and small business oriented ad products came out including the discontinued Local Listing Ads and the now broadly available Tags. Now it appears that Google has resuscitated Simple Ads in a new form: Boost. Mike Blumenthal discovered and posted about this new, simplified AdWords offering targeting small businesses:
The product automatically creates an Adwords campaign based on a businesses categories and information in the listing. The business sets the monthly budget and Google determines what search words trigger the ad.
This is apparently a test in a few markets. But there’s no bidding and no keyword research; it’s all automated and based on a desired (but probably recommended) monthly budget. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Claiming your Places page is a prerequisite to setting up Boost, so it creates another incentive for SMBs to do so.
If Google can make this work at low budget levels it could be a milestone for the SMB marketplace, which has relied on third party sales channels to provision AdWords campaigns. Self-service remains a challenge for SMBs with an estimated 5 percent to 10 percent doing any form of online self-service marketing.
However as ad programs become simpler and more automated they also become more accessible to a broader segment of the market.
Postscript: Google now has a post up about it:
Boost enables business owners to easily create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account. No ongoing management is needed after the initial set up, and this beta is currently available to select local businesses in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.
Here’s a screen from the post showing the advertiser-facing setup:
Here’s how the ads will appear (reminiscent of Local Listing Ads). The blue pin will make them “pop” and in some cases more effective than conventional AdWords:
Postscript II: I just spoke to Google and discovered that agencies and third parties managing multiple SMB AdWords accounts cannot get access to these ads at present. I also discovered that $50 is the minimum monthly spend regardless of location or category. However dollar figures and estimated clicks will be category and location sensitive. Advertisers can spend more than the suggested maximum by using the custom button to specify a higher or different amount.
The fields shown in the set-up screen above are taken from the Profile page information (as “defaults”) but can be edited by the business owner.