Google tests Branded Local Service Ads with opt-out option

Marketers expressed concern about being unable to opt-out, but Google confirmed this functionality will be available for everyone.

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Google is piloting branded Local Service Ads (LSA) called Direct Business Search.

Brands are automatically enrolled into this new ad type by default. From Feb 13, all businesses will be able to disable it by manually adjusting their settings.

Direct Business Search explained. This new ad type allows brands to show up in search results when someone directly searches for a brand or business. With this new feature, your ad will be the only Local Service ad to appear in the results, and you’ll only be charged for these leads from new customers.

Why we care. It’s possible that you will pay for conversions that you might have naturally obtained anyway as the user was already specifically searching for your brand.

First look. Direct Business Search ads were first flagged by Anthony Higman, CEO of online advertising agency Adsquire, who shared a screenshot on X:

Branded Local Search Ads Google

Reassurance for advertisers. Expressing concern, Higman noted that brands currently lack the option to opt out of Direct Business Search ads. Joy Hawkins, owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA, shared this sentiment, confirming her inability to opt out of this ad type too. However, Google provided assurance that the ability for all brands to opt-out will be available in the near future.

Google also explained to Search Engine Land that when an existing customer clicks on a Direct Business Search ad, the business won’t be charged – only new customer leads are charged.

Opting out. Ben Fisher, Co-Founder/Lead Consultant at Diamond Google Product Expert, explained on X that brands can opt out of Direct Business Search ads by going to settings, and turning off the Direct business search toggle, as demonstrated in the screenshot below:

Direct Business Search

If the option is not currently available, it’s important to note that Direct Business Search ads are still in the early stages, and Google will be making this choice accessible to everyone in the near future.

What Google is saying. Google Ads liaison officer Ginny Marvin said on X:

  • “This is an experiment that will be rolling out shortly. To be clear, the opt-out will be available for everyone. Customers will receive more information on this next week.”

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Deep dive. Read Google’s Direct Business Search guidelines for more information.

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About the author

Nicola Agius
Nicola Agius was Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land from 2023-2024. She covered paid media, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company's editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book Mastering In-House SEO.

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