Monday, October 25, 2010
As a local business owner in today’s day and age, you know that it’s important to have an online presence because that’s where your customers are. In fact, research shows that 97% of people conduct research online before buying locally. Hopefully you’ve gone to Google Places to claim your free business listing that appears on Google and Google Maps. That enables you to share accurate information about your business such as your hours of operation, photos and videos - and now you can do even more.
Today, we’re announcing the availability of a new online advertising solution to help local businesses connect with potential customers in their area. 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.
Boost ads are eligible to appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google.com and Google Maps search result pages. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner in San Francisco who has signed up for Boost, your ad may show up when someone does a related search like the one below, indicating a cuisine and location that matches yours. Beyond the basics like your company name, address, phone number and website, your ad may also include the number of reviews you’ve received, an average star rating and a link to your Place page to help potential customers find additional useful information about your business. When a map appears alongside the results, a blue pin will help folks quickly find your location on the map. Businesses using Google Tags will also see their yellow tag appear in the ad.
To create your ad, all that is required is a short business description, a web or Place page, your business categories and a monthly budget. From there, our system automatically sets up your ad campaign - figuring out the relevant keywords that will trigger your ad to appear on Google and Google Maps, and how to get the most out of the budget you allotted. You’ll only pay when a potential customer actually clicks on your ad, and you can also view basic ad performance data from your Google Places dashboard.
Here is an example of the simple sign up page within Google Places, which takes just a few minutes to complete. To make the process even easier, the “description” and “categories” fields may be pre-populated with suggestions based on the information you provided on the Place page for your business.
We hope Boost provides busy local business owners with a quick and easy way to share information about themselves with the people who look for them online. Placement in the “Sponsored Links” section of the page will, as always, depend on factors such as your ad’s relevance and quality. Boost does not affect the ranking of the free, organic business listings in any way.
As we do with all beta features, we’ll carefully review the data and effectiveness of this trial and may make changes before making decisions about any future expansion. In the meantime, business owners can sign in or claim their listing in Google Places, and select businesses in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago will see an invitation to try Boost in the account dashboard. Interested businesses outside these areas can sign up to receive notification when Boost comes to their area by filling out this form.
Posted by Kiley McEvoy, Product Manager