This isn’t the first time (and probably won’t be the last) that we write about Local Services Ads, so if you’re unfamiliar with LSAs (sometimes called Google Guaranteed), check out some of our past posts on the topic: “What’s New with Google Local Services Ads? (A Lot.)” is a great place to start.
Here are a few high-level takeaways if you’re just looking for a refresher:
- Local Services Ads are different from Google’s regular paid ads. With Google Ads, you pay based on each person who clicks on your ads (pay per click). With Local Services Ads, you pay per lead.
- One of the main benefits of LSAs is their location and how they’re promoted—right at the top of a Google search result page, with a green checkmark and “Google Guaranteed” badge.
- You need to be in one of the top three ad positions for LSAs to be effective.
- LSA categories are spotty for our sectors. They’re good for HVAC, but there are really no relevant categories as of now for home performance and insulation contractors or solar installers.
- Getting approved to run Local Services Ads is a rigorous process, particularly if your company has a lot of employees. We think it’s worth the paperwork no matter what, but you should start the process early.
Since we last covered LSAs, we’ve had more time to play around with lead bidding strategies, which we discussed during a recent webinar, “Local Service Ads: Overhyped or a “Google Guaranteed” Success?.” Here are 5 tips taken from that conversation about our current recommendations and best practices for maximizing your Local Services Ads account.
1. It’s Less Risky to Put Your Cost Per Lead in Google’s Hand
There are two current options to bid on Local Services Ads: “Maximize Leads”, where Google sets the cost per lead for you, and “Set Max Per Lead,” where you can manually set the maximum you’re willing to pay per lead in each main category of services. A year or two ago, we would have recommended against letting Google take the wheel, but our own experiences indicate it’s a safer bet than it used to be, and we’re seeing average lead costs anywhere from $25 to $40, depending on the service area.
2. Set High Budgets & High Bids (But Monitor Closely)
We’ve also run experiments manually setting our max bids per lead—and in fact, we’ve taken it to the extreme. In one instance, we set a maximum cost per lead of $190 and a yearly max LSA budget of $5,200,000!
No, the contractor for that LSA account didn’t actually want to spend $5 million on LSAs, but since it’s basically impossible to spend an LSA budget of that size (remember, you only get charged when someone reaches out for service), we wanted to see if this was a good tactic for breaking through a saturated market.
The results suggest this works—the actual cost per lead ended up just under $30, and we would have only spent about $30,000 over the course of a year. As long as you're monitoring your account closely (daily), we recommend playing around with higher bids to see what happens.
(PSA: Please don’t try this tactic with regular pay-per-click ads… you WILL spend that entire $5.2 million!!)
3. Seek LSA Reviews (and Respond)
Reviews are one of the main ranking factors for LSAs that you have control over. You can—and should—make a request for reviews right in the Local Services Ads dashboard. You should also respond to any reviews you receive (this is great advice for regular Google reviews left for your business as well).
4. Remember to Mark Appointments/Jobs As Booked
Even if you immediately reached out to a lead outside of the LSA dashboard, and you’ve got a happy customer (or soon-to-be one), you need to let Google know. Make sure you’re marking down booked and completed jobs in the dashboard—we suspect that this is a ranking factor for Google, so you don’t want to give the algorithm the impression (mistakenly or not) that you aren’t actually acting on your leads.
5. Be Responsive—Engage!
This will be no surprise if you’ve been following our recommendations for your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business): Google wants you to engage with customers. Respond (and respond promptly) to reviews, and use Google’s dashboard features to reach out and start conservations with new leads—even if it’s just to say that you’ll be following up with a phone call shortly. We think higher levels of positive account activity are rewarded by Google’s algorithm.
Need help setting up and running Local Services Ads for your business? Contact us today at Energy Circle to start the conversation.#marketing#PeterTroast