The fourth Google Performance Summit brought waves of excitement for advertisers everywhere and one shocking new insight: 90 percent of all future shopping was going to be offline! Along with this came Google’s plan for a solution, Google local ads for Google Maps.
The way you looked at digital advertising may not be the same for much longer. If you are serious about advertising on Google, start paying attention to Google Maps Advertising or be left behind. This situation presents an opportunity of magnanimous scale especially if you have an offline business. So get on the wagon and let’s ride to the future of advertising.
Here’s your checklist to get started:
If you are starting from scratch, follow steps 1 and 2 before you can dive into Google Maps advertising:
1. Create a Google business page
Before you can create your first Google ad, you need a Google business page. A Google Business listing is where Google gets the basic information about your local business for Google search, maps, etc. Make sure you have one before proceeding.
2. Sign up with Adwords
After creating a Google Business listing, create an account with Google Adwords. This is where you will be creating, managing and paying for your ads. You should consider advertising in multiple formats in addition to Google Maps. This is not just to show your ads to more people, but also to increase user engagement dramatically. With the same consideration, you could do re-marketing to drive a much greater conversion rate.
3. Getting into Promoted Locations / Promoted Pins
There could be a thousand people navigating to their destinations and going through your location using Google Maps every day. You have an incredible opportunity to reach those people and convert them into customers. This is what Google’s Promoted Pins can do for you.
If you look at the screenshot of Google Maps, you can see that the Walgreen’s pin is highlighted in a purple color. Using Google’s promoted pins advertising, you can do the same. You can also use your logo and brand your location.
This is a powerful way to drive customers to your store.
4. Display deals in your local listing
Showing off your deals in your Google local listing is an excellent way to get more click-throughs and hence more people to visit your store. Deals appeal to your thrifty shoppers, and you can even make loyal long-term customers out of them.
You can also use deals to clear out stocks, stand out from your competitors during the Black Friday craze.
5. Have a specific call to action
Call to actions should be used differently in Google maps from how you use it on your website or Google Adwords.
Always try to get your customers to call you with your Google maps call to action. Your business might require a different call to action, for example:
If you have a clinic or consultation business, you might want to try Booking as the call to action. Booking cta works well if you are confident that the customer is not having his first interaction with your business with Google Maps. For example, if you have other Google Ads running and maybe even Facebook Ads, then you could go with Booking.
6. Optimise your website for mobile
If you are serious about advertising on Google Maps, you should be serious about having a website with a great mobile experience. What good is it if you have a great ad, a good click-through rate but cannot convert users who come to your website.
Most important aspects of a great mobile experience are:
Your visitors are not going to hang around if your website takes forever to load. In fact, research suggests that 40% of your visitors will leave your website if it takes any more than 3 seconds to load.
Mobile users more than others prefer strong, high-quality images to convey your message rather than long pieces of text.
Optimised for mobile actions/events:
Optimise your website for mobile-specific actions like touch, swipe, etc. Have your touch target area size to be at-least 34px * 34px. This is the minimum comfortable size for a standard user.
Responsive layouts and text:
This should be obvious, but let me say it again. The layout has to be mobile-friendly if not mobile-first. And make sure your typography is excellent as well.
7. Optimise your ads by laser-sharp targeting
Targeting is the first and most important part of any successful online advertising, the second being the messaging. So firstly, here are 5 of the most powerful targeting options that can skyrocket your conversion:
Query context: Make sure to target the keywords that directly describes your product. Also, check out Google’s related keywords and try using them.
Location: It’s a good approach to target an area of 20-mile radius around your place to show your ads.
Interests and Behaviour: You can also use audience targeting and find the most relevance topics of interests to your users. You can choose from over a thousand interest categories. Google uses user’s search data to create a personalized ad preference based on each user’s interest areas. As an advertiser, you can use this data to target users with very specific interests and behaviors.
Time of day: It’s prudent to research when your potential customers are more likely to visit your shop and schedule your ads for that time of the day.
Demographic: Demographic targeting will help you save a lot of money in adverts shown to the wrong crowd. Used in combination with interests, location, and intent (keyword) targeting, it will help you optimise your conversion rate by a factor of 10.
You can also do well by promoting specific products you sell to a specific demographic.
8. Add your inventory list to Google’s local product inventory feed
25% of people don’t visit a store when they don’t know for sure if a product is in stock. Imagine if your users can see if you have the products they are looking for. That increases the chance of them visiting your store rather than a competitor who may or may not have that product. So when you add your inventory list to Google’s feed, they would know you have what they need just as they look for a store.
You – 1. Competitors – 0.
9. Integrate your campaign with Google Analytics
You cannot improve what you do not measure. That’s so true, especially with online advertising. By integrating your Google Maps advertising campaign with your Google Analytics, you can measure your core metrics like:
- Time spent on site per session
- Cost per conversion
- Conversion with respect to demographics, etc.
You can use these invaluable data to optimise your core metrics and ultimately your profit. At the early stage, make sure to optimise your cost per conversation with a small advertising budget before you can scale it up.
10. A/B test your Ads
A/B testing has been used in online marketing as a simple decision tool to optimise ads, web pages, etc. Nevertheless, it is still under-utilized. Used correctly, it could help you get way more from your dollars than your competitors.
We have seen up to 500% increase in revenue from a proper experimentation of Ads with A/B Testing. To get started with a simple A/B testing with Google Ads, do this:
- Make a list of variables you want to test like headline, meta description, offerings, deals, etc.
- Create 2 ads for each variable, say 2 ads with different headlines
- Name each ad as – Variable A/Variable B. For example, if you are testing headlines, then Headline A/Headline B.
- Now run the ads for a sufficient test period, say 2 weeks.
- Now compare and extrapolate your results
Here are some key strategies to A/B test your way to Google Maps success:
- Test your headline: You can try having your brand/company name as your headline or your unique products/services or your USP.
- Test your description: Just elaborate a bit on your headline. So if you have your brand name as the headline, elaborate what’s different about you. If you have your products/services as your headline, then elaborate on how it’s useful to your customers and so on.
- Test your demographic targeting: You might have a hypothesis on who your target customers are, but you might be missing on untapped potential if you don’t experiment on other target audience.
- Test your ad timing: For ad timings, it’s better to start with a more broad selection and then narrowing down. And only narrow down when you can see a much better conversion rate and if it also brings down your cost per conversion.
- Test your deals: It’s an excellent way of assessing demand and also the pricing for your products. Use a little pricing psychology and use it to get things sold.
The key takeaway for you is that Google Maps is yet to hit it off, but when it does, it’s going to be big. You now have the advantage to get started and ride the early wave and get ahead before others catch on. Here’s to you having a successful 2018.
Author BIO: Essekia is a WordPress theme/plugin developer and the founder of Pauple Studios. He likes to write about web development, digital marketing, design, and entrepreneurship.