An Agency’s Role in Local Services ads by Google

Local Service ads by Google are becoming a bigger deal as they open up to more business categories and cities. As this service spreads, agencies that focus on lead generation might have good reasons to be concerned. When management is as simple as an on/off switch and saying how many leads you would like, why should a business pay for someone to manage it?

Well first, let’s take a look at who Local Service ads are intended to benefit the most. They are available to business categories with owners that might not have the budget to hire a marketer and might not have to time to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing. Similarly, they create the opportunity for businesses types with low margins that might struggle on AdWords, such as locksmiths.

Google has a solution, charge by the qualified lead, not the click. Now, these small businesses are no longer in a bidding war, they are lining up for actual leads and handing Google a set fee for each one.

What about that $20,000/month big-time local plumber that your agency manages? These ads are designed to help small businesses the most. In test searches for plumbers in Local Service Ad listings, it seemed that business proximity to the user plays a major role. A small business with only 5 reviews was able to show above a business with 95 5-star reviews that was just 5 miles away.

Surely a client that wants to drive serious lead volume each month would be unsatisfied if that are unable to appear prominently to potential customers just 5 miles from their location.  And that brings us to the main point, this new service is a cool new tool for affordable leads and a major opportunity for the small business owner.

You should not shy away from letting your client know about this or taking the effort to get set-up started for them. Just be sure to continue to drive the volume that they need by continuing to advertise with search, display, social, and whatever else you might find success with.

AdWords: Using New Quality Score Columns To Optimize When Set-Up Seems Perfect

Back in May, Google announced new Quality Score columns (Landing Page Experience, Ad Relevance and Exp. CTR) that would help diagnose Quality Scores at the keyword-level. When working out of the AdWords interface, it is a struggle to review each metric for every keyword and come to a clear, actionable conclusion.

When CPA is mediocre, Avg. CPC is high and Quality Score is low, something needs to change. When you are utilizing every ad extension you can, have fantastic ad copy, every search term is relevant and your landing page looks great, you need access to more information to make the next move.

This is where the new Quality Score diagnosis columns come into play. Simply display each column, choose a recent time range, and download a report. Using some Excel magic, you can determine where to focus your efforts. The following image provides a sample output of this report.

Quality Score Diagnosis
This sheet shows the percent of keywords and impressions that are associated with Above Average, Average or Below average rankings for each metric. While you might have initially assumed the weakness was on the Landing Page, this report reveals that Ad Relevance and, to a greater extent, Expected CTR are the ones holding back the Quality Score.

This helps you direct your efforts, fix up your ads and explain to your client that you have pinpointed a cause in higher CPCs and are making changes that will help treat this which will as a result, lower CPAs.

Another way that you can make up for AdWords’ shortcomings is by tracking Quality Score over time. In the image below, I show a sheet that I use to track Quality Score trends for individual accounts. In this example, Quality Score is pushed to a Google Sheet using an AdWords Script provided by that weighs each Keyword Quality Score by its Impressions at the end of each month. This is how efforts to improve Quality Score can be measured and shared.

Quality Score Tracker Blurred