Google Boost is now Adwords Express
Local search marketing may be in it’s infancy for Google, but this baby is booming. In two short years they have grown through a 10-pack, to a 7-pack, to a mixed local and organic result. They have further added a revenue stream with Google Sponsored tags (Yellow tags) and most recently they added Google Boost. Google boost has been active for about 6 months now, so time for a review of the latest GEO/Local adverting package from Google. To Boost but not to boast.
What is Google Boost?
Google boost is a new pay per click (PPC) advertising push from Google that is being promoted through Google Places. This ad is unique in it’s style from other PPC ads because it features a blue pin drop and is only offered to local businesses that have a local physical office.
The Pros to Google Boost
Pro #1 – Location, Location, Location
One of the key P’s to any marketing strategy is the “Place”. Clearly there is a certain appeal to doing business with a company that feels like a neighbor. Having a blue pin drop on a familiar local map adds a nice warm fuzzy to the consumer. Plus they are now supporting the local economy. So the new ad layout is fantastic. I am drooling over the simplicity. Plus the clear message that says, “Do Business with your Local Pest Control Guy. Good’ole hometown heroes.”
Pro #2 – 5 Star Reviews
The best comeback in any sporting event when the fans start cheering, “We’ve got spirit yes we do” is “we’ve got more check the score!” The reviews make this Google Boost the cream of the crop pay-per-click option, if you have the reviews to boast about your company. But honestly, no one simply believes all the pretty text you have on your website promoting your service. Your website will never tell the customer what potential problems they could face. Reviews on the other hand are raw and real. The bad reviews show your company weaknesses, which is okay, because every company has some problems. But, the overall rating is the real punch. If your ration of good to bad reviews is good then those little yellow stars become a Gold Star min.
Pro #3 – Phone Number
I must admit that having a phone number included on the ad could potentially get an advertiser phone calls that they are not directly paying for. This is a pretty hefty bonus buy which could make or break the value of the Google Boost program.
Pro #4 – Easy to set up and runs automatically.
When you log into your Google places you will see convenient link Create Boost ad Click on it and you will come to a very simple fill out forum like this one:
Hit Continue. Read some legal jargon on the next page, agree to pay, and you are on your way to a hassle free automatic Pay per click system. For the average business owner, this system could work well. There will be no overhead for a PPC management firm. There is nothing more to do. Just sit back, relax, and let the leads roll in. I mean… “Pay only for success You only pay when potential customers click on your ad.” http://places.google.com/boost Sarcasm aside, this may truly be a benefit for a busy business owner.
The Pests/Cons to Google Boost
Having test driven the new Google boost system for a couple of months now, I have come across a few bugs. Yes, I am pest control guy so bare with the pest/con switch-a-roo.
Pest # 1 – Automatic Keyword Selection
Hmmm… This poses several problems, some of which could be monumental depending on your “Category”. Specifically, with pest control there are several different types of pests an exterminator may or may not control. Pests, like rats, snakes, pigeons, require different treatment options that not all pest control companies will offer. More specifically, as of late, bed bugs have become a huge concern, and not all pest control services treat for bed bugs. Further, some of these pests, like termites, require specific licensing. Potentially moving Google boost advertisers into a red zone for violating state laws.
Google does offer an option to “Provide feedback on these keywords”, but I’ve yet to get any feedback on the feedback that I provided. And some of those terms, “Bulwark Exterminating”, are still showing in my keywords. (Sorry, but if they are requesting my company by name then I have already done my marketing job and paying for that click is money wasted.) So there is no way to exclude keywords from your campaign. In my professional opinion this is a HUGE PEST PROBLEM.
Pest #2 – Automatic Bidding
So let’s hand over the hen house keys to the fox. Do some simple math of the numbers they lay out in the sign up and here are the numbers from the ranges they outlined above:
Granted Google Boost didn’t max out the cost per click in my campaign. But those prices per click are much MUCH higher than our adsense average. Those are premium prices, and from that list of keywords above, not all of those keywords are premium competitors. And if these Google Boost ads work in conjunction with the other adsense ads then Google has it’s own horse in the bidding races effectively raising the prices on all other pest control clicks. But hey, at least I don’t have to worry about Quality Score anymore.
Pest #3 – Lack of information.
Despite the link at the top that suggests you can dig deeper if you’d like, that link for More Details takes you to a support page. So there are no lists of additional keywords they are bidding on. And if you want to calculate the click through rates of your ads you will have to do it manually. The math for numbers above, CTR=0.5%. If you want that CTR to improve you will need to log and monitor your own dates of changes made to the ad.
Pest #4 – Tracking
The advertiser cannot insert a call tracking number. The advertiser cannot even insert a custom landing page. So all the advertiser is left with is their Google Analytics. Yes they do provide a report under adwords specific to Google Boost. Although they named it: Places Ads_2g55663ebe1687_1. We will assume it’s one in the same. But left only with this as a measuring stick the numbers are not looking too good. Average time on site is lower than the Adwords average time on site. Although page views are up… probably because they are having to search for the information they want.
Google Boost Review
To sum it up. Google Boost has the makings to be the cream of the crop for local advertising. The Boost ad is simple, sleek, and powerful for those companies that provide quality local services. But can the added style and design compensate for the lack of control? Do the Pros really out weigh the Cons? Do you really want the fox guarding the hen house? Theses few cons may bug internet marketers to the point that Google Boost isn’t anything to boast about.
29 thoughts on “Google Adwords Express -The Pros & the Pests to Automated Local Advertising”
Just one more reason I have to brag about how you are the best local SEO guy I know.
Nice write up.
… Simply matf that’s all folks. 😉
Great pros and cons article. Those click prices and lack of
control puts you entirely in the hands of Google. Call tracking on the
website is possible though, (with dynamic numbers) and may help with the analysis of value from the clicks (or not).
Yes, on site call tracking is available. But putting a call tracking on your Google Places page is not really an option…. well it’s not a good option.
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Great review of Google Boost. As a SEO consultant I see how Google has a winner here. Most small business owners have at one time lost their shirts trying adwords without a clue to as how it works. They drop out and never come back. I see boost as a great alternative to Yellow page ads. Take that $500 you are paying YP and put it into Google Boost. The lack of call tracking hurts, but if the phones are ringing the business owner won’t care.
The one weakness you hit right on the nose is they pick the keywords. I think the importance of having a well optimized Place page is very important. I am experimenting with different keyword placements on the Place pages to see if it affects what keywords Google decides to give you. Again.. Great Review!
We have been playing with boost for a while now. Your review is basically spot on. Our Adwords campaign is mature and well managed so the cpc is much lower and ctr much higher than the Boost campaign. The lack of control is also problematic. As you point out, though, its a pretty compelling ad in maps.
One big problem seems to be the geo-targeting. We seem to be getting clicks from out of state and out of our service area for extremely generic inquiries. That will ultimately become a deal killer if it continues.
Yes. Didn’t even touch on the GEO targeting. That is another huge disadvantage. Not only do you get no say in the GEO targeting you also get no explanation from google on what area they are targeting.
Bottom line to me…Boost is a way to simplify AdWords for small businesses so they can manage it themselves. It’s amazing to me that Google thinks the average SMB owner would be able to successfully manage an AdWords campaign. It’s just too steep of a learning curve for someone whose not trying to master it.
With Boost Local, a lot of these companies might as well go and hire a company like Reach Local.
oh yes I agree, never put a generic or free phone number on your Places listing 😉
Anyone know why I can’t access Google Boost in any of my Google Places accounts? Is it something that they are gradually rolling out?
Thank you for the well-done “Google Boost Pros and Cons” article. It saved me a lot of time doing my own research. I really appreciate it.
As a consumer who’s heavily involved with my own site. I have to say this is a great option and I would have used it had it been available when I was setting up my adwords campaign. For smaller local markets like bankruptcy attorneys most adword’s guys want 200-400 (or alot more ) and there’s only about 300 in effective spending in my area for instance so even if I pay a 30% premium over ideal having google manage it still comes out to a bargain. However, the time of day thing is huge. I just run my bankruptcy adwords between 8-6 after experiencing the complete waste of clicks and lower conversion when call aren’t possible. I did just set up boost for my realtor business so we’ll see how that works.
In 2012 approximately half of the smartphones will be running on Android. Google also plan to change the monetization of YouTube and in particular to provide about 20 premium channels (you will have to pay) offer similar services to traditional channels of sports, series, movies etc.. Am I the only one to worry about the enormous growth of what was originally a search engine. Google is developing its tentacles everywhere. Soon the company will impose its law to states. ( My apologies for the english i’m French!)
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Glad to see someone did a decent write up of Boost, because I wasn’t about to dump any of my client’s money in it – due mostly to the reasons outlined under the con section above.
Those sneaky bastards at Google know how to stick it to you though by only giving ‘BOOST’ advertisers access to the blue teardrop – which really does pop out at you. Still, not a good enough trade-off to warrant the ‘take it from behind’ approach of not being able to select (or deselect) terms and bid rates. I hope it fails in a big big way – this is not the direction you want to take with your marketing, people.
Oooo…let’s hope not. If you think Boost is a scam, they’ve got nothing on Reach Local. You might as well flush your money down the toilet if you’re going that route.
Just an update… The ads target a 20 mile radius from the business location.
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I thought I’d report back. The realtor experiment failed miserably. The unfocused nature of google boost does not compensate for the lack of adwords editorial features. kept showing for stupid rental and lease terms that do no good. I noticed it set up an adwords account for google boost. Can you edit this?
In Google Boost, so we pick keywords? Or does the search only pull results based on your category?
Nice analysis on Google boost ad. Boost ad helps local businesses to get their customers easily, where as the limitation of character in the description field makes it limited.
They pick the keywords based on your category.
Hi all: You are correct, its not a perfect product – but Google is still working out some bugs, so stay tuned. As far as call tracking: I know they have a small test market with current Boost customers using a unique Google phone number. If it works out well, it should be rolled out. Target area Radius is 25km, or just under 16 miles. It is set – and there is no way to change the area; however, it is found that this is adequate for most local businesses. Cost – the amount is a range. Depending on your budget, area and category, your clicks will cost from 0.00 on up. Yes, if your budget is set high enough you will be paying for the more expensive clicks; however, these are high as they have been shown to be more successful. That’s it for now!
Google just has to be the shadiest most evil, dishonest company I have ever worked with. I would definitely not recommend to anyone. The stole my money straight up and refuse to be accountable for it.
Very informative write up that gives facts. I can see this article helping to make a decision whether or not to use Google Boost. SDHComputers.com is a local company and does business only or mostly with the local community. Its nice to see a new product to help local businesses but for small businesses to really use Boost it has to stack up well against other forms of advertising that are much cheaper. In the example spending $300 for 25-40 clicks seems to be fairly expensive.
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