You may have heard of Google’s newest search offering, Local Service Ads, or like most busy realtors, you are spending your time dealing with clients and closing deals, having left the adversitizing to the professionals. Regardless of your familiarity with the program, Local Service Ads can be a great addition to your advertising portfolio, offering direct connection with prospective clients in a pay per lead format.
What is Google Local Service Ads for Real Estate Agents?
Google Local Service Ads are the natural evolution of Google’s advertising platform, however, it is important to note they are not meant to replace Google My Business or Google Ads but to work in conjunction with them to ensure as many leads as possible.
Local Service Ads, or LSA for short, are a business profile that will populate above the paid search ads and local listings. The Ad format is automatically generated via the information provided in your business profile and will feature details such as phone number, ratings and past customer reviews.
How do Google Local Services work?
Local Service Ads automatically generate when a prospective client searches certain terms and phrases. A list of trusted, local professionals will populate offering the searcher the option to connect with one of the listed businesses.
Since the entire point of LSA is to ensure searchers are connected with local and appropriate advertisers, Google has implemented a second layer of verification to confirm that this prospective client is indeed looking for a “realtor” in “San Diego, California”. If this information is correct, the searcher will be able to browse your profile, information, reviews and ratings. If the prospective client then decides to reach out, that is considered a lead and at that point you will be charged.
What are the benefits of using Google Local Service Ads for my real estate business?
The most obvious benefit for using Google Local Service Ads is the pricing and charging aspect. Differing greatly from PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising, LSA only charges adversitizers when a valid lead is set your way.
Valid leads come in the way of a phone call, voicemail, email or text message from a prospective client. It is worth noting that Google has made some stipulations as to what is considered a “valid lead” as advertisers are able to dispute leads for future credit if they end up being invalild.
Google considers a valid lead to be the following:
- You receive a phone call and speak with the prospective client
- You receive an email or text message from the prospective client (US only)
- You receive a voicemail from the prospective client
- You receive a missed call (without a voicemail), and you return the customer’s message with a text message, email or call where you either speak with the customer or leave a voicemail.
- You receive a booking request from a customer.
Since you are being charged per lead, you will have the opportunity to dispute a “lead” which is considered invalid. An invalid lead could be spam, a poor match, or a fraudulent call or message. If you are successful, you will be credited back the amount charged. It is important to keep in mind that just because a valid lead doesn’t turn into a paying client, it is not grounds to dispute the charge. Google has also made a list of valid lead’s which cannot be credited among which are situations such as potential client did not respond to your calls or messages, you are unwilling or unable to provide services that are listed under your profile or customer was researching/looking for prices/advice.
Along with the most popular aspect, Pay Per Lead vs. Pay Per Click, Google Local Service Ads are a popular advertising add-on for a number of different reasons. Advertisers enjoy the accessibility of Google Local Service Ads as they pop up across all devices including desktops, mobiles, tables and even in Google Assistant’s response features. The Google Assistant will even do the second level verification to ensure an appropriate match ensuring access to the 20% of searches coming in through voice search and the nearly 400 million devices powered by Google Assistant.
Since Google retired the Review Extension feature on ads, Local Search Ads are a great way to have prospective clients see your past reviews and ratings. With LSA these reviews and ratings will make their way onto the SERP (Search Engine Response Page) and add an eye-catching dynamic to your ad.
How are Google Local Service Ads ranked?
Unlike Pay Per Click, Local Service Ads are not ranked primarily on budget. Now, your monthly and weekly pre set budgets do play a role, however, in order to provide a more level playing field for large and small companies, Google considers a number of factors when ranking Local Service Ads such as:
- Your verification status and whether you obtained a Google badge of trust (Screened (U.S. only) or Guaranteed) or not
- The context of the person’s search – When calculating ranking we look at the search terms the person has entered, the time of the search, and other user signals and attributes
- Your review score and the number of reviews you receive
- Your responsiveness to customer inquiries and requests
- Your proximity to potential customers’ locations
- Your business hours
- Whether or not we’ve received serious or repeated complaints about your business
One of the major influencing factors when Google is ranking the Local Service Ads is the ratings and reviews received. Positive reviews and proximity to searcher are top reasons a Local Service Ad will get ranked first position.
Google will also try to space out your leads over time to appropriately fit within your budget, meaning it won’t spend your entire monthly allotment within the first couple of days.
What is “Google Guarantee” and “Google Screened”?
Another attractive feature of LSA is the “Google Guarantee” and the “Google Screened” designations.
When a Local Service Ad populates, a “Google Guarantee” business will display a green badge, whereas a “Google Screened” business will showcase a green checkmark. So what do these mean?
Well, a “Google Guarantee” business is a local business or service provider that has been vetted by google and offers the prospective client or customer an added layer of protection when booking a service. In the off chance the customer winds up unhappy with the service, Google can potentially reimburse that client for the initial service, up to a preset lifetime limit.
“Google Screened” is a similar green check mark, which has also been screened by Google and has at least a 3 star rating but does not offer any coverage for customer claims.
To become a “Google Guarantee” or “Google Screened” business and earn the coveted green checkmark, an advertiser must submit all necessary insurances and licences as required by your profession as well as state and also pass a background check. Businesses and professionals who come to face to face with clients will all be required to allow for a background check to be run, which is cost-free and provided by Pinkerton. This provides an additional amount of comfort and legitimacy to businesses and potential clients.
Most commonly, the “Google Guarantee” is provided to services related businesses such as plumbers or electricians whereas “Google Screened” are used for realtors, lawyers and financial advisors.
Are Google Local Service Ads budget friendly?
Just like any form of advertising, you can expect to get out what you put in. However, unlike Pay Per Click, Google Local Service Ads optimize every dollar you put in by only charging you for valid leads vs. generic clicks.
There are definitely benefits to PPC advertising, and though it may seem as if Local Service Ads are the obvious choice, LSA were actually designed to work in conjunction with various forms to ensure optimal exposure and client leads. That being said, for those who have yet to dive into the world of Google Ads, Local Service Ads can be run independently of any other form of Google Advertising which can be a great way to test the waters.
How much do Google Local Services for real estate agents cost per lead?
Like most things, the cost per lead can range. The cost per lead is determined by the number of real estate agents using the platform and how much they are bidding. On average, you can expect to pay between $20-$50/lead.
Ready to get started with Google Local Services for Real Estate Agents? Let’s talk!
Start generating high quality leads with Google Local Service Ads and put yourself on track for a record 2021.