4 Things to Know About Local Search Ads

Have you noticed ads popping up in Google Maps lately? I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about these ads – called Local Search Ads – so I thought I’d write up this post to explain what they are and how you can use this ad format in your search advertising.

What Are Local Search Ads?

Local Search Ads are an AdWords ad format that features your business location and can be shown when a user searches on Google.com or Google Maps. On Google.com, the ad is eligible to show in local results, which are separate from standard organic results. If Search Partners are enabled in the AdWords account, the ad can also show in Google Maps as a sponsored location with a highlighted Map pin.

The ads may appear like this on a mobile device:

Or the ads may show like this on a desktop:

Is This Guaranteed?

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee your ad shows in local results, and there are only a couple of available ad positions so it can be quite tough to get visibility. Plus, the proximity of the business location to the searcher plays a big role in determining the ad that shows, which you can’t control.

How Can You Use This Feature?

There are a couple things you can do to try to get your ad to show more often. In addition to the minimum requirements (location extension enabled and Search Partners enabled to show on Google Maps):

  • You can use bid adjustments to increase your bid right around your business location. This will keep your overall campaign relatively unchanged but increase your bid for visitors in the area where Local Search Ads are most likely to show.
  • You can also focus on improving the Quality Score for the keywords most likely to show local results, which will, in turn, improve your Ad Rank.

How Can You Measure Local Search Ads Performance?

Within AdWords, reporting on Local Search Ads performance is limited. You can view performance metrics for your location extension, but that will include information for the location extension itself (within standard search results) and on Local Search Ads. Or you can use Dimensions reporting to identify traffic that used the “get locations” or “driving directions” links, which are exclusive to Local Search Ads.

Hopefully, this information gives you a better understanding of how Local Search Ads work and how to increase the chance of having your ads show with this ad format. If you’d like more help getting your business to show in local results on Google.com or Google Maps, contact a ReachLocal Digital Marketing Consultant today.

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Bob Nishiyama

Bob has over 15 years of online marketing experience and helping businesses generate and monetize web traffic through SEO, PPC, display advertising, and social media. He is currently ReachLocal's VP of Search Media, and is responsible for the development of the company's paid search platform, performance of campaigns, and growth of the business.

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