Google Just Made a Massive Change to Local Services Ads – What You Need to Know!

23 Feb, 2024 Google News

Local service ads, better known as LSAs, are an important part of any digital marketing campaign. This integral service ensures that your business is shown to potential customers that resonate with your message and have the need that you provide solutions for. The role LSA can play in a lead generation strategy cannot be understated, which is what makes this most recent update from Google so important.

To understand how this update affects advertisers and the viewers of their campaigns, we first need to go over the effects that this update had on how LSAs function for both desktop and mobile users. Understanding how this update impacted LSAs is integral to not only understanding how it affects advertisers, but how we can optimize our strategies for this new version.

The Update

Google’s update to LSAs is very device-dependent with results varying significantly between desktop and mobile users. For example, different businesses end up in the top ranking slots depending on which device users are using to search their query. A study found that, since the update, mobile and desktop showed the same businesses in the same order only 11 percent of the time.

Additionally, desktop and mobile users may see a different number of ads at the top of their search results. Across the board, desktop users are now only seeing two ads where they previously saw three. For mobile users, this is somewhat the case as well. About 50 percent of the time, those who are using Google’s search function on their cell phones see two ads at the top of their results. The other 50 percent of the time, mobile users see three ads as they normally would before this update.

The one change that is consistent for desktop and mobile users is the frequency at which advertisements rotate. In the past, businesses could easily dominate the LSA market if they had a strong enough account history. However, this update now has LSAs rotating more often and changing several times throughout the course of the day.

The frequency of this change varies based on industry, the number of competitors in a given area, and the amount the term is searched for. According to one study, ten advertisers were shuffled around the top LSA spots over the course of the four days and 124 scans were done checking the frequency of these changes. While this rate may not be consistent with other industries, it does show a consistent pattern of updating and promoting different businesses more frequently.

How This Affects Advertisers

As with all updates, different advertisers in different industries with different levels of competition are going to see different effects. Because of the fewer ad slots and the frequency of rotating businesses, those who are in saturated and competitive markets are going to struggle to get a strong hold in LSAs that they may have been able to maintain previously. However, those who are in smaller industries with fewer competitors investing in LSAs are likely to experience a benefit from this update.

Additionally, Google’s update seems to be promoting small businesses. Those that spent $1,000 or less on advertising in August saw a 25 percent increase in traffic in September compared to previous months.

Optimize your LSA Strategy

With these updates covered, it is important that we keep these matters in mind when developing and updating our LSA strategy. However, completing these next steps can be very challenging for those who are not highly skilled and educated in how these campaigns function, resulting in wasted time and money. Our team of LSA experts can help you draft the most effective campaign possible so that your business can flourish. To see how our team can improve your digital marketing, contact BluShark Digital today!