Local Service Ads & How to Grow with Them

Local Service Ads & How to Grow with Them Blogpost Images Marinos 1

The digital age has ushered us rather violently in a world where doing business globally is not only possible, but also preferable. While this may be true for marketing agencies, consulters and a myriad of other businesses, there are still many professionals who work and thrive on a local scale. Home services like plumbers, electricians, etc are a good example of this. Can you imagine booking an appointment for a leaking pipe a continent away?

And this is where local service ads come in. Local service ads have evolved into a staple of modern local  search engine marketing, PPC campaigns and SEO strategy. They are quite different from traditional Google Ads, so in this article we are going to explain how they work, how you can benefit from them and how you can set them up.

What Are Local Service Ads

But, we should start from the basics first. The very definition of local service ads. Well, as their name implies, they are ads focused on helping local service providers. They do that by appearing for local businesses to the person performing a Google search. They only appear at the top of the search results and can display the company’s name, city, phone number, ratings, reviews, etc. In certain cases, they can also display the professional’s profile picture, helping to put a face on the name.

Local service ads are a great addition to local SEO and help businesses generate leads through phone calls or messages. They are perfect for professionals, not just technicians or builders but also lawyers, doctors and others. Just like regular ads, they require a budget and regular monitoring and optimization.

Local Service Ads Are the Best Way to Be on Top as a Service-Led Business

Local service ads offer a wide array of benefits that regular ones don’t. Since they are better suited for reaching local customers, they are a much preferable alternative to businesses that operate on that level. Below is a list of a few only examples:

Health & Wellness

  • Orthodontist
  • Allergist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dietitian

Legal Services

  • Family lawyer
  • Business lawyer
  • Contract lawyer
  • Criminal lawyer

Pet Services

  • Animal rescue
  • Pet adoption
  • Pet boarding
  • Pet grooming

Home Technicians

  • Flooring
  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • HVAC

As for the benefits, local service ads offer:

Increased Visibility & Qualified Leads

  • Prime Placement: LSAs appear at the top of Google search results, putting your business in front of potential customers actively seeking services in your area.
  • Targeted Reach: You define your service area and target audience, ensuring your ad reaches people most likely to need what you offer.
  • Focus on Leads, not Clicks: Unlike traditional pay-per-click (PPC) ads, you only pay when a potential customer contacts you through a call, message, or booking request. This translates to better value for your advertising budget.

Transparency & Trust Building

  • Detailed Business Profile: Your ad includes essential information like services offered, hours of operation, customer reviews, and Google Guarantee or Screening badges (if applicable).
  • Credibility Boost: These badges signify background checks and commitment to quality service, increasing trust with potential customers.
  • Cost-per-Lead Transparency: You can track your spending and see the exact cost of each lead generated through your LSA campaign.

Flexibility & Control

  • Targeted Scheduling: You can schedule when your ads appear, ensuring maximum impact during peak business hours.
  • Geographic Targeting: Refine your service area or focus on specific neighborhoods based on demand.
  • Easy Management: Manage your campaign and ad details through a user-friendly interface, allowing for adjustments on the go.

How to Set Up Local Service Ads

Step 1

Sign In or Create an Account: If you already have a Google Ads account, you can sign in. Otherwise, click “Get started” to create a new account.

Step 2

Check your eligibility: Enter your country, zip code, and select your service category from the options provided. Click “Check Eligibility.” This will tell you if LSAs are currently available for your business type in your area.

Google Local Service Ads eligibility section.

Step 3

Create your profile: Fill out your business details like name, phone number, and website (if applicable). Ensure this information matches your Google My Business listing for consistency.

Step 4

As you move through the setup process, you’ll be prompted to provide details about the services you offer. This helps Google match your business perfectly with potential customers searching for what you do. Tell Google exactly where you serve customers. Do you cover your entire city, or specialize in specific neighborhoods? Pinpoint your reach to ensure you connect with local clients. Select the specific services you offer from the available options. Can’t find your exact service listed? Don’t worry! It simply means LSAs might not be currently available for that particular service in your area.

Google Local Service Ads service area section.

Step 5

Preview your ad: While setting up your LSA campaign, Google will automatically generate a preview of your ad based on your business profile and service details. Keep in mind that this preview cannot be directly edited. To modify the ad content, you’ll simply need to adjust the information within your profile – any updates there will be reflected in your ad.

Step 6

Verify your business: Google will require a background check for most service categories. This helps ensure user trust and maintains the quality of LSA providers.  You’ll need to submit relevant paperwork such as licenses, insurance documents, and business registration (requirements may vary). After submitting your information, Google will review everything for verification. This process can take some time, so be patient.

Step 7

Adjust your budget: Set a weekly budget for your campaign. If you haven’t already added your billing details, you can do it now.\

Google Local Service Ads budget section.

Step 8

Link your Google Business profile: During LSA setup, Google will check for a linked Google Business Profile. If you already have one that matches your business information, you can easily connect it to your campaign. Don’t have one yet? No problem! LSA verification requires a matching profile, so you can create one right then and there.

Step 9

Wait for approval: Once you’ve completed your LSA application with service details and business information, Google swings into action. They’ll begin a screening and verification process, typically taking a few days to several weeks. This might involve background checks, business registration and licensing verification, and even insurance confirmation – all to ensure your business meets their high standards.

Calculate Your Costs with Google’s Budget Estimation Tool

Local service ads operate on a different model than traditional ads. Instead of paying per click, you pay per lead. The cost differs depending on your location, industry and competitors. You can use Google’s cost tool to get an estimate. Remember, it’s an approximate one and the final amount will likely differ.

Ofcourse, you control your budget. You can set it according to the number of leads you want to receive every week and once you reach your monthly limit, the ad stops showing automatically. You can increase the budget if you wish it to keep displaying.

Managing Your Local Service Ads

When approved, you will be able to see your Account in the “Live Accounts” section in your dashboard. This doesn’t mean that the Local Service Ad has launched. You will need to click on your “Account” and then hit “Edit Profile.” Go to the switch button that says “Your ad is paused” and toggle it.

Managing Your Account

Now, scroll down to see further options to manage your local service ads. 

  1. You can adjust your budget.
Google Local Service Ads budget editing section.
  1. Your service offers.
Google Local Service Ads job types section.
  1. Add photos of yourself, your team or your equipment. Make sure they are high-quality to attract more customers.
  1. Further down, you can turn on the option to receive leads through messages. They cost 50% less than phone leads.
Google Local Service Ads message leads section.
  1. And finally, you can confirm your service areas and business hours.

Local Service Ads & How to Grow with Them

Managing Your Leads

People who have shown some interest in your business but aren’t customers yet are called leads. Follow up quickly with them to secure them.

To view and manage your leads, click on “Leads” in the left-side menu.

Google Service Ads Leads management

This dashboard provides an overview of your leads, categorized by status (New, Active, Booked, Completed). Each lead entry includes details such as customer information, job type, location, lead source, and recent activity.

By clicking on a specific lead, you can access a detailed summary. This summary includes the lead’s status, type, business category, and customizable sections for adding notes. Additionally, users in the U.S. and Canada can access call recordings for reference.

Taking Action on Leads:

The dashboard allows you to take various actions on individual leads:

  • Respond: Compose and send a reply message via email or text message (available in the U.S. and Canada).
  • Call the Lead: Initiate a call directly through the app using the provided phone number.
  • Decline the Request: If a lead isn’t a good fit, you can decline it within the app.

Managing Active Leads and Bookings:

Leads that are responded to will be automatically marked as “Active” within the designated section of the dashboard. Once a job is confirmed, you can mark the lead as “Booked” to track upcoming appointments. This “Booked” status allows you to schedule appointments, send confirmation emails, and request customer reviews.

Reports

Go to “Reports” to review your budget and lead performance.

The dashboard provides an overview of your lead generation campaign performance. This includes:

  • Lead Cost: See how many leads you’ve been charged for.
  • Appointment Tracking: Monitor the number of booked appointments.
  • Detailed Lead Information: Access a list of individual leads including phone number, name, lead type, and business category.

By analyzing this detailed lead information, you can assess the quality of leads generated by your campaign. This can help you determine if adjustments are needed to optimize your campaign for better results.

Unique Data Insights: It’s important to note that this data comes directly from the Local Services Ads platform, offering insights you wouldn’t receive with standard Google Ads campaigns.

Advanced Filtering Options: The dashboard also includes filters for “charge status” and “lead status” allowing you to refine your view and gain more granular details about your leads.

Reviews

Review Impact: Star rating and number of reviews are factors considered by Google when ranking businesses within Local Services Ads. Businesses with higher ratings and more reviews tend to achieve greater visibility and receive more job bookings.

Review Management: Therefore, generating and managing reviews is a crucial aspect of Local Services Ads.

Accessing Reviews: Locate the “Reviews” section within the Local Services Ads dashboard (usually left-hand navigation).

Review Requests: This section provides an overview of received reviews and a list of completed jobs. Utilize the “Ask for Review” option to prompt customers to leave a Google review for your business.

Importance of Direct Requests: Customers are more likely to leave reviews when prompted directly. Don’t hesitate to reach out and politely request Google reviews.

Responding to Reviews: Responding to all reviews demonstrates your appreciation for customer feedback and business.

Review Response Location: Review responses cannot be submitted through your Local Services Ads account. Responses must be made directly on your Google Business Profile.

Centralized Management: The Google Business Profile allows you to view all reviews in one location and respond promptly, fostering online trust for your business.

What Are Google Guarantee & Google Screened

Google Guarantee and Google Screened are programs designed by Google to build trust between customers and businesses that appear on Google ads. Each caters to different businesses though. Let’s go through them.

Google Guarantee focuses on home services. Think plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, etc. Both programs have a verification process, Google Guarantee though might be a bit more extensive in some cases. Google Guarantee also offers a unique feature – reimbursement for unsatisfied customers who meet specific criteria. If a customer hires a Google Guaranteed business through Local Services Ads (and meets eligibility requirements) and is unhappy with the service, Google may reimburse them for the initial service cost, up to a lifetime limit (currently applies in the U.S. and Canada).

Google Screened on the other hand doesn’t offer any reimbursement. It’s only there to signify a verified and reputable business. Also, Google Screened focuses more on professional services like lawyers, real estate agents, childcare and many more.

Both programs provide a verification badge that is displayed on their listing. So, choosing which one you prefer has to do with your business type.

Tracking Your Local Service Ad Calls with Nimbata

Like every other kind of advertising campaign, data plays a major role in local service ads as well. The problem here is that most leads are coming through phone calls, an offline source that is difficult to track and monitor. That’s unless you have a call tracking tool. 

How call tracking works you ask? Well, in simple terms, your call tracking platform will provide you with some tracking numbers. You place these numbers instead of your real ones in your ads. Don’t worry though, calls will be rerouted to your business numbers. The difference is that now, everytime someone calls your tracking number you will be able to gather data and apply them to your advertising campaigns.

Call Tracking Definition

Call tracking refers to the technology that enables the monitoring and recording of inbound phone calls. It’s essentially a system that uncovers how callers discovered your business. By assigning unique phone numbers to different marketing channels, Marketers can pinpoint which ads, campaigns, or search keywords are generating calls. This data is critical because it shows you what’s working in your marketing strategy and what’s not.

💡 For the complete Call Tracking Guide, check out this step-by-step guide.

Nimbata Call Tracking home page.

Nimbata does exactly that and much more. With Nimbata you can also:

  1. Create smooth call flows that guide your leads and customers to your proper customer service agent
  2. Record and transcribe your calls
  3. Tag your calls with custom tags for better lead management
  4. Generate summaries that condense all the important information in a few sentences
  5. Create call greetings, whispers, surveys and voicemails
  6. Cap the number of calls from specific ads and gain a better control of your budget
  7. Design Automations that will save you time and money!

Nimbata is a well-rounded call tracking solution that will give you a plethora of tools to not only monitor your ad campaigns, but optimize them as well.

Conclusion

Wrapping up this article, we talked about local service ads, their benefits and provided a guide on how to set up and run them. To summarize, local service ads:

  • Cater to service type businesses that operate on a local level
  • Operate differently from traditional ads
  • Charge per lead (phone or message) instead of per click
  • Are easy to set up and manage

We also talked about Google Guarantee and Google Screened and when to use them. We believe that local service ads are not a substitute, but a supplement to your PPC and Local Seo campaigns. By using and managing them correctly, you can drive even more leads to your business and convert them more easily.