Its not been five minutes since Marissa Meyer got her feet under the table with Google’s Local and Geo offerings than Google have announced the launch of Google Boost, a new online advertising solution to help local businesses connect with customers in their local area.
With research suggesting around 97% of people conducting searches before purchasing in their local area, it probably isn’t a surprise that Google is investing so much time and manpower in this area, and the migration of Marissa Meyer in this direction would suggest a long term eye on dominating the local market place, particularly with services such as Facebook ads, providing a credible competitor in this area.
Boost itself is essentially an extension of your Google Places functionality and allows advertisers to create online search ads from within their Google Places account. Initially this has only been rolled out within a small number of localised areas in the US, namely Chicago, San Francisco and Houston – however one would be a fool to suggest that this will not be rolled out across the US and probably Canada in the near future.
This would appear though to be a first step into the major monetisation of local results though – with this previously having been the domain of many organic search managers in the past. As with traditional paid inventory, Boost results will be charged on a per click basis with relevancy based on the details you provide Google from within your Boost setup.
The Boost results appear in the ‘sponsored links’ section of the Google results page, above the blended Maps and organic results. Advertisers will be able to provide details such as their name, address, phone number, website as well as provide other details such as reviews, average star rating and a link to their Places listing. Users using Google tags will also have a yellow tag appear within the sponsored ad.
Whilst as we mentioned earlier these results are currently only limited to the three cities mentioned above, potential interested parties can express an interest with Google early and will be notified when this is rolled out in their area.
On a personal note, I am surprised its taken Google this long to monetise the local opportunity, however with the new team on board, I can’t help thinking its likely to be the first of a number of changes to the local Google framework we may see in the future. Further expansion of this without both the paid, blended and Maps frameworks I would suggest are only a matter of time, and further monetisation of this route would appear to be a given.
As a sidenote – Google removed the URL option of Google tags the same day – co-incidence?