If you’re a business that’s eligible for Google’s Local Services Ads (LSAs), you may be surprised at just how much they can influence SERP results. According to a recent Local Services Ads Click Study by Bright Local, the presence of LSAs actually affects clicks on all SERP types, pulling traffic away from organic listings. In fact, the presence of Local Services Ads can increase paid clicks by 10.8%.
So what are Local Services Ads? They’re part of a pay-per-lead advertising platform Google created to market specific home services companies. By the end of 2017, the platform was available in 30 US markets and currently focuses on five main categories (with more available in some California areas):
- HVAC contractors
- garage door service contractors
Many eligible businesses neglect LSAs as part of their paid marketing strategy, but this study proves they should no longer be ignored.
How the Local Services Ads Study Was Conducted
The methodology of this study was comprehensive, with Bright Local using Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit 5,500 testers who looked at five different SERPs. Half of the testers viewed Google search results that featured LSAs while the other half viewed results without LSAs. Each tester picked the result he or she would choose if looking for a home service professional and provided reasons for their choices. The study offers many important insights into what drives click decisions and shows the impact of SERP changes on potential leads.
When Local Search Ads were present in SERPs, 25.3% of all clicks went to paid results. That number is significant considering clicks for paid results were only 14.6% when LSAs were absent – a difference of 10.8%. Clearly, having choices at the top of the page changes how buyers view results.
Overall, when Local Search Ads were present, 13.8% of clicks went to LSAs, 11.1% went to PPC Top Ads, and 28.8% went to Local Pack Results. Regardless of result type, position one is still the best location. LSA position one got more than double the clicks of position two or three, and the highest PPC result received triple the number of clicks of the other positions.
Local Search Ads Knock Organic Results Down a Peg
Organic clicks, still the king in search results, saw a decline in clicks with LSAs present. With LSAs, 55.8% of clicks happened before organic results. For non-LSA search results, that number dropped to 48.7% – a difference of 7.1%. When organic is concerned, every percentage helps.
Another interesting finding was the emphasis testers placed on reviews and ratings when deciding where to click, even for organic results. Around 23.2% of all clicks were motivated by ratings and review numbers alone. Additionally, online directories were major players in local SERPs, with Yelp’s “Top 10 Businesses…” organic rankings taking a good chunk of clicks (14.52% of overall clicks went to Yelp and other directories).
The question of whether or not to use Local Search Ads in your paid marketing strategy should no longer be on the table. The study by Bright Local shows LSAs significantly change click behavior and influence buying decisions. Every business that’s able to participate in this platform should absolutely give it a try. While it’s not the only place you should be in SERPs, it’s an area you shouldn’t neglect.