Google is rebranding and rolling out its advertising and verification for local service providers that launched in beta in 2015 as Google Home Services. Now known as Google Local Services, Google announced Tuesday that the program has expanded to 17 US cities with plans to be in 30 cities by year-end.
Service providers can manage their campaigns and appointments through a new Local Services app, available on iOS and Android, rather than via AdWords Express. Businesses can control the number of leads they receive through the program by pausing and enabling their ads in the app. A personalized profile page shows reviews, contact info and unique aspects about the business. Ratings can come via Google My Business or from leads received through the program. Those reviews can then be verified by Google.
Instead of the the typical bidding auction, leads are priced by Google for each job type in each area. Businesses can see the price of a lead when they sign up in the app. Product director of Local Services Kim Spalding said in a phone interview Monday that the pricing is based on “balancing what we know about cost of jobs and overall demand.”
Advertisers set a weekly budget determined by the number of leads they want to receive. Google won’t say specifically what factors go into the rankings in the ad unit, but Spalding said there’s a focus on quality (ratings and reviews), the ability to connect right away, location and a number of other factors.
The results appear on desktop and mobile for services categories locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC and garage door services are covered in all of the current cities, which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, and the California cities of Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Some of those cities also have additional categories such as handyman and house cleaning services. The program was in just five metro areas as of July.
The ad units launched on mobile in 2016.
Businesses that want to participate need to go through a verification process. Each employee goes through a background check. Spalding says it takes about two weeks to sign up and get certification. Each verified business gets the Google guarantee badge that ensures Google will cover claims up to the job invoice amount if a customer is unsatisfied with the work.
Spalding says they’ve found users prefer the speed of calling to messaging for more urgent types of jobs. In these cases, the ads will often show with just the phone option. Others include both phone and messaging options. Users can also submit lead forms through the service.
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