Chris LaSala, director, SMB reseller partnerships, Google, updated the audience at ILM:09 on how Google’s approach to local monetization is evolving.
LaSala walked through a number of new or recent product innovations that raised the ante in Google’s effort to make local advertising easy and effective for SMBs.
Here is some of what he shared:
Favorite Places. This is a way for consumers to make an offline-online connection using a sticker with a QR code that a merchant posts in its location, which consumers can read with their mobile device to receive the shop’s business profile, and perhaps special offers and so on.
Place Pages. Google has been aggregating available content on all “places” from parks to churches to business locations. Google is now focusing on making it possible for SMBs to claim their place page and update, improve the content.
Ads on the 7-Pack. LaSala previewed how Google is testing the placement of ads on the map for the Google 7-pack, which he calls Local Universal. The ad content is marked with blue pins, versus the familiar red flags indicating algorithmic results.
Store Locator Ads. These are ads that include a search box within an ad unit to search for store locations. The user can also drag the map to the desired location and the nearest stores will appear.
Click-to-Call Ads. These will appear only in mobile. A phone number is linked to a listing, and the consumer can launch a phone call, which is captures and monetized.
LaSala also addressed the issue of small-business willingness to do self provisioning. He suggested that Google is aware of this, is focused on it, and over time, resistance will diminish as Google’s self-service tools become easier to use.