The worst kept secret is that Google are looking to monetise the local channel.
By linking Google My Business (GMB) with your PPC campaigns your ads are eligible to appear in the local results.
Previously, you’d only see these ads if you clicked on more places but now Google are testing paid ads appearing in the 3 pack.
For now, Google are not sacrificing any of the organic results but watch this space.
The latest developments give us the same feeling as when Google changed their trademark bidding rules, and then again when resellers could feature brands in their PPC ad copy. In time, I’m sure we’ll get over it but while it’s in beta, we’ll continue to be outraged if that’s OK with you.
Google are allowing Group On ads to appear within your GMB listing!
Right now, we know the following…
- Brands don’t get a chance to approve or disapprove these ads from appearing on their GMB listing.
- Google is giving Groupon access to brands.
- This is only a test being run with Groupon so it shouldn’t affect every brand.
- Groupon is actively bidding on brand searches for certain businesses where they have offers.
Only natural we’d have the following questions…
What if Google expands this to all resellers/partners?
Could this start to look like hotel ads where all providers appear against the brand’s location?
Brands could lose margin. A user searches for a brand and location and Groupon could still the click, prevent a store visit and most importantly, steal the conversion that could have happened anyway.
All digital marketers have got used to an open and competitive landscape but this is the equivalent of someone opening the front door of your shop and selling what you have at a cheaper cost.
Expect this beta to develop as with local in general. Local is the next major revenue stream for Google but it seems they haven’t quite found the perfect formula.