Look Ma, no keywords! Phrase-free AdWords campaigns are here
Contributor Andy Taylor discusses Google's new Local Search Ads Experiment in AdWords, which uses address and location categories in lieu of keywords to trigger relevant local results.
Some brick-and-mortar advertisers logged into accounts in late February to find new campaigns named “Local Search Ads Experiment Campaign” populated in AdWords.
Google has confirmed that these campaigns are currently running for select advertisers only and promote verified business locations in local search results in both Google Search and maps without using keywords.
Instead of keywords, Google uses Google My Business (GMB) information such as location address and location category to trigger relevant results. Advertisers cannot request to take part in the experiment at this time.
While these campaigns are still in very early days, how should advertisers think about this recent development?
Locally focused optimizations
Right now, most brick-and-mortar advertisers only have one lever available to control when ads show up in Google maps searches or in local ad displays directly on Google.com: the activation or deactivation of location extensions.
Local Services is another paid local format that is managed through a dedicated local services portal, but it is currently limited to a handful of home service industries in select US cities. Thus, location extensions are driving local ad results for most brick-and-mortar brands in most locations at this point.
Location extensions have existed for years and are traditionally added to AdWords campaigns for all brick-and-mortar advertisers as a best practice for gaining additional search engine results pages (SERP) real estate and giving searchers useful information on store locations and hours.
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