Google announced the opening of LSAs (Local Services Ads) to auction based pricing. Only selected advertisers will initially get access to this auction. Google has launched this after a successful test in a subset of professional services categories.
If an advertiser is eligible to participate in the new beta, Google will send a notification. Assuming that this beta test delivers positive results, Google will make this bidding available for all in the coming year. The selected advertisers don’t have to participate – the fixed pricing is still available. LSAs were launched in 2015 with fixed cost per lead pricing. Leads can be delivered in the form of calls, appointment bookings or messages, depending on what the advertiser wants to receive.
After the success of auction based pricing in the professional services, Google has now entered into the auction based pricing for local services advertisers.
For advertisers to be able to participate, they must be certified as Google Guaranteed or Google Screened. Both of these programs involve, licensing, insurance and background checks. One of the top benefits of LSAs is that they appear at the top of the search results and above the Map Pack. They also prominently feature reviews and the trust signal of Google Guaranteed or Google Screened. Under the new auction based pricing, advertisers can only set one bid regardless of lead type. In other words, they must bid the same amount for a call, message or booking. If they operate in multiple verticals, as some in the home services industry do – they can bid separately by vertical.
This move could have been foreseen as LSAs become more competitive, there’s demand for a way to stand out. Even though some categories have numerous Google Guaranteed advertisers, but only three ads can appear on the page. The remaining are available on a list, one page down. Bidding surely gives advertisers more control and allows those that want to pay more for leads the ability to do so. This also means more revenue for Google as more and more local advertisers enter the program!