There was a massive change to Local Services ads recently that I’m not seeing many people talk about yet.. This update was so big that we are seeing huge shifts in spending trends in the last 30 days for almost every account we manage.
Crystal Horton was the first to talk about this on Aaron Weiche’s podcast. These changes happened in September and fundamentally changed 2 things about how Local Services Ads work.
Google No Longer Shows 3 Ads at the Top
First, Google shrank how many ads appear in the local services section from 3 to 2 on desktop:
However, on mobile, we still see 3 results 50% of the time:
Google is now rotating Ads more evenly
The second change was that Google started rotating the ads a lot more. Previously, if you had a good account history, it was possible to completely dominate a market and make it really hard for new advertisers to get shown. That is no longer the case. To help illustrate what it looks like now, we set up a ranking report using Places Scout and had it scanned every hour for 4 days.
What we found was unbelievably different from what we used to see in the past. In the 124 scans that we looked at over 4 days, Google rotated 10 different advertisers in and out of the top spots.
How did Google’s Change Impact Advertisers?
How did these 2 changes impact advertisers? The impact was pretty substantial for most accounts.
If you are in an industry that is extremely saturated and competitive, you likely got hurt by this.
However, if you only have a few competitors participating in local service ads, you could benefit greatly
|Industry||Aug Cost||Sept Cost||Cost Change|
|Personal Injury Law||$20,711.43||$17,468.80||-15.66%|
This change also appears to have helped the smaller business. For advertisers who spent $1000 or less in August, we saw an overall increase of 25% in September.
Overall, across all accounts, we saw spending go up by 5% in September. So yep, Google made more money. Shocking, I know.
What Local Services Ads (LSAs)Display on Mobile and Desktop Varies a Ton
We also noticed that Google often shows completely different businesses on mobile than they do on desktop for the same search. In the scans we looked at, mobile-only showed the same top 2 businesses in the same order 11% of the time.
If you run local service ads, what have you seen in the last 30 days? Please share with us in the comments.