Our Google Local Services ads FAQ is designed to answer some of the most common questions we encounter. For an intro to LSA’s you may also want to review our earlier blog post on this topic.

What Are Local Services Ads?

Local Services Ads in Google are an innovation introduced in 2018 to allow service providers with a localized area of operations to more easily get in front of their target customers when they’re needed. Instead of requiring campaigns and keywords Google will have you identify what your services are and will show your ad in the “Google Guaranteed” box at the very top of search results. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

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How Do I Access Google Local Services?

Visit ads.google.com/local-services/ads‎ to either access your Local Services ads account, sign up for a new account or check the status of your application. There are some steps involved in applying for Local Services ads, here are the basics you’ll encounter:

  1. Be in a market where your service category qualifies for LSA’s
  2. Have the proper licensing and insurance documents
  3. Background checks

How Much Do Ads Cost?

Google collects a fee for every lead that you get, however applying and setting up your ads doesn’t cost anything other than time and energy. Here’s how Google explains the process:

“You set an average weekly budget based on the average number of leads you want to receive in any given week.

You may sometimes spend more on leads than your average weekly budget in a given week, but you’ll never spend more than your monthly max, which is your average weekly budget multiplied by the average number of weeks in a month.” (Google Support)

The cost per lead for LSA varies widely by industry and market, and you cannot set a target cost per lead. You set your weekly budget, service area, time of day to run the ad, the job types you service, and then turn on your LSA campaign. Your cost associated with a lead ultimately depends on your industry and ability to convert the LSA leads into booked business.

A couple tips if you’re struggling to get leads for LSA’s:

  • Inflate the weekly budget to ensure your ads show more often.
  • Make sure to mark leads as booked or not booked in your LSA dashboard. This is a critical step in helping Google determine what’s a valid lead for your business, and will adjust the types of searches your LSA ads show for.

What’s The Process For Applying?

The basics were outlined in an earlier answer:

  • Be in a market where your service category qualifies for LSA’s
  • Have the proper licensing and insurance documents
  • Background checks

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each step in the process.

Markets and Categories is challenging because there is no fully updated published list available, and Google requires you to start the application process to see if you qualify. It’ best to visit https://ads.google.com/local-services-ads/ and enter your information to see if your business qualifies to be able to use LSA’s.

If you qualify based on location and category, congrats! Now you will need to upload images of your business licenses and insurance coverage for review. These will typically be reviewed and approved within 24-48 hours of submission. Pretty painless, the next step is a little less so.

Background checks can be as simple as the owners of the company being checked out. In some cases every single field employee will have to be checked as well, which can significantly lengthen the amount of time required to complete this step. The complete list of requirements by category can be found here for review. Take a look to see what the requirements will be for your business so you know what you’re getting into before you start the process.

Once you’ve finished all steps and have been approved, you’ll get the green “Google Guaranteed” checkmark badge in your listing.

Is this process the same for all service providers?

For the most part, however on May 1st Google launched a new “pre-badge” status for some businesses.

This new Local Services ad type is designed to help providers from these 4 specific verticals: 

  • Appliance Repair
  • Lawn Care
  • Tree Service
  • Window Cleaner

Google created this to help providers see results quickly when they sign up. The process will still be the same as described above, however ads will begin showing as soon as they finish the License verification, 1+ Review, and Billing steps. Ads during this phase will not have the green Google Guarantee badge. They will have 30 days to complete the remaining steps to continue advertising and earn the badge.

How Are Local Services Ads Different From Google Ads?

Local Services Ads and Google Search Ads will often show up together when a keyword search is made, but they’re very different tactics. Google Search Ads are made and managed in Google Ads (ads.google.com) and require a business, or their agency partner, to go through a series of steps in a very manual process to show up:

  1. Identify your keywords
  2. Build Campaigns and Ad Groups
  3. Write Ads
  4. Send traffic to a landing page on your website
  5. Try to convert that traffic into phone calls or form submissions

With Local Services Ads you can be up and running after you finish the application process and enter a weekly budget. There is ongoing optimization you can do as well as actions within your Google My Business page you can take to improve results, but the objective is to make it as easy as possible for you to get relevant leads. You’ll also either get phone calls or messages sent directly from your LSA listing with no website visit required. The costs of each platform are also very different. For LSA’s you pay per lead while in Google Search you pay per click on your ads. Even when you set a target cost per lead for bidding in Google Search you are still paying per click and your actual CPA can be considerably higher than your bid.

How Do Local Services Ads and Google Ads Work Together?

LSA’s and Google Search Ads will show up together when triggered by a keyword search, but does that mean you should only pick one? No. A proper PPC strategy should use both of these channels together to drive the most leads at the lowest cost between the two platforms by planning for both of them as part of a single strategy. In Google Search you decrease your CPA primarily by decreasing bids, narrowing keywords/adding negatives, or improving your landing pages. In LSA’s you decrease your CPA by improving your conversion rate. It’s not a simple matter to do this, which is why agencies like Gemini exist. You’ll want to find the optimal point across Google Search Ads and LSA’s combined by doing the following:

  1. Determine your current lowest CPA channel and increase budget in increments by shifting money from the higher CPA channel. Continue to do this every week until you’re no longer able to spend the allocated budget in the lower CPA channel.
  2. Simultaneously in the higher CPA channel begin lowering your target CPA (or CPC bids) to drive down the costs of this channel.
  3. Keep running through this process until you find the optimal point of ad spend and CPA across both channels.

Proper execution of this should allow you to capture space in both the Google Guaranteed box and in the top of paid search spots while reducing your overall costs of lead acquisition. Contact us if you have additional questions or would like to talk with our team about developing the right strategy for your business.