Google Maps Marketing & Advertising: Everything You Need To Know
Google Maps marketing consists of two main concepts: Free marketing with Local SEO and having paid ads on Google Maps. In this article, we will cover both methods for increasing your local business traffic, brand awareness, and local in-store sales potential.
We will answer how to use Google Maps for marketing to grow local sales.
Why You Need Google Maps Marketing
Making sure your business has Google Maps local visibility is nowadays more crucial than ever before. Not finding a local store directly on Google Search or Google Maps will hurt a business’s ability to reach their nearby customers, build loyal customer bases within their neighborhoods, and build trust.
Google Maps marketing is the optimization of your Google My Business (GMB) profile and making your store easier to find locally. Google Maps will be your digital sign for nearby customers.
Even local customers start their buyer journeys more often than not online, and will lead to losing potential in-store visits due to lack of local search engine visibility.
Google Maps, as part of a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial to gain local visibility from old and new customers.
Ranking high locally on Google Maps, where potential customers are looking for directions nearby, you can significantly increase local foot traffic. Losing these eyeballs to your competitor next door will never be ideal.
As mobile search is the dominant part of Google search, the proximity of businesses to the searcher is a key factor in ranking locally. Google Maps and the local pack results are always dominant to other search queries when they are relevant to the searcher.
Introducing an optimized Google Maps marketing strategy utilizes every avenue of free visibility that Google can offer for local companies. You want your store to be on top searches of your area, especially when a customer is looking for products and services you’re offering.
Optimizing your Google Maps visibility is also free; therefore, cost-effective and businesses can profit from its use.
Google Maps Local Pack Visibility
A local pack takes a lot of real estate from any particular search on Google, and it can offer a great benefit to your store when utilized correctly. A crucial advantage of Local SEO and Google Maps is that when optimized, you can have your profile listed directly on relevant search terms on Google Search itself.
Gaining local pack ranks on top of your competitors is a method to take away customers for your benefit. Even if your competitor is stronger in SEO visibility, you can reach more click, sales, and brand awareness from nearby visitors.
Local search in Google is crucial as many of your potential customers start their journey there, and most would prefer a local business to fill their needs. A local pack fills this need for a searcher by giving direction, reviews, opening hours, names, images, and more quickly on the search engine itself.
For example, let’s imagine a customer that has run out of a product and needs it quickly; they will just type a search query in maps while preparing to leave for a store nearby. If your business fills that need with relevant products and has an optimized map listing, it would show up to the customer before another listing. Therefore, ending in a likely sale, without any further advertising.
Google serves map search queries that are relevant, distance appropriate, and prominent, and optimizing these factors is vital in building local brand awareness.
Nearby visitors are what bring sales if your company is retail first.
Google My Business Is The Requirement For Google Maps Visibility
If you want to start optimizing your Google Maps marketing, you have to use a Google My Business (GMB) profile. Luckily, a GMB profile is free to create, and it offers many other benefits for you as well.
Optimizing your GMB profile is the way to optimize your Google Maps ranking, and it’s the crucial element of Local SEO.
In a month, Google serves a lot of local search queries around the world and in fact:
- Five billion searches for restaurants and cafes
- 600 million searches for hairdressers and salons
- A billion searches for clothing stores
- Three billion searches for hotels.
A GMB profile will almost instantly place your business in Google Maps and display it when you meet the relevant ranking factors.
Within your GMB profile, you will handle almost everything required to boost and manage your local Google visibility.
If you want to learn more about optimizing, or learning more about what is GMB and it’s benefits, you can read our Google My Business article.
Google Maps Reviews
Social proof through online reviews is a driving factor for a customer’s final decision on where to shop.
Having reviews on your map listing will most likely rank you higher than your peers. While it’s not a defining factor of ranking high, it sure makes it easier for ranking higher.
For example, a customer relying on Google Maps to quickly evaluate their next grocery store to go. They decide from two different options, the other being the nearest, but has a lot of unanswered negative reviews. The other is a bit further away but has better reviews, and the experience seems better. The customer will choose to go to the place with better reviews almost every time.
When a customer makes a purchase decision on the spot, positive reviews and ratings for the customers are essential.
Also, not having any reviews at all available when a customer searches for related business is a red flag for them as it indicates either the company is new and unproven, or without reviews, they might think a business is untrustworthy. In that case, they will choose to go to a competitor instead.
Depending on how you handle the received negative reviews, they can benefit your customers too versus not having reviews. For example, answering questions, building better experiences, and trust.
Clicking a map listing will show you quickly the reviews by scrolling down or by clicking the ratings.
Remember to monitor your reviews and respond to them accordingly. It’s an important strategy to keep your business relevant in Google Maps. The way you handle reviews with GMB can signal to your future customer that you’re a reliable business.
Google Maps Advertising - Local Search Ads
Local businesses can advertise on Google Maps via Google Ads (Learn more about search engine marketing). The ads you’d see on Google Maps are called local search ads.
The local search ads appear where a map would be shown, in the regular search, or in the Google Maps itself on desktop and mobile versions.
A business that uses map ads to promote its stores will see an increase in phone calls, in-store visits, and clicks to the website. Depending on your reliance on local traffic, map ads can drastically be an essential tool in your regional marketing strategy.
Currently, one ad spot is available for advertisers per search, if you’re in a highly contested local market, it may be hard to achieve that spot with your ads, if your ad bids are too low.
It takes four steps to enable ads on Google Maps:
- Enable location extensions in your Google Ads accounts.
- Have an updated Google My Business Listing.
- Choose location targeting and bid by location within your campaigns.
- Use local keywords that are relevant for your location and business.
How ads appear in mobile:
How ads appear in desktop:
You can receive the following users’ actions from the ads: location details click, directions click, mobile clicks-to-call clicks, and clicks to websites.
The use of local search ads in your digital marketing strategy can increase your local results, depending on your company’s nature. It can be the most critical online marketing method to achieve actionable and converting users near you through online means.
Google Maps Marketing Costs
Getting started on Google Maps marketing with a Google My Business account is entirely free. In most cases, you can have an up and running GMB profile in a matter of hours. It means you won’t have to be afraid of spending too much time on it either.
The more you want out of it, the more it’s usually worth your time to fully optimize your GMB profile to its maximum potential. For example, being able to answer customer queries as they come in might be worthwhile in the long run, with only negligible labor costs.
An optimized GMB profile today won’t require much upkeep when done correctly. Of course, never let your profile unattended and, when possible, optimize with new data or goals in mind.
When you consider all the factors and the benefits of Google Maps to your business, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to take, even if it may take you time or extra steps to set up correctly.
As a free marketing tool and to gain the most out of local Google presence, Google Maps marketing is essential.
Using local search ads, Google will charge you by cost-per-click (CPC).
Google Maps Marketing Listing Optimization Tips
Be sure that at all times, your information in your GMB profile is accurate, as this is the primary ranking factor in Google Maps. Wrong information can lead to misclicks and bad experiences, which lowers your potential on Google Maps.
The distance between a business and the customer’s search query will determine if Google serves your business to the customers.
Remember to verify the business address as without verification; your profile isn’t valid.
Reviews also play an essential part in ranking in Google Maps, as reviews are critical for the customer when deciding if they will even enter a store. As a ranking factor for Google, it’ll confirm that the business exists and has merits.
Pick a category that matches your business the most.
Write a detailed description of your services and products. Remember to use relevant keywords when possible.
Use images that reflect your in-store experience and general branding.
Through insights, with data, you can find new avenues for improving your profile to maximize traffic from Google Maps marketing.
Performance Metrics To Track
GMB insights offer many metrics that all are beneficial for building more profound visibility on the platform with web analytics. Most importantly, you should track and analyze user actions – report in GMB Insights, which tells you how many actions your customers have made.
The metrics and reports directly related to Google Maps performance are the following:
Where Customer Views Your Business On Google - Report
The report will show you many listings on maps you’ve had in a period (one week, month, or quarter). Listing on maps – metric shows you many times a customer found your business via Google Maps.
You can evaluate the data between listings on search – data to see if your business receives more views on maps or views on search. You might be surprised to know that many local companies, in the end, will receive more views on Google Maps. Understanding its importance, let’s you make adjustments in your marketing strategy.
Direction Request - Report
The direction request – the report will show where your customers were when they requested directions to your business. A simple view of a map will show up with highlighted areas that show the location of the request.
The data will show how many customers requested directions from each area by postcode, and Google counts every request individually, meaning 100 requests could be from one user.
By analyzing your current and past data that Google My Business Insight gives, you can see the effectiveness of Google Maps marketing to your business.
As we can see through the multiple benefits of Google Maps marketing to companies to increase local customers and brand awareness, it makes it an essential tool to include in your marketing strategy.
Losing strategic placements to your competitors on Google Maps might eventually have a significant impact on your sales. Being online is always crucial, but as local services become more effective in online marketing, you’re hurting your future bottom line by not participating.
Benefiting from local SEO starts by creating your free Google My Business account.