Questions About Google’s Local Services Ads? We Have Answers

Questions About Google’s Local Services Ads? We Have Answers

A few weeks ago, we announced the addition of Google’s Local Services Ads to Homesnap Concierge. In this post, we’d like to answer some of the most common questions we’ve received from our member agents.

What are Google’s Local Services Ads?   

A brand-new advertising product from Google, Local Services Ads are prioritized at the top of the Google search page, above traditional paid search advertisements, and enable prospects to live call an agent directly from the ad unit.  These ads can also feature an agent’s photo, Google reviews, hours of operation, and a “Google Screened” badge.

How do Local Services Ads factor into Homesnap Concierge?

Local Services Ads are an addition to our Concierge platform, not a replacement for any of its features. If you’re not yet a Homesnap Concierge subscriber, learn more about this premium, fully managed advertising platform and lead qualification service.  

What is a “Google Screened” badge?  And why is it important?

Google is the world’s number one search engine because it delivers accurate information to its users. As a result, Google seeks to prioritize those real estate agents who can prove they are legitimate. 

To do this, Google conducts a business-level background and license check with the permission of the advertising agent. Once the process is complete and the agent verified, Google places a “Google Screened” badge on his or her Local Services Ads. Think of these badges as Google’s way of signifying to the home-buying and selling public that an agent is vetted and trustworthy – like a digital referral. 

For the time being, agents do not have to undergo a Google screen to use Google’s advertising product. However, Google gives priority to those that do. That means if your profile has a “Google Screened” badge, you’ll rank higher and appear more often in Google search results.

As an exclusive Local Services Ads launch partner, Homesnap Concierge can help you navigate the Google screening process. 

Why do I need to provide insurance information? What kind? Where can I obtain documentation from?

It’s part of the background check. Google requires insurance information to establish your business’ legitimacy and legality. You’ll need to provide your Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance (minimum of $250,000), which can be obtained from your brokerage, and your insured business must match your brokerage or registered business.

Why do I have to provide a Social Security number and other personal information?

Again, it’s part of the background check process. Social Security numbers are commonly used to establish identity by background check providers. Your social security number will always be kept safe and secure.

What impacts where I show up in Local Services Ads search results/ ‘ranking’?

There are several factors:

Responsiveness to calls:  The big draw of these ads is the ability for prospects to call an agent directly from the ad unit. Naturally, then, if an agent does not pick up phone calls, Google will deprioritize the agent’s ads.

“Google Screened” badge:  Google gives priority treatment to ads that have a “Google Screened” badge. “Google Screened” agents will rank higher and appear more often in search results.

Budget:  Local Services Ads are a paid product.  The more budget an agent commits, the more likely Google is to prioritize his or her ads.

Reviews:  Google reviews are the ultimate social proof.  They are viewed by many homebuyers and sellers, particularly millennial ones, as more reliable than any other advertising or marketing channel—including referrals. The more up-to-date (within the past 90 days) reviews an agent has, the better.

Why is my phone number not displayed on my ad/the wrong phone number?

To protect your privacy, Google uses a randomly generated Google Voice number that automatically routes to you. However, the phone number on your caller ID from the lead is their actual phone number, not a randomly generated Google Voice number.

Be sure to give your actual phone number to your connected leads.

Why does it say “Serves X City” on my ad when I want to target City Y?

“Serves X City” is based on the city where your office is located, which is based on your Google business profile. It does not mean you are targeting that area unless you’ve indicated you wanted to on your onboarding survey or through your dedicated Concierge representative. 

Why am I getting rental/spam/vendor calls? Am I paying for these?

Your ads only show up for high-intent real estate keywords, not for renting. However, people looking to rent may use keywords such as ‘real estate agent near me,’ see your ad, and call.  You are not charged for these leads; Homesnap handles the dispute process for you.

Where can I see a list of all my calls and the lead phone numbers?

You can view the ins and outs of your campaigns, including calls and lead phone numbers, on your Concierge Dashboard.

Is there someone I can talk to about Google’s Local Services Ads?

If you’re already a Concierge subscriber, please email your dedicated account manager.  They’ll be happy to help you add Local Services Ads to your Concierge membership.

If you’re not yet a Concierge subscriber, click here to schedule an introductory meeting with a Concierge team member.