Google Ads Local campaigns

How useful are local campaigns on Google Ads actually? Are they actually bringing in real customers or is there a lot of spam? What is the best way to use them?

Below is an analysis, more or less empirical, but based on personal experience, of how useful these campaigns can be to a digital strategy.

How useful are local campaigns?​

Premise: no advice is wrong, I myself prefer a click on the phone from a website, if the website itself is well done, rather than a smart or local campaign, but here we have to think about what the customer needs.

Local campaigns have been active for several years, but they were often used as smart campaigns. In the past there has also been an attempt by Google to launch local campaigns based on the search network: the conversions have always been very empirical and have never worked in line with the needs.

The main differences between local campaigns and smart campaigns are the following:

  • smart campaigns need keywords to perform, but not more than 10;  local campaigns ALSO need keywords, but mostly in-market or affinity audiences, and remarketing lists, which are not supported by smart campaigns;
  • smart campaigns only have a maximum of 3 images available, local campaigns accommodate up to 20 images, and videos, because they can also interact with YouTube;
  • smart campaigns work with conversions “hosted” by Google, but also with Google conversions, as long as they come from Analytics: there is NO integration with the Google Ads tag; local campaigns only work with “hosted” conversions from Google;
  • smart campaigns work on Google Search, and to some extent also with Google Maps, as long as the SERP is used; local campaigns work directly on both Google search and Google Maps networks.

In smart campaigns it is not possible to decide on any type of targeting other than keywords, which can be excluded from the search terms;

Local campaigns also work with users’ target demographics, interests, and user purchasing power. You can also exclude keywords from the content suitability menu if necessary.

It is also important to open a parenthesis on the “road directions”: they are very empirical actions, meaning itis not worth to trust them 100%, because they show how many people have checked the route from a point a public park, etc., to the physical store: it does not mean that people actually run that journey.

Despite this, they help to create an idea of how many times users search for the store and its location, and how to reach it.

Store visits, on the other hand, are a more reliable metric, because they should be linked to the destination reached on Google Maps.

Therefore, to understand which campaign is the most suitable for a shop, or a dentist, or local business, if you have these conversions, the local pmax is certainly the most suitable.
The smart campaign is, in my opinion, in second place, as it is based on the same conversions, but is much more restrictive as it only uses one targeting method.
A normal search campaign, however, DOES NOT show Google my business conversions: therefore it is the least suitable for advertising towards a shop.

local campaigns on google ads by analytics4

As can be seen from the previous image, we are investing in visits to the store, specifically with a local campaign. In one month there were 388 requests for directions (we have already mentioned about his empiricism) but also 18 visits to the shop: it is assumed, therefore, that people arrived at their destination, and joined the shop, very often with the active smartphone.

When to use local campaigns on Google Ads?

This data can show how much a local strategy can actually bring benefits, if you have already connected your Google Maps account with your Google Ads account. Obviously the cost per conversion can be more or less high, depending on the business, and how much people entered just out of curiosity, or actually bought. On average, however, those who have a well-structured listing on Google My Business, and perhaps have active local campaigns, notice an increase in their business of at least 30% on a previous basis.

There are more and more cases of shops receiving phone calls with requests for opening hours, or availability of specific products, and so on. It is, therefore, important to set up your campaigns properly, analyze the audience we want to address and narrow it down according to our needs. .

Are you already using local campaigns, or rather smart campaigns in place of locale ones? Are they performing within your expectations?

Are you interested in learning more about local campaigns? Do you have them but they don’t perform well enough?

Contact us, or go to the form below, and ask for an audit and we will see which strategy is best suited to your case.