Google Ending Local Listing Ad Test in San Francisco and San Diego

I just received this email from a user testing Local Listing Ads in San Francisco:

Dear Local Business Center User,

Thank you for participating in the free trial program for Local Listing Ads, in Google Local Business Center. We’re writing to let you know that we’re ending the trial period for this feature and are using your constructive and positive feedback to make further improvements prior to releasing an enhanced version more widely.

We’d appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to give us feedback on your experiences with Local Listings Ads XXXXXX. The survey should take around 5 minutes.

While we make these feature enhancements, we will no longer accept new sign-ups for Local Listing Ads, and your ad(s) will stop running in mid December. We encourage you to save any account and performance information you might need for your records as soon as possible, as access to the Ads tab in Local Business Center will be also removed in mid December.

Finally, we’re happy to let you know that you have not been charged for any advertising, even if your ad ran for longer than the 30 day free trial period. As a token of appreciation, we’d also like to offer you a $100 credit towards advertising with Google AdWords, which you can use to target your local market with geographic targeting (and location extensions. To redeem this coupon:

Sign up for Google AdWords, or log in at
Click on the “My Account” tab at the top in your AdWords account
Click the “Billing Preferences” sub-heading
Scroll down to the “Promotional Codes” section and enter your code exactly as follows: XXXXXX

As always, thank you for trying new features from Google. We’re looking forward to letting you know about the next evolution of advertising in the Local Business Center, as it becomes available. In the meantime, keep your eye out for new features by subscribing to the Google Local Business Center newsletter.

The Google Local Business Team

Coupon Terms and Conditions

Advertisers will be charged for advertising that exceeds the promotional credit. Advertisers must pause or suspend their ads if they do not wish to receive additional charges beyond the free credit amount. Subject to ad approval, valid registration and acceptance of the Google AdWords Program standard terms and conditions. The promotional credit is non-transferable and may not be sold or bartered. Offer may be revoked at any time for any reason by Google Inc. One promotional credit per customer. Expires April 1, 2010.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Ending Local Listing Ad Test in San Francisco and San Diego by

19 thoughts on “Google Ending Local Listing Ad Test in San Francisco and San Diego”

  1. Ummm….

    Mike, do you think it will be back…? What are your thoughts on this? How did you find working for your clients, what were the click thrus, did your clients see a increase in traffic, was there noticeable results over being in the 7-pack. Did you have a double listing – 1 in the 7-pack and one in the Local Listing Ad…?

    Nice that they waived the fees and gave a credit.

  2. Hi Mathew

    I did not have a direct client placing these ads so my access to the information is very limited. My understanding was that click thrus were on the low side but that might have been due to inaccurate categorization of the ads.

    I do think that easy, local ads will come back in some form. It is too large of a pot of money to leave on the table.

  3. Matt,

    My clients (attorneys) in the SF area report that the local AD did indeed work well – the phone rang regularly (both opted to use the Google phone notification).

    But with this test, their Ad was showing up for practice areas that were not related to their business. So a majority of the calls they did receive were not valid. Not unexpected given a new product.

    My opinion….I’m with Mike – this Ad product will be back in some form or another.

  4. Gosh, I was chomping at the bit to give them a try! I, too, think that it was a great idea and that Google may just need to refine it more to their liking before we see it again.
    Perhaps the 7 pack morphing into a 5 pack will be part of the Local Listing Ads relaunch?

  5. I used the local ads for a San Diego client, and they got quite a bit of traffic from it. I was looking forward to using it for other clients as well. As Mike said, I think they’ll be back in some form.

  6. I believe that the LLA’s will return and most likely will be rolled out on some sort of larger test scale if not country-wide. I did notice that some of the listings didn’t have a website added to their local profile. How much of an impact would you guess not having a website listed on your LLA’s would have?


    This is rather off-topic but what positive/negative impact do you think that micro-formatting has on local SEO? Does Google actually weight the organic results heavier if they have been properly micro-formatted?

  7. That explains it. I just went to create a new ad for one of my clients in San Diego and it was no longer available. However, there was no message explaining it was no longer available. It just did not have the link to sign up anymore.

    Looking forward to a full roll out. I agree that some form of the LLA program will roll out nationally because the simplicity is required for the SMB. And the revenue opportunity is obviously enormous. I am hoping to finish my blog post tomorrow that outlines the pricing they had for LLAs across different categories and compares them to adwords. I’ve come across a few interesting things.

  8. Mike,

    I used it for a client in SF and had modest results in terms of raw volume, but the cost per click was about on par with Adwords for us.

    I am inclined to believe that not all of the impact of the ads are being captured in the direct responses (clicks, phone calls, info). For my client, we had placement above the fold in PPC, LLA, Local, and Organic. We seemed to get a modest lift in Local and Organic response. My hypothesis is that the multiple placements built an accumulating trust and awareness, with the clicks ultimately resulting further down the page.

  9. Google HAS to introduce this type of advertising.

    The vast majority of mom and pop local businesses will never become proficient with the regular AdWords system. The rest are afraid of it, and they won’t pay $250/mo. spend + $250/mo. (mininium) for some agency to manage that spend.

  10. Interesting that SF was cheaper. But I think they base the algo/price, on whatever the practice areas are. Since “attorney” more generic than “personal injury attorney”, as an example, I can see that “attorney”, as a general term would yield a higher dollar value. I cannot see why San Diego would be pricier, as it is smaller population density, and much, much less commerce and other business activity for attorneys in SD. (SD is a college town and hard to get work there)

    But it appears it is unlike adwords in that it is not a bid for a slot, or keywords. It seems like you pay the fee, and if you have your off site factors and domain/onsite right, and LBC set up and optimized right, you would stay high in the paid, as well as 7, 3, or 1 packs. No?

  11. With every bit of good news comes some bad, and with ever bit of bad news comes some good.

    By the time I tried to get LLA for San Diego locksmiths, all the spots had been snagged. The algo change that Google did to clean up the map spam had wiped out most of the locksmith map spam for my area (San Diego) so I was not surprised to see the same map spam people with the LLA listings.

    So good news is map spam on Google is staying mostly good going on 3 weeks now. Bad news is; if there are limited spots for LLA, it will be crucial to get one of the spots, or they may be taken over by the same map spam folks.

  12. @Mike

    when you’re right you’re right! Since yesterday the ads are not exist anymore. Maybe it was a mistake posting that I still have them alive in your blog as it’s Google favorite. Like the Wikipedia issue, this one got treated really fast.. 🙂

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