Google Places Rolls out Simplified AdWord Product “Boost” in Limited Markets

Update 10/27/10 12:00: Here is the Google Lat Long Article on Boost. They note in the article that it is in fact a Beta and only available in SF, Chicago and Houston. Hmm…. seems to be much more visible than that.

For additional information about Boost see Google Boost – More Details and Google Boost – Interview with Chikai Ohazama, Director of Product Management for Maps


Today Google is apparently rolling out a new easy to use Adwords product for Google Places called Boost. The product is visible to businesses in and around the San Francisco market. It is not yet known what other cities the product will be available in. Boost essentially automates and dramatically simplifies AdWords creation for local businesses from within their Places Dashboard.

The product automatically creates an Adwords campaign based on a businesses categories and information in the listing. The business sets the monthly budget and Google determines what search words trigger the ad.

Essentially Boost is an Adwords for the masses. No keyword research, no geo targeting, no content networks to be determined as all of that is done automatically. It effectively allows SMBs that would otherwise feel uncomfortable with the the intricacies of Adwords to easily and quickly get started.

The uptake does not need to be very large worldwide for the product to generate significant revenues for Google. With over 4 million currently claimed listings, an adoption rate of 10% with an average $50/mo spend would generate $240,000,000 annually.

Obviously the more sophisticated of Places users already have locally focused ad campaigns so this product is truly targeted at the self serve segment of the SMB market. Estimates are that 25% of the SMB market is the maximum number that are prepared to engage in self serve. If you apply that % and assume an average spend of only $100/mo Google would generate $1,2 Billion annually in world wide sales for the product. If the ads prove effective and rank well average spends could easily climb making this product likely to generate more revenue than Tags once it is rolled out more broadly.

There are still many questions about Boost. Where is it showing now? When will it roll out to the rest of the US? Will the product provide feedback as to likely exposure at a given monthly ad spend? How well will the product be integrated into Analytics? What exactly is the geographic area that the ads will display in? Will the ads show to the content network or on Google and GMaps only? That being said, it is likely to generate significant revenue for Google Places.

The Help Page for Boost is not yet active but the ability to purchase ads is. This help screen pops up when selected from the Dashboard:

Update 1:16: In the Google Lat Long Blog they note:

As we do with all beta features, we’ll carefully review the data and and effectiveness of this trial and may make changes before making decisions about any future expansion. In the meantime, business owners can sign in or claim their listing in Google Places, and select businesses in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago will see an invitation to try Boost in the account dashboard. Interested businesses outside these areas can sign up to receive notification when Boost comes to their area by filling out this form.

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14 thoughts on “Google Places Rolls out Simplified AdWord Product “Boost” in Limited Markets”

  1. @Mike,

    It appears that Google has taken the concept of Local Listing Ads that they initially rolled out in San Francisco and San Diego and rebranded it with the term “Boost”. I like the way they have 4 budget options, and the ability to choose what “Categories” / “Keywords” to advertise under. This is a great alternative to Google AdWords to advertise in the maps. Do you know if this will remove the regular AdWords advertisements from displaying in the maps?

    For a dentist in Alaxandria, VA the data was as follows:

    Show ads for searches in these categories
    1) Dentist
    2) Cosmetic Dentist
    3) Dental Implants Periodontist

    Google allows you to send the user to your choice of:
    1) Google Places Page
    2) Website

    Monthly Budget
    Based on ad competition for similar busnesses, the following budgets are recommended. You only pay for the clicks you get.
    1) $600, 280-630 clicks estimated per month
    2) $220, 90-200 clicks estimated per month
    3) $100, 50-110 clicks estimated per month
    4) Custom

    I’ll let you know if I find out anything more about these ads.

  2. I have a client who has a business located just outside of Houston and it’s not available. It would seem the whole state is not live yet.

    1. @Drew
      It was rolled out nationwide by mistake and they then rolled it back to just SF, Houston & Chicago. If you are not seeing it now, you won’t be for some time.

  3. In my opinion this is like the fox guarding the hen house.

    Google is a publicly held company that has millions of stockholders to please. They do this my making BILLIONS of dollars in revenue every quarter. While I’m sure Google can find a way to spend your budget every month, the lack of transparency would make me nervous.

  4. We’ve tried the boost option in addition to our normal adwords setup.

    After letting it go for a month, we’ve received a bunch of clicks, at a high cost with no perceivable gain in customers.

    Biggest problem? Not being able to edit the keywords and that is the rub. Google sets the business name as a keyword so when my existing customers type the name of the business into google they see an add pop up with the business name and click on it not aware that it is an ad. This is a really shady way that Google is making money off all the businesses that use boost when the customer should be seeing an organic result for the name search of a company they already know about (free).

    They also have keywords such as ‘commercial appliance repair’ and ‘hot water heater repair’ both of which WE DO NOT DO!! I was wondering why I’ve been getting more calls for stuff like I know, and I’ve been paying for it!! I was charged for 10 clicks for keyword ‘store repair’. That doesn’t even mean *anything*!!!!

    We are NOT happy.

    Needless to say, we are turning boost OFF.

    (boost gets turned on through google places, but you can’t see or monitor your keywords for it there, you need to go into your google adwords account to see what is really going on behind the scenes. Most people don’t know this, and only see the few options given in the Places page. Sneaky, deceptive and wrong on several levels.

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