Google Rolls Out Boost Nationwide

Google Boost is now available nationwide and the ads will be visible in the mobile environment. Apparently though it may not be available for all businesses based on the categories of the business. In other words if you are a locksmith, you might not see the option.

Boost is Google’s simplified Adwords tool for Local that can be initiated starting at $50/mo. The product rolled out to 3 cities in late October and 11 additional cities were added in mid November. The product was first seen in testing in October of 2009 and was known at the time as Local Listing Ads. Thus, from initial test to full rollout it has been 16 months.

This interview with Chikai Ohazama, the Director of Product Management for Maps, provides some insight into Google’s thinking on the product.

I am curious of those in markets that have previously had access to Boost, what your experience has been? Have the returns been as good as Adwords? Has the product opened up additional opportunities for you? I am also curious what industries are not being given the option to purchase a Boost ad in their Places Dashboard.

Reader Dan Freeburg sent this screen shot from a smaller market:

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Rolls Out Boost Nationwide by

24 thoughts on “Google Rolls Out Boost Nationwide”

  1. Boost is great!!

    Tip: As your monthly budget goes higher, the more key words (& related key words to the main ones) you’ll appear under in a certain search.

    Cons: You can’t track this campaign separately so you can’t really know how many calls it’s generating (as the same phone # appears in Boost, Places listing & your website).

    Pros: Boost monthly budget = 10% of my Adwords one & i get them placement & a cool blue pinpoint. Probably it’ll get more & more expensive to go Boost.

  2. I’ve seen exactly the opposite. Horrible impression shares, even worse CTRs, and nothing gained from it. Perhaps if you are in an extremely niche market with practically no competition, it might be viable, but for the other 99%, it’s hardly a replacement to a well-run AdWords campaign.

  3. My guys are doing:
    – Water & Fire Damage Restoration
    – Air Duct Cleaning
    – Mold Removal
    Throughout the San Francisco Bay Area (SF, SJ & Oakland metro areas).

    i think that the main deference between my guys & Chris is that the customers of my guys are looking locally based vendors whilst in Chris’s case, you don’t need to be so hyper-local for your customers.

    What do you think?

  4. Mike:

    Thanks for the news update. As an operator of various businesses, who spends a lot of time analyzing what works or doesn’t, I spend ZERO time scrutinizing the Places Page. Places Analytics seem more worthless as time goes on.

    With that, I wasn’t aware Boost went national. So thanks for the update. Maybe smb operators are checking their places records. If they want insights from what is avaialable in the dashboard, I suspect after a while they’ll stop going there. Not exactly the best place to get a message about Boost going National. Didn’t get a message in the email accts.

    I’d suggest google send messages to the email accts if they want more response.

    As to the reactions from Chris and Puresheer: Thanks guys its always nice to get actual feedback. Not that I have any insights into one or the other or why Puresheer’s experience is positive and Chris’s is negative. But insights are great!! 😉

  5. I work for an independent auto repair shop with two locations in southeast Virginia. I turned boost on when it first became available just before Christmas and paused my regular adwords campaigns a week or two later because boost was doing much better!

    The CTR is 2.3% vs. .5% for adwords, and much cheaper. That said, I see two problems with it. 1) We pay for clicks we’d get no matter what, when someone searches by business name boost pops up, even though we own page 1. There’s no way to turn that off. 2) The boost ads are supposed to show w/in 25 km, but the only town name as a keyword is the town that reflects our zipcode (even though we can actually spit into the next municipality). Again, no way to change this.

  6. @Puresheer,

    You’re pretty much correct. It is dropping some localized terms in, but those are not performing too well either.

    I think the situation you’re using it in is probably what they have in mind for it. Local businesses with limited time/knowledge to run a national AdWords campaign.

  7. We started using Boost yesterday and I was utterly surprised and disappointed to see our flower shop ad appear at the top of the page when I did a search for ‘florist Cedar Falls IA” while trying to assist a customer with a unique funeral order request this morning.

    I *assumed* the target KWs would include our city – and perhaps other cities nearby. Appearing in a search for a florist in a town several thousand miles away is a waste of our ad dollars – and the surfer’s time, too.

    Of course, we could wire an order to a local florist in Cedar Falls, but my goal with Boost was to connect with shoppers who need our local services, not to jump in as a middle man.

    Per the Boost report this morning in the Places dashboard, our cost per click from yesterday was about $4.10 – far more than we pay for our AdWords campaigns.

    Boost needs to suppress ads when out-of-area geo-modifiers are used – or they’ll have some very unhappy participants in our indust

    See my screen shot.

  8. @Cathy: Well….the ad is incredibly visible…if placed in a location that is off by 1,000 miles. geez.

    BTW everyone: Where are clicks/ ctr, all data reported? Adwords or in the Places Dashboard.

  9. I’ve been running Boost ads for some Chicago law firm clients since October. I agree that there should be better tracking. I’ve seen CPC rise from an average $10-$20 since then. So far the campaigns have been worthwhile and I’m recommending Boost to other clients who are interested in paid advertisments.

    Since Boost has rolled out nationally I’ve been on the phone with a few Google Boost reps as I start campaigns for other clients. They have been helpful answering questions about why certain locations may be flagged. For example, changing a category instantly changed the status of a listing from under review to regular status. Also with Boost – Quality Score or ad visibility is related to how high you set your monthly budget. If users click on a tag or the map associated with the ad, there is no charge for clickthrough.

    @earlpearl all the data (not much data) is collected in Google Places (the local business center) At first the keywords I saw in the LBC seemed mobile search oriented but that has changed.

  10. Also – don’t forget to ask for $100 credit for starting a Boost campaign. There is one available per login to Places.

  11. Grrr…… analytics shows Boost displayed our listing for ‘wholesale wedding flowers’ today and dinged us for a click. This is worse than broad match in AdWords. Nothing about the content of our site or Place Page says ‘wholesale’.

    Gonna to give it a couple more days, but so far the traffic is not a very good fit.

  12. To get the Google Boost credit, you”ll need to work with a Google rep to start a new account. I couldn’t get credit for my clients with existing accounts. Here’s a phone number you could try if there is not one listed in your Places account: Call 1-877-613-4505

  13. Mike:

    I’d love to see an update from readers with regard to experiences with Boost. Frankly I have some doubts on the program. Specifically they relate to Local/Places/Maps and its ability to track what is going on.

    Specifically I looked at the dashboard for a series of accounts. Its March 8, 2011. The dashboard hasn’t been updated since 2/21/2011.

    When I try and set a 30 day period as with one of the links and update to 2/28…there is no data. The dashboard statistics are only available through 2/21. When I click on the link for the last 7 days (3/1/11-3/7/11 the dashboard reports—NO DATA.

    Now if Boost is tied to the dashboard…I would have no idea how and where and when Google is spending my money on Boost ads.

    Would they be showing? Don’t know.
    Would they be showing in my area? Dont know.
    What keywords whould they be showing for? Don’t know.

    Google can’t get reporting on the dashboard to be consistent.

    Its not the kind of product that inspires confidence. What do others think?

  14. Thanks, Chris:

    Have not been following inside Google Places. Didn’t know about the bug.

    Still, this begs the question. If the Places Dashboard has oversight on Boost spend and reporting how can I consider it trustworthy as compared to Adwords?

  15. We have been using Google Boost for about a month now and have noticed now change (other than our tracked changes we see for the seasonal work). Before we were highly ranked for several local searches. The difference is now our listing is just highlighted but has the same rank and we have to pay when people click it.

    If we are in the same place and have the same info, the only difference is the color surrounding our info, why should we pay for that?

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