Google Testing New HSA Ad Style in San Francisco Area

Joe Goldstein, who describes himself as a full time caffeine junkie. part time SEO specialist & pretty legit, recently shared with me a new Google HSA ad layout that takes up less room and allows more of the participants to be seen.

Like the previous test, it seems to be only presenting in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area as searches as near as Oakland present a traditional 3 pack.

The ad format requests both a specific zip code and a service type before presenting a list of potential businesses to choose from.

Screenshot 2015-12-03 15.09.16

The searcher can then send up to 3 requests via Google to those selected from the list:

Screenshot 2015-12-03 15.09.47 Screenshot 2015-12-03 15.09.28If you select a zip in which no inventory is available you are alerted that the area is not currently served.

Screenshot 2015-12-03 15.00.53

The new format appears to replace the previous HSA ad format introduced in July that showed the 3 highest ranking service providers only and required a click to see more. In September we saw HSA tests showing the ad above a 3 pack.

While it is visible at the top of the page and doesn’t seem to co-occur with the local pack, I really wonder how many users would actually use it the way Google seems to be hoping versus just selecting one of the Yelp listings with stars immediately below? It seems like it would take a huge shift in consumer behavior before it could succeed.

Screenshot 2015-12-03 15.23.53

Your thoughts?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Testing New HSA Ad Style in San Francisco Area by

6 thoughts on “Google Testing New HSA Ad Style in San Francisco Area”

  1. Thanks to Joe and to Mike.

    As to the presentation. Wow. It removes you from the search page and takes you to a list of locksmiths in the program. WOW!!!! Take that route….and its bye bye organics!!!! and also bye bye adwords. That is bye bye if one acts upon it. One could back click and return to the search page.

    BTW: I searched on “locksmiths San Francisco”

    I inputted locksmiths for a suburb, Portola Valley zip 94028 Got a list of TRUSTED locksmiths.

    I tried a search for “locksmiths Portola Valley” Did not get the google HSA type presentation (locksmiths who were paying to get into the google program and willing to give google a fee or cut)

    Then I searched on “locksmiths 94028” I did get the HSA type program.

    As to your question, Mike. Everything from our end is speculation. We won’t know anything. Google will have all that data. How many ask for bids; how many back click to the search page; how many hit on ads or in this case hit the yelp reviews…. or go to locksmith sites. We aren’t going to know.

    On an operator perspective, they will only be able to calculate traffic. If they are in the program, they can count the number of times they get bids and the number of times they win. If they are paying for ads…they might get clicks and they’ll get impressions data and click data…..presumably. Suppose google “fudges” on the impressions data. (just a thought).

    I’m not going to speculate…I don’t know what consumer actions are going to show. I think I am going back to look at nitty gritty adwords data over up to a 10 year period. I’m curious what the ctr’s have been over time. I wish I had taken notes that corresponded with presentation changes google has made over the last data. Most of it corresponds to helping them make more money and reduce any kind of organic/pack type visibility and value.

    One other thought…possibly searches in total could be impacted by consumers using options presented by Amazon or another internet possibility that could pull consumers out of search (FB). Those are possibilities.

    I think its silly to speculate. Google has ALL the information. The businesses and the SEO’s that help businesses have less and less and less.

    Its Google’s world. ( I believe it was David Mihm, who first wrote that). Regardless of whom said it….that is a true statement.

  2. And here I thought leaving snarky comments was the only way to get dofollows from your blog.

    Frankly, I’d be surprised if this ad type survives the year. Between requiring the user to search twice, frequently returning some bogus results or none at all, and generally looking a lot less eye catching than schema stars or a regular HSA, the chances that thing thing will perform well are slim to none. The way Google’s experiments are going, I fully expect a search like “plumbers in Redwood City” to return directions to the nearest toilet, integrated with reviews from ShitAdvisor, by next December.

    P.S. If I didn’t share it before, here’s exactly where the HSAs are showing up (or were in August 28th, in any case):

  3. @Joe
    I provide Do Follows for tips and unlike the do follow comments, they are in the body of the post…. so keep the tips coming. Let me know what URL you actually want me to point to.

  4. @Joe: Good finds deserve good links!!!!!

    How are consumers going to react? That is the test for google. They will have some thresholds for how they evaluate these situations. I’m not going to speculate how consumers react.

    I think in many cases the consumer world just ends up adopting to what they see on google. If anything the question is how many people use an alternative such as Amazon. Will or is google seeing less queries of this type because of competing “non-search” alternatives??? We don’t know. Google knows though.

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