Don’t Call A Plumber – Call (or Text) Google Concierge

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 5.29.01 AMGoogle seems to be experimenting with a new enhancement of their Home Service Ads product which allows consumers to just call Google directly when searching for a plumber rather than searching for one and completing the transaction via the Home Services interface.

Joe Goldstein spotted this Google ad on a search for “Plumber Los Gatos” which encourages a user searching for plumbers to contact Google directly.

google-concierge

When you click through the link provided in the ad you are taken to this page and encouraged to call or text Google directly and discuss your project with “with a home services expert from Google”.  They will have appropriate plumbers call you to quote and book an appointment.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 5.24.02 AM

The product does not yet appear to include a specific name but exists at the URL: https://adwords.google.com/homeservices/concierge and thus I am calling it Google Concierge.

The service appears to simply emulate the process followed in their Home Services ads introduced last July but reduces the consumer steps to simply calling and having Google complete the process rather than clicking on the few options to complete the process via Google themselves.

We do the research, you choose the right plumber
All the plumbers we work with are thoroughly pre-screened and insured. You get a full quote from each plumber before work begins, and you decide who to work with.

Interestingly the ad replaced any local pack results, any local Adword ads and even replaced the Google Home Services Ad that would normally appeared for that query.

Clearly Google is looking to enter the Home Services procurement space even if it means engaging a human to complete the query as opposed to a search result. It also implies that the current Home Services ad implementation that has been limited to California has not been that successful. Or that refinements are needed before rolling it to the rest of the country.

Even if only an experiment it shows how far and wide Google is searching to make these sorts of efforts a success. That’s quite a change for Google that has always relied on programmatic rather than human solutions.

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20 thoughts on “Don’t Call A Plumber – Call (or Text) Google Concierge”

  1. This is just insane Google. Cutting out ppc and being a per lead provider is what it looks like to me. Why let the audience (ppc bidders) dictate the price when Google can fix it and raise it themselves.
    I hope Bing doesn’t go that way…

  2. I think they want into Lead gen as a logical last step for certain transaction types but to large extent have failed… in insurance, cars and others.

    The slow speed of this roll out implies that they are either 1)also failing or 2)going really slow to get it right.

  3. SCARY.

    By the way. I’m working on an issue right now wherein an smb, due to some complications, has had a Permanently Closed Sign for 7 of the last 11 days. (Its off right now). Needless to say its killed calls and visits and business. They are getting calls that ask if they are open. For every call of that type…how many see the permanently closed sign and never try it or visit it..or write it off completely.

    Google, of course, as per the norm, takes no responsibility and is largely non accountable, and extremely slow to correct.

    so if you access a plumber via google….and lets say google is getting paid on this…..will google be accountable?????

    To date that has never been the case.

  4. Looking to take a pound of flesh from HomeAdvisor, ServiceMaster, Angie’s List, Yelp, and Thumbtack. Any local service not paying a cut to one or all of these intermediaries is going to find it near impossible to rank.

    And with the elimination of side ads — resulting increased PPC competitiveness — the best local advertising venue may be Facebook, local print, and direct mail.

  5. @Dennis Cline: Google has an investment in Thumbtack.

    I’m guessing the Concierge just goes to Thumbtack.com and pulls providers from there…

    1. Certainly the whole idea of Google picking up the phone is odd to start with. But they did build out a page to support it. So while the ad seems like possibly a one off they certainly seem to be thinking about it.

  6. It’s what newspapers should do on a local basis before Google does it. Own the local transactional marketplace. Told them that 10 years ago but they wouldn’t listen. Now they are closing down.

    Always said to newspapers, “think what Google’s going to do” and now they are doing it.

    PPC/PPL/Pay-Per-Call. Google wants it all.

  7. Wow Google has an investment in Thumbtack? Interesting. Thumbtack had really bad reviews but they did have an extensive database of service providers. It’s a neat approach for Google to increase income for shareholders for sure. Thanks for a great article.

  8. No surprise the strategic model used is give it to em’ for FREE and when they’re hooked then jack up prices. Google is part of the online jungle playin’ by their own rules. How many big brand names have you seen rollout using exact same model, while riding on the back of donkeys, hard at work creating truck loads of free content, in turn boosting these brands authority status and trust with massive traffic to scale they can say it’s our content now!

  9. As a plumber I actually like the idea of Google screening the businesses it promotes. Google promotes businesses whether they pay for adwords or not with its map listings. Best they promote legit, professional companies than scammy, shady products.

  10. LOL! As a plumber I find this totally ridiculous! I like it when I get the direct call. Gives me an opportunity to form a relationship with my customers!

    Thanks for the heads up. Seems like big brother is always trying to find another way to job us little guys..

  11. Google is the beast to tame… and then they change the playing field….
    I am in the Lead Gen game and Google Rules… pay my bills.

    They are treading a tight rope for sure. If they get too deep into lead gen themselves they are gonna start loosing their paying customers.
    I think they are too smart for that. They will go elsewhere.. like UBER.

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