Category Archives: Google Adwords Express (Tags, Boost)

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:

Why Groupon Makes Sense (to Google)

David Mihm has an excellent piece (that I happen to agree with) on why Groupon in a broad sense is synergistic for Google. I think coupons and the new twist that Groupon brings to them will be a successful  and profitable advertising medium. John Battelle thinks it worth significantly more than $2.5 billion. Greg Sterling though argues that it isn’t worth $5 billion and that very well could be true. But Google may be the only company for which the purchase makes sense at these levels.

I would like to add the following thoughts to the discussion. Greg has estimated  to me that only 25% of all SMBs will ever be willing to participate in self serve internet advertising. The leaves the vast majority of local businesses not participating in and unaffected by most of what Google offers (Tags, Boost, Adwords) today.

I have estimated that Boost with a 10% adoption rate and an average $100/mo spend would generate $500 million a year in income. If it approached the 25% cap it would reach $1.2 billion with current adoption levels of 2 million claimed businesses. I have estimated that Tags, at a fixed spend of $25/mo and the same 10% has a much more limited short term potential of  $60 million. Even as claimed listings grow, there is a very real top side expectation for both products in a self serve world.

Enter Groupon. It is a product that is already generating $500,000,000 in annual income. If Google did nothing else but add the revenue stream to Tags and Boost when it rolls out nationally, they would be at a $1 billion dollar in local ad revenue.

But Groupon also has staff on the ground trained in selling new media. The portfolio for these sales people would immediately increase with a buyout. And an impressive portfolio it would be. These folks could lead with a Groupon deal and then lock in a monthly recurring revenue source with Boost or Adwords. If their selling efforts for Groupon were a bust initially, they could still start folks with Tags and demonstrate the significant benefits of local internet advertising and of claiming their listing in Places and move on to Boost and Groupon down the road.

This purchase would not just give Google a successful, easy to explain coupon product for SMBs (and national players to add to the Adwords revenue stream) but it would give them an on the ground sales force with an actual foot in the door of the other 75% of businesses that would never self serve. It is conceivable to me that just by adding these products to the portfolio and pitching them in person Tags and Boost sales would skyrocket immediately.

Google would have in place Free (Places, Offers), Good (Tags, Tagged Offers), Better (Boost, *?) and Best (Adwords, Groupon) product offerings in both a self serve and full service model that could scale from the single shop to the national retail chain, nationally and internationally. It would cover 100% of the opportunity, have huge upside potential and start out of the gate with a roughly $1 billion highly profitable, income stream and a defensible position …

Investors may not like the economics and analyzed singly Groupon might not in fact make sense. But if Google could use the purchase to jumpstart and grow Boost, Tags and Adwords for local in the rest of the world, the potential of Groupon to them at least, is big.

Here is a chart of Google’s free and paid products for Local that shows how Groupon would fit in the mix…
Continue reading Why Groupon Makes Sense (to Google)

Google Rolls Boost Out to 11 Additional Cities & Illinois

Google just announced that Boost, their new simplified Local Adword Product, is now available in the following cities:

* San Jose
* Seattle
* Wichita
* Charlottesville (VA)
* Atlanta
* Chapel Hill
* Orlando
* Washington D.C.
* Boston
* Cross Plains (TX)
* Portland (ME)
* All local businesses in Illinois.

The announcement indicates that Boost as configured is working well. The borad and rapid roll out indicates that Google is ramping quickly and we should see Boost available nationally and probably internationally in the not too distant future.

I am curious from those of you that have tried it, your impressions.

Google Tags Update: Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away

This screen shot just came across my desk of a new change to Tags where by the website option (the most effective from my perspective) is being phased out as a Tags destination. You may continue to use it but if you change to another Tag type you will be unable to use the website Tag type again. Newly created Tags will not be offered the option of linking to the website.

There are new choices for specific links to menus and reservations:

Google Boost – Interview with Chikai Ohazama, Director of Product Management for Maps

Google rolled out their new local ad product, Boost, this morning. I just got off of the phone with Chikai Ohazama, Director of Product Management for Maps and Deanna Yick, Global Communications Google who answered a number of questions for me.

Chikai Ohazama is currently focused on local and geo local focused on monetization opportunities. He has been with Google for came over to them with Keyhole acquisition and was its co-founder.

Chikai Ohazama:
Boost was released with some hiccups in the rollout this morning so it was available nationwide. If folks signed up, they will be allowed to keep it. However, we have rolled it back to just San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.

Deanna Yick:
It is the same strategy as with Places Tags, rolling out to a few cities and then more widely.

Mike: While you call it a Beta, it is essentially the final form?

C: It depends on performance. We are experimenting with Boost and will assess it based on business (and user) feedback that sign up for it.

The product is meant for the small local business to make their online buying experience simpler.

The core idea is a simple on line ad for small business so that they can leverage the tool and value.

M: Title of the ad is just the Business Name which seems to be a critical limitation when competing with other AdWord ads:

C: The core idea is simplicity. Set and forget. Doing a lot of testing to make sure that it does well to meet the need of that group.

Our goal is to balance the user needs and performance and we are attempting to make it work well.

Google is trying to optimize the campaign and keywords. We are playing that role for them. One of those judgments is to figure out what the right thing to put on the title line.

M: Will it put the ad at a competitve disadvanatge?

C: Google is testing to see what works,

The key point is giving small businesses better tools to help their business. First with Tags, now with Boost. Our goal is to make it a great experience.

M:Talking about a great experience, there is currently a lot of disatisfaction about the basics of the listing process being expressed in the forums and at my blog.

C: We are working on improving it all the time.

M: It seems worse now than 6 months ago with the lost reviews, the duplicate removal issues etc.

C: We are looking for feedback all the time. We will take that and look into more thouroughly.

M: Can you share any uptake numbers on Tags?

C: in the thousands

M: That is a big range from 999 to 999,9999. Can you help narrow that down somehwat?

C: in the thousands

M: Are you still testing Tags?

C: Tags has rolled out nationally but we are looking at improving all the time.

M: Do you think that Boost will surpass Tags in adoption?

C: It will be key part of the full story. They (Places, Tags & Boost) all work together. It fills organic needs with Places, highlights with Tags and increased visiblity with Boost.

It should be viewed as part of the whole

M: Does this represent the full monetization effort for Maps?

C: It depends on the success of these. We will continue to add more depending on how these do. But they are and will be designed to fit and compliment each other.

M: re: Geotargeting; Assuming an ad is placed in San Francisco how far afield will it show?

C:We will target it by keywords plus some range around. It is 15 mile area targeted around the city limits currently. It is something that we are experimenting with and think it will be different in different cities.

M: Will Boost ads show on content network?

C: Just on Google and Gmaps

M: How well will the product be integrated into Analytics? Does it creates own campaign? How much stats do you get and how do you pull it out?

Its primary analytics interface is meant to be via the Places Dashbaord

If you are sohphisticated these will show up in Analytics but that is not the intention of the product. It is designed for simplicity for the SMB.

D: You are signing up for Boost thru Places. It will show up in Adwords… you can see the more detailed metrics in the Adwords account as Google is creating the account for you.

M: Can you tweak the ad from the Adwords account?

C: No it is an non-editable view in Adwords.

M: Why did you pick the $50 minimum.

C: To make sure that we have enough profit to bring value to the advertiser. It will be adjusted over time.

We will evaluate and make recomendations to the business to improve.

Google Boost – More Details

Update: Apparently the nationwide rollout of Boost was an early morning quirk that has been corrected. Boost now only showing in San Francisco, Houston & Chicago according to Chikai Ohazama, Google Maps Product Manager.

Apparently Google Boost is appearing across the whole of the US and it is not limited to any specific markets. It is visible in Olean, NY, VA. as well as the whole of California.

Ad Creation:
Here is the set up screen with some arrows pointing to items of interest in the setup and subsequent processes:

Ad Creation:

Left Arrow 1: The verbiage for the Ad is automatically extracted from the 200 character description but the business is allowed to change it.

L. Arrow 2: The ad only shows for categories that are in Google’s category list. Custom categories will not show the ad.

L. Arrow 3: The estimated clicks per month do vary depending on market and categories selected.

L. Arrow 4: There is a minimum of $50/mo to start the program.

Right Arrow 1: The ONLY ad title allowed is the business name as defined in Places.

Right Arrow 2: If stars are available from reviews they will show in the ad.

R. Arrow 3: Apparently there are other formats that will be made available but the link is not yet working.

Payment: Continue reading Google Boost – More Details

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.

Poll: What Do You Think of This Tag?

What do you think of the Tag below?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Here is a Tag that I saw on the search for Wrongful Death Attorney San Francisco:


When you click through the Tag this is what you see:
Continue reading Poll: What Do You Think of This Tag?

Google Places Forum Adds Tags Discussion Area

Late yesterday Google added a new discussion category, Discuss Google Tags with other users, in the Google Places Help Forums. It is billed as a place to “learn more about Google Tags and discuss the same with other users”.

Having followed the forums regularly Tags discussions have occurred only sporadically. In the last Places Newsletter Google did offer up an actual number although it is not clear that you can get technical assistance at the number. Regardless, a forum makes sense from Google’s point as every call that is shunted to the forums saves them costs.

Google Tags Make your listing stand out with Google Tags >>
If you would like to speak with a sales representative, please call (800) 290-6134

Since Tags is a paid product, it is unclear whether Google will staff the new forum with any higher level of personnel than has been the case in the other Places forum. One would hope so but as they say: “Don’t hold your breath”.

Google Tags – Do They Help? An Anectdotal Review

Google Tags rolled out nationally at the end of June. Several questions that have been often asked about Tags are: How well do they perform? & How do searchers respond to them? Do they attract additional business?

I have one client, Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law in Orlando, that added the tags immediately after their national rollout on June 28th. We now have 4 weeks of before and after data so as to be able to compare results. While it is only a sample of one and should not be construed as representing a general truth, the results seem promising.

We chose the “coupon” Tag not so much for the coupon value but so as to be able to add content to the listing. While the coupon itself didn’t generate very much direct activity,   the overall “actions” were significantly higher on fewer “impressions” . The listing received more than a 100% increase in the number of actions while the listing received ~20 % fewer impressions.

Time Frame 5/31-6/28 6/28-7/26
Impressions 2586 2001
How many times users showed interest in your business listing 35 76
Clicks for more info on Maps 3 12
Clicks for driving directions 0 12
Clicks to your website 32 52

(click to view larger)

I would caution that this result can not be taken as a general guideline for success. It is a single month’s comparison for only one listing and the reliability of the statistics in Places are erratic at best.

The results are likely to be different in different industries. It is also very early in the life of Tags so very few other lawyers in market had yet taken advantage of them (only one other showed in the search results). That all being said, it does appear to have had a positive influence on end user actions.

What have been your experiences with Tags?