I was able to capture several variations of Local Listing Ad displays and captured them on a 1280 X 960 screen to get a sense of how many organic listings might show. I chose 1280px screen resolution as it is the display type of roughly 50% of current users. I removed tabs from my browser assuming that many users do not use them and ran the browser screen to full size.
Note that on some ad presentations there are very few organic listings visible above the fold and even with no Adwords at the top only two organic listings are shown.
A number of folks have pointed out, and rightfully so, that for this program to be really successful Google would need to actively “sell” the ads to SMBs. In a sense I believe that this is absolutely true. However, my back of paper estimates are that roughly 10% of US businesses have claimed their LBC record with NO significant marketing on Google’s part. Let’s assume that with no marketing of the product, 10% of those choose to use the Local Listing Ad. Lets also assume that the average monthly spend is a modest $50.
In the US you are looking at roughly 15 million businesses x 10% LBC take up x 10% Local Listing Ad adoption x $50/mo. = 150,000 SMBs x $50/mo. That would equal $7.5 million per month or $90 million per year. As Everett Dirkson once said, a million here, a million there and it soon adds up to some real money. With Google’s scale a low adoption rate still leads to significant profits. There would be additional world adoption and other benefits and spill over to Google’s Adwords product as well.
As far as I know, while we have seen ad examples, no one has yet seen the LBC tab out in the wild. Either the test group is very limited or Google has placed the ads to test layouts and response prior to releasing the interface widely.