When should advertisers consider pausing Google Local Inventory Ads?

In response to the growing popularity of searches with local intent, Google released Local Inventory Ads (LIA) a few years ago as a variation of Product Listing Ads (PLA) that include information on when a product is available at a nearby store location. Taking into account the local intent of each search query in determining when LIAs should be featured, Google can serve these units in a similar format to traditional PLAs, as well as in other LIA-specific formats, such as beneath a Google Maps display.

These units are steadily becoming an important part of paid search campaigns for brands with brick-and-mortar locations, and LIA traffic increased 60 percent Y/Y in Q3 2016 for the median Merkle retailer. However, there are several situations in which advertisers may want to consider pausing LIAs, though such scenarios are all complicated and do not necessitate that LIAs be paused.
1. When store locations are closed
This might seem like an obvious practice, but

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Mind the store: Using AdWords to drive offline sales

Google has measured over three billion visits to physical stores in the past two years, and you’ll soon be able to track store visits from the Google Display Network. That’s a whole lot of visits, but it’s only scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Location-based searches are on the rise, and while a lot of progress has been made in regard to measuring online-to-offline behavior, it’s still crucial to turn that data into action. In the past, I’ve gone under the hood of how Google measures store visits, and now I want to talk about what you should do with that information.
Whether you qualify for store visits reporting or not, there are some steps you can follow to better reach those omnichannel users (and a quick reminder: “omnichannel users” translates to “pretty much everyone” these days).
1. Understand the differences between online and in-store customers
A nuanced understanding of your customers as they navigate between channels can be the difference

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Moz beefs up Moz Local with new features, distribution and automation

Moz has overhauled and enhanced its Moz Local offering, adding new features and automation the company says were requested by users and the broader local SEO community. The product previously offered listings monitoring and syndication.
Moz says that it had conversations with its numerous customers, agency partners and the broader community before revamping the product. The new features add speed and workflow improvements, according to the company.
These new features include:

Google My Business sync: automatically synchronizes listings with GMB. Users can manage changes and updates directly from the Moz dashboard
Listing alerts: provides an activity feed if listings data are overwritten or in some other way changed vs. the information in the Moz-managed listing
Reputation monitoring/management: new monitoring of Google reviews, which joins comparable functionality for a range of directories, including Foursquare, Yelp, YP and others. New reviews are also available as they’re published, within the Moz dashboard. Users can respond to Google reviews as well.
Expanded distribution: new data providers/partners added

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How to manage local listings for enterprise brands

When it comes to local listings management, there’s a direct correlation between the number of listings you manage and the amount of grumbling, cursing and general hand-wringing you do.
It isn’t easy for enterprise brands to get their location data in order. Juggling the info for hundreds or thousands of locations can quickly become overwhelming. And it’s not uncommon for enterprise brands to feel like they’re playing SEO whack-a-mole, constantly beating down duplicate listings, inaccurate data and any local search changes that inevitably pop up from Google.
Fortunately, there are steps enterprise brands can take to tame their unruly location data and prevent it from getting out of hand in the future.
The unique challenges facing enterprise local listings management
For enterprise brands just starting to get their location data in order, local listings problems can typically be boiled down into two categories:

an overwhelming, baffling, disparate, inaccurate and outright maddening heap of location data; and
human nature’s basic resistance to change.

I’ll address

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Excited about Google’s new map ads? You should be!

As an avid Google Maps user on both a personal and business level, I’ve often wished for a more interactive and all-inclusive experience. For instance, wouldn’t it be great to get suggestions for options like the closest coffee shop or lunch spot while I’m driving from Point A to Point B? Sure, I could pull over, open up Google and search for these things separately, but who wouldn’t welcome a truly responsive and local experience within Google Maps?
If you’re like me, then Google’s recent announcements for local businesses are good reason to celebrate. These revamped Maps ads are primarily focused on helping local businesses drive more traffic to their physical locations. According to Google, its new Maps ads will help businesses increase their visibility at times when consumers are specifically searching for somewhere to shop or eat.
As a consumer, marketing professional or business owner, why should you be excited about these new Google Maps ads? Because they’re valuable

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Google expansion of Local Inventory Ad product search now live in Maps and Knowledge Panels

In May, Google announced it would soon give retailers running Local Inventory Ads, another way for searchers to find out if a product is available in their local store. That functionality is now live, with retailers like Ikea, Macy’s and REI participating.
The new “Search items at this store” feature is available both in the Knowledge Panel and Google Maps results for participating retailers. Here’s what a Macy’s store listing looks like in desktop search:

Nicolai Helling spotted the feature on a search for Ikea Waldorf Germany. Here’s what that store’s listing looks like in Maps on mobile. The link text in Maps on both mobile and desktop is black for some reason, making it less obvious that it’s clickable. (This feature was not showing on mobile search for retailers when I looked.)

Clicking on the link takes users to a Google-powered landing page that features all of the inventory slated as available in the advertiser’s Local Inventory product feed that powers Local Inventory Ad campaigns.

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Google makes 2 ad updates that will affect local search marketers

Google has made changes this week to local search results and Google Maps that will impact retailers and service providers with physical locations.
Ads in Local Finder results
Local SEO specialist Brian Barwig was among those who have noticed the ads appearing in the Local Finder results — reached after clicking “More places” from a local three-pack in the main Google search results.

Its happening!! Ads in the Local Finder. Anyone else seeing this? @JoyanneHawkins @mblumenthal @rustybrick pic.twitter.com/DqFOGvBaEo
— Brian Barwig (@BrianBarwig) April 19, 2016

The addition of the ads (more than one ad can display) in the Local Finder results means retailers and service providers that aren’t featured in the local three-pack have a new way of getting to the top of the results if users click through to see more listings. (It also means another haven for organic listings has been infiltrated with advertising.)
The ads in the Local Finder rely on AdWords location extensions just like Google Maps, which started featuring ads that used location extensions when Google updated

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Google opens home service ads to HVAC services and electricians

Google is building out its home service ad offerings. The ads are now available to electricians and HVAC service providers.
The local home service ad product rolled out to the San Francisco Bay area last July. The ads typically show three providers with ratings, phone number and a call to action to send a request.
Users looking for a plumber, locksmith — and now electrician or HVAC provider — can send a contact request to up to three providers through the Google form.
After going through an application and background check process, providers can set up their ad listings in AdWords Express.
Google also announced home service ads are now available in Sacramento.
The post Google opens home service ads to HVAC services and electricians appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Local marketing: What is the true local web?

If you’re just in Yelp or the Yellow Pages, you’re not truly “local” yet. You’re missing out on audiences native to a particular city.
Yes, you have to be in these big directories. But marketing in the true local web means creating campaigns relevant to audiences where they live.
In this piece, I’ll outline our team’s recent findings on the anatomy of the true local web, with a focus on how “Web National” brands and app developers can organically access local customers in any community.
What is the “true local web?”
The true local web is composed of websites that are published by actual local organizations, as opposed to websites that are created by national publishers that don’t have a real local presence. In other words, these are websites published by entities with actual addresses in the city you’re trying to market to.
The true local web includes not just local retail or service businesses within a given city, but other organizations, as well.

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Why costs for local SEO campaigns vary

A question I’m often asked in the world of marketing is, “Why do local SEO campaigns vary so greatly in cost?”
I see three clear types of local SEO services, and the price tag associated with each of them correlates directly to the long-term value of the service.
Automated local SEO services
The most basic of local SEO services are automated software platforms. The core of these services is centered around management of citations in the local search ecosystem.
For a monthly or yearly fee, the automated system will typically submit your business info to various data providers and business directories and ensure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across the local ecosystem.
These platforms are typically user-friendly and easy to manage but offer little in the way of long-term value. When you stop paying for the service, they stop maintaining your listings.
I also want to point out that these services alone won’t increase your website rankings — however, they remain a critical

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