Google has launched a stripped down form of Google AdWords which will target small business owners who don’t have the skills to create and manage a regular AdWords campaign. Google Local Listing Ads allow small businesses to feature their business in sponsored results without designing Ads, selecting keywords or budgets.
Google explains how the program is different from Google AdWords:
Unlike Google AdWords, Local Listing Ads require no management of ad creative, keywords, bidding or budget management. After you select a standard category that best describes your business, Google determines the cost that ensures the ad is seen by the highest number of people looking for businesses like yours in your location.
Local listing ads can be shown as a sponsored listing across Google.com and Google maps for a flat monthly fee based on your location and business category:
Other details of the program include:
- Free call-tracking, announcing each forwarded customer call (‘This caller brought to you by Google’)
- Full report on the number of calls, clicks to your ad, requests for driving directions, and clicks to your info window on Google Maps
- The option to cancel your ad at any time
While the program seems quite simple to setup and run, the lack of control could be an issue for some advertisers. You’ll have to trust Google with keyword selection, ad creative and click pricing and it doesn’t look like there is any way to modify these once your campaign is live.
The program is currently in beta with businesses from San Francisco and San Diego only. If the test goes well with these markets I’m sure Google will expand, but there’s no word on date’s just yet.