Attract new customers with local ads on the Google Maps app

Over one billion people use Google Maps services every month. On the Google Maps app, these users are often searching for local businesses - from restaurants, to car dealerships, to dentists, and more. Recently, we launched a new version of the Google Maps app for Android, iPhone, and iPad where we introduced several new features. Today we’re introducing an updated ad experience we think is more attractive for users and more effective for advertisers.

Relevant ads on the Google Maps app can now appear at the bottom of the screen after a user performs a search. They include a title, ad text, and a link to get directions. Users can tap or swipe upward to see more information — this is a new click type known as “Get location details” and results in a standard CPC charge.

When users click on an ad to get location details, they’ll see additional information such as the business’s address, phone number, photos, reviews and more. From here, there are a number of paid and free click actions they can take. Free actions include saving business information for later, sharing a business with a friend, or starting navigation. Aggregated reporting for these free clicks is available in your account.

Paid clicks include the initial 'get location details' click, get directions, click-to-call and clicks on the ad headline. AdWords will only charge for up to two paid clicks per ad impression. Reporting for these paid clicks can be found by segmenting reports in your account by ‘click type.’

Getting started with ads on the Google Maps app
To show ads on the Google Maps app, advertisers need to add location extensions to their search campaigns or create an ad with AdWords Express. If your campaign is not showing ads on mobile devices or on Google search partners, you'll also need to change those settings.

You can find more information about ad pricing, free clicks, and ad eligibility in the AdWords Help Center. The new Google Maps app is available free on Google Play and in the  App Store.

Posted by Salahuddin Choudhary, Product Manager, Google Maps

Bidding Best Practices (Part 2): Improving Results with Location Bid Adjustments

Today’s post about improving results with location bid adjustments is the second in a bidding best practices series. The series began with prioritizing and iterating on your bid adjustments.

Your advertising performance almost always varies by location, no matter what kind of business you run. The good news is that if you optimize your bids for different locations, you can increase your sales and ROI.

Optimizing bids for better performance by location
With enhanced campaigns, it’s now much easier to boost bids in locations where your performance is stronger and reduce bids where performance is weaker. Before enhanced campaigns, you’d have to set up and manage an identical campaign for every location where you wanted unique bids. Since this was hard, the most common approach to location optimization has been to cut out underperforming locations using targeting exclusions. But in the long run, this approach can limit your growth and reduce your business competitiveness. So we recommend using bid adjustments rather than location exclusions.

Calculating location bid adjustments
Start by downloading a location performance report. Here’s how, using the AdWords interface:
  1. Set the date range to the past 30 days (longer if your campaign is on the smaller side).
  2. Click on the “Location details” button and select “What triggered your ad.”
  3. Click the View button and select Region.
  4. Click Download.
To maximize orders or leads at a particular CPA or ROI level, a common best practice for setting bid adjustments is to equalize your target metrics across all locations. As a math formula, it looks like this:

Location bid adjustment = 100% * ( ( Campaign goal ÷ Actual performance ) - 1 )

Here’s an example from a campaign with a cost-per-action goal.

Example of calculating your location bid adjustment
LocationConversionsCostCPACPA GoalLocation bid adjustment
Florida100$800$8$10100% * [(10÷8) - 1] = +25%
New York120$1080$9$10100% * [(10÷9) - 1] = +11%
Ohio70$1050$15$10100% * [(10÷15) - 1] = -33%
Pennsylvania85$850$10$10100% * [(10÷10) - 1] = 0%

You can implement your bid adjustments in the AdWords interface (directions) or using the AdWords Editor (directions).

Businesses with local stores or service areas
Closer customers are often more likely to buy from you and less costly to serve. So if your business has local stores or service areas, you should consider optimizing your bids based on customer proximity. For example, you can easily set one location target for customers within 2 miles of your business locations, and a second target for customers within 20 miles of your business locations (directions). Then use the approach described above to calculate your optimum bid adjustment for your two location extension targets.

Tips and reminders
  • Maintain a broad location target to cover your entire potential market. Targeting too narrowly can limit your reach, clicks and conversions.

  • It’s OK to set overlapping location targets with bid adjustments. We’ll only apply the most specific location bid adjustment. For example, say you have a +10% bid adjustment for Canada and a +20% bid adjustment for Montreal. When someone searches in Montreal, your bid will be increased by 20%. And you’ll see distinct performance stats for Montreal and all of Canada except Montreal on the Locations subtab on the campaign Settings main tab.

  • Be careful when you don’t have much data. Otherwise your calculated bid adjustments could end up being too high or too low, and you could end up with worse results instead of better. If you don’t have statistical expertise on hand, we recommend not adjusting bids in locations with fewer than 1000 clicks and 30 conversions, as a general rule of thumb. Lengthening the date range for your reports to the past 90 days or more can help.

  • Periodically check performance and increment your bid adjustments. From time to time, check your performance for each location target on the Locations subtab. Incrementally raise your bid adjustment where your performance is above your goal, and lower your bid adjustment where your performance is below your goal. This will allow you to optimize your bids over time and adjust to changing consumer behavior.
Posted by John Sullivan, Global Search Solutions

Reach local customers searching on Google Maps

Whether they are searching for a rental car near their office or a bakery close to a relative’s house, people expect fast, relevant and useful results from Google Maps. Great local commercial listings have always added useful information to Google Maps and helped businesses connect with consumers.

Ads in the new Google Maps
This past Wednesday at I/O, Google’s annual platform developers event, we provided a glimpse of the future of Google Maps. The new Google Maps instantly draws immersive, uniquely tailored maps for each person that adapt with every click and search to highlight the things that matter most.

We’re testing new ways to show ads in the new Google Maps:
  • Search ads with location extensions can appear directly on the map and just below the search box
  • Search ads without location extensions can appear just below the search box
Ads can appear just below the search box and directly on the map

Just like in the current version of Google Maps, the best way to have your ads seen by potential customers in the new Google Maps is to run search ads with location extensions. You’ll also need ensure you’re including search partners in your campaign network settings to appear on Google Maps.

Zagat: Who’s serving up the best service?

At Zagat we’re obsessed with helping the world find the very best places. We have 33 years of experience working in the field alongside passionate communities of local experts to uncover all the hidden gems in your city. So when you see the maroon Zagat brand—whether it’s in restaurant window or on a Google Search results page—you know you’re in good hands.

Quality of service is a big factor people consider when choosing a place to eat. With that in mind, and with one of the busiest dining nights of the year coming up on Valentine’s Day, we want to help you find the restaurants that get good service right. That’s why today we’re releasing our list of America’s “top service restaurants,” based on ratings from passionate diners like you.

Here’s the full list of top service restaurants in 25 cities throughout the U.S., from the “impeccable hospitality” of the French Room in Dallas, to San Francisco’s Gary Danko where you’ll be treated “like a millionaire”:

We hope this helps you find a restaurant to your liking, and we invite to share your dining experiences—the good, the bad and all that’s in between—by posting a review on Google+. In fact, why don’t you give your favorite restaurant a Valentine’s Day treat and give them props for their great service now? Happy dining.

The results are in—Zagat’s America's Top Restaurants revealed

To help people find the best places to eat in 46 U.S. cities and regions, we’re revealing the results of our 2013 America’s Top Restaurants Survey covering 1,822 of the nation’s top-rated restaurants. From Boston to Portland and Chicago to Miami, the results of this year’s Zagat Survey are based on millions of reviews from everyday diners who shared their experiences through their favorite Google products.

Winners include perennial favorites like the “exceptional” American Gary Danko (San Francisco), Eric Ripert’s French “seafood shrine” Le Bernardin (New York), and the “flawless” New American Bacchanalia (Atlanta), as well as top spots like Alinea (Chicago), Urasawa (Los Angeles) and Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas).

While many of the top restaurants break out the china and crystal, a number of standouts included in the guide are casual gourmet places like pizzerias: Settebello (Vegas and Salt Lake City), Supino Pizzeria (Detroit’s No.1 restaurant), Serious Pie (Seattle) and Dough (San Antonio); sandwich specialists: Bäco Mercat (LA), Cochon Butcher (New Orleans) and Melt Bar & Grilled (Cleveland); burger specialists: B Spot (Cleveland), Flip Burger Boutique (Atlanta) and Sketch (Philadelphia); and BBQs: Union Woodshop, Slows Bar BQ and Zingerman’s Roadhouse (Detroit).

Thanks to those of you who share your restaurant adventures with us, we also have a snapshot of what dining out in America looks like. Based on surveyors in 10 major cities, we have found that the average number of meals cooked at home (7.0 per week) outpaces the average number of meals they eat/take out (6.1)—a trend that has been building since the Great Recession. We also know that diners in Houston eat out the most (4.1 times per week vs. the 3.2 national average), and that at 19.6 percent, the City of Brotherly Love is also the city of most generous tippers.

Zagat ratings and reviews for tens of thousands of restaurants at every price point and cuisine are available via the Google products you use every day, like search, Google+, Maps and mobile.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and bon appétit!