{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Google is a big company, and it earns most of its money with its cash cow, AdWords. But in several key markets, Google hasn't yet fully realized its potential.

One of those: small, local businesses. If there's one thing we've learned from the rise of group buying online, it's that local businesses are eager to acquire new customers, and will go to great lengths in an attempt to do so, sometimes to their own detriment.

While many small, local businesses advertise with AdWords, more don't. There are plenty of reasons for this. One of the big ones: it's somewhat complicated. Google AdWords may not be rocket science, but it isn't as apple pie either. For someone running a small business, setting up, maintaining and profiting from AdWords campaigns can be a tall order.

If Google could somehow make the process even just a little simpler, it could benefit enormously. And that's precisely what it is looking to do with Google Boost, "a new online advertising solution to help local businesses connect with potential customers in their area."

Boost allows business owners who have signed up for Google Places to set up sponsored ad campaigns from within their Places account. And it seeks to eliminate long-term management of those campaigns by automating them. Google product manager Kiley McEvoy explains on the Google Lat Long Blog:

To create your ad, all that is required is a short business description, a web or Place page, your business categories and a monthly budget. From there, our system automatically sets up your ad campaign - figuring out the relevant keywords that will trigger your ad to appear on Google and Google Maps, and how to get the most out of the budget you allotted. You’ll only pay when a potential customer actually clicks on your ad, and you can also view basic ad performance data from your Google Places dashboard.

Boost is currently in beta in select U.S. cities, namely San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.

Will it work? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Making it easier for local business owners to buy search ads is something Google needs to do, but it's not just about making it easy to buy ads. For business owners to keep spending on those ads, they'll have to see results. The challenge, of course, is tying online clicks to offline sales. In many cases, this is relatively easy to do, but business owners don't always know of or use the proper tools.

From this perspective, it seems that Google Boost might be a step in the right direction for Google, but Google will inevitably have to go further if it truly wants to build lifelong customer relationships with local business owners.

Patricio Robles

Published 26 October, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2394 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

Canadian Drugs Online

Google AdWords may not be rocket science, but it isn't as apple pie either. For someone running a small business, setting up, maintaining and profiting from AdWords campaigns can be a tall order.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Vincent Roman

In theory this sounds great, but really? I suppose Google will make a shed load of cash purely by volume, but will it be effective for business owners? Having tried to hunt down a florist today in SF to send a birthday bouquet I am acutely aware of the very real hurdles to actually using the net for finding good sources of references, business, and service based on the groundswell of information. Often there isn't enough, or there is too much, and if you are unlucky you fall prey to a good slice of astro-turfing. I still think there is currency in trying to build a decent site, performing good SEO, using places and other tools, and just focus on quality rather than stretching yourself thin all over the place. Whats more important 10 1 off customers? or one that comes back 100 times?

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Katie at PRG

AdWords is something that takes a lot of time and effort for small businesses. I run all of Pittsburgh Restoration Group's online presence and Google AdWords is still something I struggle with. Unless you have time to properly track and analyze your ad responses (or the money to pay someone else to do it) then it is an uphill battle. I have been vastly more successful using the same exact ads on Facebook then in Adwords. I like the idea that Google is trying to simplify/automate the process but I am suspicious that it will end up being just as complicated. I look forward, however, to giving it a try. Who knows? Maybe Google Boost will make small biz advertising much easier!

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tampa seo

Google is on the leading edge when it comes to the Web Marketing - I am sure everybody will agree with me. The AsWords program is something that helps Google to make around $26B a year and I think has still a few areas for improvement. For instance, the keyword statistics might need to be approved. 

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Cheap SSL

Completely agree. The lack of clarity about how this all works and lack of access to any sort of meaningful help makes this an exercise in complete frustration for legitimate businesses trying to ensure that multiple business locations are accurately listed. If they’re interested in *accurate* listings they really need to sharpen up…

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Robert Dicks

From there, our system automatically sets up your ad campaign - figuring out the relevant keywords that will trigger your ad to appear on Google and Google Maps It will be interesting to see the results of this Beta roll out I hope this is a robust enough system so users are not inundated with large amounts of sponsored links. At least with Ad-Words and the Quality Score system many sponsored listings land on highly relevant pages. Will Boost lead to many local Ads landing on the homepages of local business leaving Google with the cash and many users frustrated?

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Mike Groves

Google have rightly identified that many small businesses simply don't use Adwords, or indeed many other means of online marketing, whether it be search or the opportunities presented by social media. I guess the main stumbling blocks for most business owners are a lack of time and expertise which Google are trying to address with this product. Another issue is usually a low budget which normally prevents the small business using a decent agency to set up and manage campaigns for them. This initiative tries to address all these issues but I would sound a few notes of caution. Small businesses are effectively handing a budget to Google which Google will spend on Google, when possibly a broader approach encompassing SEO, PPC and social media might be a better investment.

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Steve Nolan

I am new to PPC and online marketing. I have worked tireless hours aand hours researching keywords and trying to learn the ends and outs of the Adwords world as well as other forms of online marketing. i go from excited to frustrated sometimes in the span of a single day. I hope as I am sure other small business owners do that someday we will all find something that is a bit easier and less costly as Adwords to grow our companies. That is what we all want. Well, back to more research and experimenting with new things.

AAAAAGGGHHH!

over 5 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.