local businesses

Is a Groupon acquisition the next phase in Google’s local push?

Google wants to do business with local businesses. And for good reason: there are a lot of them out there for, and they present a largely untapped opportunity for the search giant.

Rumors are swirling that Google’s push to win over local businesses will involve a multi-billion dollar acquisition of group buying leader Groupon. According to one report, Google has put a whopping $5.3bn on the table for Groupon to mull over. If such reports are accurate, it’s hard to imagine that we won’t soon
be hearing an official acquisition announcement in the very near future.

Google targets small, local businesses with Boost

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.

The dark side of Groupon emerges

When discussing Groupon, it’s quite clear: the group buying business
model is financially viable. For Groupon. What’s less clear: whether
Groupon’s business model is financially viable for businesses.

One of the reasons it’s not clear is that many — if not most — of the
local business owners who have tried Groupon don’t publicly reveal
detailed results of their Groupon campaigns.

Will enhanced listings bring Google a flood of local advertisers?

Earlier this month, Google launched a test of a new advertising program called ‘enhanced listings’ in two U.S. cities. This past weekend, the New York Times wrote about it and profiled a local business owner who has purchased an enhanced listing.

Jason Cowie owns a store in Houston, Texas that sells skateboards and snowboards. According to the NYT, Cowie was previously spending upwards of $1,500 each month on AdWords in an effort to compete with “deep-pocketed national chains“.

Google empowers local businesses

The internet can be a powerful tool for local businesses but in many cases, it’s the mom-and-pop shop down the street that doesn’t have the resources or tech savvy to make the most of the web.

Google is trying to change that and yesterday announced the launch of a Local Business Center dashboard that gives local businesses a set of free tools to monitor and analyze their business listings on Google.