“Spotting the latest Google experiments” should probably become a timesheet category for digital marketers. Today’s task is checking out what’s been dubbed the “Google Home Services Concierge,” an enhancement to home services ads, a sponsored list of providers of home improvement and repair-related services. Whether this is one more way to take a shot at competing with Angie’s List or another pro-mobile change, or both, it’s yet another potential remix of first-page search results.
Let’s take a quick look at both home service ads and “concierge.” Rolled out last summer and still currently available only in the San Francisco Bay area, the ads are displayed in a box with copy touting “Qualified pros serving (city)” and include one line of information about each service provider. A click takes you to a page that allows the choice of a handful of providers and ways to contact them.
The latest concierge twist — seen by some searchers — displays a call to action at the very top of search results, inviting users to “call Google to find a trusted” service provider. There are no ads for individual businesses — it simply addresses the overall service category, such as plumbing. The associated landing page lets you know that all service providers have been pre-screened and are insured, and has numbers to phone or text a “home services expert” from Google. You’ll be called back by the service providers who will give you an estimate and schedule an appointment.
What’s most notable here is that when it’s displayed, the new, single concierge ad takes the place of AdWords ads as well the home service ads.
Also note that of this writing, a quick check for “HVAC Los Gatos CA” displayed the home services ads rather than the single concierge ad. It would be hard to guess which type of ads would be displayed where at any given point in time since this is still obviously in the testing stages.
Regarding the home services ads, you can’t help but notice this copy point on the page where Google is selling the concept to service providers: “When Amy searches for ‘house cleaner’ on Google, she finds Hero Maids at the top of the search results. (emphasis mine)” If the home services ads or the concierge ad move into a nationwide update, we have a whole new ballgame for our local clients in the business of serving homeowners’ needs. Add that to the recent increase in the number of paid ads displayed above organic results and the demise of ads on the right side of the page, and we see one more bit of confirmation that mobile users’ needs will come first one way or another.
So what’s a digital marketer to do? Nothing just yet, particularly since the home services ads have apparently been in beta for many months. As with many of the tweaks Google makes to search results that appear for a few days and/or in a limited geographic area, there’s no need to rush for the exits away from SEO or PPC. The best advice is, as usual, stay tuned and keep doing what you know works. But … keep an eye on Google as they start manning the phone lines.