Google Makes Big Changes to Help Local Businesses


Google Makes Big Changes to Help Local Businesses

As the coronavirus pandemic has local businesses shutting their doors and customers being forced to move online, many brick-and-mortars are learning quickly how to get their company online. Although some sectors see increased demand during COVID19, others aren’t, and many more businesses do not have the resources to boost their marketing during this crisis — even if they urgently need new clients.

Google seems to have noticed this issue and revealed plans recently to help retailers find more customers online. They are doing so with two free features: Google Shopping and Promoted Pins lists. Let’s take a look at each.

Free Google Shopping listings

Because customers are increasingly turning to eCommerce to meet their needs, it is more important than ever that online businesses and interested shoppers find each other easily. 

Hundreds of millions of people visit Google every day for their shopping needs, making the Google Shopping tab an ideal place for businesses to list their items.

By letting any business owner who sells goods online list their inventory, Google is making a significant change to its Google Shopping platform. Businesses usually have to pay for putting advertisements on Google Shopping, but now they can list the business of anyone who runs a website or operates a shop. Google still plans to charge companies for the best placements on its shopping platform.

Google has long been planning this move, but it accelerated the plans because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The new free option for Google Shopping came into the US’s practice from April 27, and Google says it will roll out to Google Shopping globally in the coming months.

Although this does not replace Shopping ads, free listings in the Google Shopping tab allow local businesses to compete in a popular online shopping destination when they may not have the resources to run and efficiently scale their own Google Ads campaigns. It also offers businesses who already use Shopping ads a way of adding free listings to their paid advertising.

This is not the first time Google has offered such product listings for free. In 2012, Google first started offering retailers shopping listings for free, before turning those listings into a paid ad space for shopping ads.

Free Promoted Pins on Google Maps

According to Google’s most recent numbers, around one billion people worldwide have downloaded Google Maps and use it every year to access 1.5 billion destinations. A newer update to Google Maps, called Promoted Pins, is a new feature that helps local businesses stand out. 

This feature hopes to bridge the sales gap between online and foot traffic by offering local businesses exclusive listing options. Promoted Pins are branded pins in Google Maps that will highlight local businesses along a user’s path.

On the mobile and desktop versions of Google Maps, the Promoted Pin by an advertiser appears as a purple pin dropped at the specified location. Google Maps will display the businesses’ logo below the button. When they are in your local area, both pin and logo will appear along the users’ routes.

When a user clicks the pin, it opens an ad with more information about the business. Advertisers will be able to push deals to potential customers who are nearby using their advertised pins. It will also provide details as to whether curbside pickup or delivery is available. For healthcare practices that are opening, this is a great place to advertise reopening deals. 

Recently, Google announced that advertisers using Google My Company would not have to pay for promoted pins, calls, clicks, or give up portions of any sales resulting from the ads from now until the end of September. The Promoted Pins feature is currently offered free of charge to help small businesses reopening after months of pandemic lockdown.

The freebie Google now gives applies only to individuals who are already running smart campaigns. To qualify, ensure your marketing strategy includes a Google Ads smart campaign.

If you would like to take advantage of these free features, we can help you set up a campaign. Contact us today!