When looking to promote your business online to local audiences, you’ll commonly come across two options – local service ads and local search ads. While they may sound similar, there are some key differences between these two types of local digital advertising. Understanding the distinction can help you determine which is better suited for your business goals and budget.
In this article, we will explain what local service ads and local search ads are, how they work, and the pros and cons of each approach so you can make an informed decision. We’ve also included a comparison table to summarize the differences.
What are Local Service Ads?
Local service ads are paid ads that allow businesses to target local customers by location. They appear prominently above organic search results on Google when users search for related services near them. For example, a plumber could run a local services ad focused on “plumber in Manchester” that appears when people in Manchester search for that term.
Local service ads are managed through Google Ads, which is only available for the UK and US audience for now. It’s cost effective, you pay only for the leads you receive rather than clicks or impressions. The goal is to connect with high-intent local audiences actively searching for a business like yours and convert them into potential customers.
You can use Google local service ads for cost effective strategy.
What are Local Search Ads?
Local search ads refer to paid text ads that appear alongside the map pack in Google search results. The map pack displays a 3-pack of local business listings based on proximity to the searcher. Local search ads allow advertisers to guarantee their business listing appears prominently within that map pack.
For instance, a restaurant could run a local search ad to ensure their listing appears first when someone searches for “restaurants near me.” This ad spot is auction-based, with businesses bidding for top placement. You pay per click when searchers interact with your map listing.
Local search ads help businesses get discovered by nearby customers as they search for local products/services on Google. Appearing in the map pack listing helps drive calls, get directions, read reviews and more.
Local Service Ads vs Local Search Ads: What’s the Difference?
Point of Difference
Local Service Ads
Local Search Ads
Above organic results
Above organic results
location, service provided
Keywords, location, radius, demographics
Leads Charged, Calls
Clicks, calls, directions, website visits
Cost Per Lead
Cost Per Click (CPC)
Impact on SEO
Can improve local ranking
Can be complex, need Google Partner Support
Charge per lead starts from £6 to £27
Choosing the Right Local Digital Ad Approach
So which type of local ad is right for your small business? Here are a few factors to help decide:
- Budget – Local service ads have no minimum, while search ads require a minimum £500 monthly spend.
- Current local SEO – If you don’t rank well locally yet, local search ads can help you gain visibility until organic rankings improve.
- Offerings – Service ads are great for promotion specific services, while search ads take a broader business-level approach.
- Target keywords – Search ads allow granular keyword targeting, while Service ads focus mainly on “near me” style terms.
- Promotions – Running deals or offers? Search ads allow more creative to promote these.
Analyse your goals, budget, and existing visibility to determine if local service ads or search ads (or both) are the right fit. With the right strategy, local digital ads can connect your business with more nearby customers and drive real business growth.
Tips to launch effective Local ads
Once you’ve determined the right local digital advertising approach for your business, it’s time to start setting up and managing campaigns.
Here are a few tips to launch effective local search ads on Google:
- Focus your ad copy – Highlight the most relevant information the searcher needs to know about your business. Include your service area, key products/services, and a clear call to action.
- Leverage location extensions – Take advantage of location extensions in your ads to showcase your business addresses, phone numbers, and other location info to searchers.
- Structure campaigns around customer intent – Separate campaign for different keywords and user intents, such as “store near me” vs. your specific service like “plumber in birmingham“.
- Use negative keywords – Add negative keywords like “jobs” or unrelated services to avoid irrelevant clicks that won’t convert.
- Monitor location performance – Check your location report to see which geographic areas produce the most clicks and conversions. Adjust your keywords and bids accordingly.
- Test different ad variations – Try different ad copy, call to action, landing pages, and more to identify what resonates best with your target audience.
- Automate bids and ads – Use smart bidding strategies to optimise bids automatically. Create ad groups and templates to scale campaigns easily.
- Analyse and optimise – Dig into performance data regularly and make changes to continually improve results.
- Follow Google’s editorial and policy guidelines – This ensures your ads remain compliant and eligible to run without issues.
The benefits of tapping into local ad platforms like local search ads are immense for small businesses looking to connect with customers in their geographic regions. With the right strategy and optimization, you can drive more calls, store visits, sales and overall business growth through local digital ads.
How UTDS Optimal Choice Can Help With Local Ads
For businesses that want expert assistance setting up and managing local ad campaigns, UTDS Optimal Choice offers full-service digital advertising solutions. Our team can help craft and optimise local service ads and local search ads tailored specifically to your business and location.
UTDS Optimal Choice will research the right keyword targets, create highly relevant ad copy, set up conversion tracking, split test different creative, monitor location performance, and provide ongoing optimisation. We use proven campaign management strategies refined across countless local clients to help you get the most from your local Google Ads budget.
Whether you need ongoing managed services or just an initial campaign setup, UTDS Optimal Choice has the digital advertising expertise to help your business connect with more local customers. Our data-driven approach and focus on ROI takes the complexity out of local ad platforms so you can focus on your core business. Contact Us Now!!
Google charges per click, with costs depending on competition, keywords, and targeting. Most businesses spend £2-10 per click. Set a daily budget cap to control costs.
Yes, the two approaches can complement each other. Service ads help you advertise specific services, while search ads boost your overall visibility.
Local ads usually go live within a couple hours after setup. However, expect gradual ramp up in visibility over days/weeks as Google optimizes targeting.
Yes, both service and search ads show up prominently in mobile local search results, great for on-the-go local shoppers.
Google requires a minimum spend of £500 per month to run local search ad campaigns. No minimum for service ads.