Understanding Local Service Ads
- How LSAs Work
- Eligibility Requirements for LSAs
- Benefits of LSAs for Franchises
- Limitations of LSAs for Franchises
Building Your Local Service Ads Strategy
Launching and Managing Your Local Service Ads Campaign
- Creating and Verifying Your Google Business Profile (GBP) Profile
- Optimizing Your Ad Performance
- Tracking and Measuring Your Results
Best Practices for Local Service Ads
- Staying Compliant with LSA Policies
- Responding to Customer Inquiries Promptly
- Encouraging Positive Reviews and Ratings
1. What are Google Local Service Ads (LSAs)?
Local Service Ads (LSAs), historically referred to as “Google Guaranteed Ads” are an online advertising platform designed by Google to help local service based businesses including franchises connect with potential customers in their local area. LSAs are designed to appeal to potential customers because businesses serving the ads are required to go through a rigorous verification process to earn the green check mark. LSAs are prominently featured at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) for relevant service-related queries, providing businesses a prime opportunity to showcase their services and attract new customers. An example local service ad looks like this (above the Google Search Ads)….
Unlike traditional pay-per-click (PPC) ads, LSAs are pay-per-lead ads, meaning businesses only pay when a potential customer contacts them directly through the ad by making a phone call or sending a direct message. This model can help franchises save money on advertising costs while generating high-quality leads from people who are actively searching for the services they offer.
LSAs can also be customized to meet the unique needs of a franchise, allowing them to showcase their brand, services, and service areas to potential customers. LSAs are targeted based on customer location and the services they are searching for on Google, for example a carpet cleaning business can target the following services: “rug cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, drapes/curtains, and other.”
2. Importance of LSAs in Franchise Marketing
Local Service Ads (LSAs) play a critical role in franchise marketing by helping franchisees increase their visibility, attract more customers, and drive revenue growth. LSAs are typically managed by agencies that specialize in multi-location advertising and/or franchise brand internal marketing departments. Here are some specific ways that LSAs can benefit franchise marketing efforts:
Increased Visibility: By appearing at the top of Google’s search results page for relevant queries, LSAs provide franchises with prominent visibility that can help them stand out from their competitors. This can be especially beneficial for franchises that operate in highly competitive markets, where it can be difficult to get noticed through other forms of advertising.
Improved Lead Quality: LSAs are designed to generate high-quality leads by targeting people who are actively searching for the services they offer. This means that franchises can expect to receive quality leads from potential customers who are more likely to convert into paying customers. Anecdotally franchise brands using Adplorer for their LSAs have seen about a 30% sales conversion rate for leads generated from LSAs. These numbers can of course vary greatly depending on the brand, service offered and market competition.
Cost-Effective Advertising: Since LSAs are pay-per-lead, franchises only pay for the leads they receive through the ads. Additionally franchises can dispute and get refunded for leads that aren’t qualified for their service. This can be a cost-effective way for franchisees to promote their business and generate targeted leads with a limited budget.
Customizable Options: LSAs can be customized to meet the specific needs of each franchise, allowing them to showcase their brand and services. This can help franchises differentiate themselves from their competitors and build brand recognition.
Tracking and Analytics: LSAs come with a built-in LSA dashboard where franchisees can see a list of leads and recorded phone calls where they can manage their leads, dispute unqualified leads, and follow up with potential customers.
Understanding Local Service Ads
1. How LSAs Work: Eligibility, Verification, Ad Creation and Targeting and Performance Tracking
Eligibility: To be eligible for LSAs, franchises must meet certain criteria, such as having a physical business location and being licensed and insured in their service area. You can quickly confirm your LSA eligibility with Google here.
What type of businesses are eligible for LSAs?
Google continually updates and changes the type of businesses that are eligible to use LSAs. As of April 2023 the following types of local service businesses are eligible to use Google Local Service Ads:
|Acupuncturist||Chiropractor||Electricians||General contractor||Labor lawyer services||Ophthalmologist||Physical therapist||Sewage system||Window cleaning services|
|Allergist||Contract lawyer services||Estate lawyer services||Handyman||Landscaping services||Optometrist||Plumbers||Siding services||Window repair services|
|Animal rescue||Criminal lawyer services||Family lawyer services||Home inspector||Language instructor||Orthodontist||Podiatrist||Snow removal||Yoga studio|
|Appliance repair services||Countertop services||Fencing services||Home security||Lawn care services||Personal injury lawyer services||Pool cleaner||Tax services|
|Bankruptcy lawyer services||Dance Instructor||Financial planning services||Home theater||Lawyers||Personal trainer||Pool contractor||Traffic lawyer services|
|Beauty school||Dentist||First aid training||House cleaning services||Litigation lawyer services||Pest control services||Preschool||Tree services|
|Business lawyer services||Dermatologist||Flooring service||HVAC (heating or air conditioning)||Locksmiths||Pet adoption||Primary care physician||Tutor|
|Carpet cleaning services||Dietitian||Foundations services||Immigration lawyer services||Malpractice lawyer services||Pet boarding||Real estate lawyer||Veterinarian|
|Carpenters||Disability lawyer services||Funeral Home||IP lawyer services||Massage school||Pet Grooming||Real estate services||Water damage services|
|Child care||Driving instructor||Garage door services||Junk removal services||Moving services||Pet Training||Roofers||Weight loss service|
You can find the most up to date information on which types of businesses are eligible for Local Service Ads here.
Verification: Once a franchise applies for LSAs, they undergo a verification process to confirm their eligibility and ensure that they meet Google’s standards for quality and reliability.
Setup: Individual Franchises can then set up their LSA account, including their business information, service offerings, service areas, and contact details. Note that the LSA dashboard is linked to Google Ads, so each LSA account will need to have a Google Ads account to bill to. Franchsiors and marketing agencies take note! This process should be standardized for all franchise locations. A standardized brand compliant templated approach to LSA set up will save time, resources and prevent future problems. For a detailed guide and carpet cleaning franchise case study (including pictures) on how to set up your LSA account in the LSA dashboard click here.
Targeting: LSAs are highly targeted to specific search queries and service areas. Franchises can choose the types of services they offer and the locations they serve to ensure that their ads are displayed to the right audience.
Performance Tracking: LSAs come with built-in tracking and analytics tools that allow franchises to monitor the performance of their ads, including the number of leads generated, cost per lead, and other key metrics.
2. Eligibility Requirements for LSA
To be eligible to use Local Service Ads (LSAs), franchises must meet certain requirements set by Google. LSA candidates must undergo a free background check performed by Google. The process length varies by business type and location. More details about the eligibility requirements and background check process can be found here: Note that many franchise brands have background check pre-requisite requirements for all employees with a third party provider. In these cases, it is possible to bypass the individua lLSA background check process and for each franchise location.
Location: Franchises must have their business registered within the service area they wish to advertise in even if the business does not have a location that customers can visit.
License and Insurance: Franchises must be licensed and insured in the service area they wish to advertise in. The exact license and insurance requirements may vary depending on the type of service the franchisees provide and the state where the service is being provided.
Background Checks: Franchisees and any employee that may enter a customer’s home or perform a service directly for a customer must pass a background check conducted by Google. This includes a review of the franchisee’s business history, legal record, and online reputation.
Service Area: Franchises can only advertise in the specific service areas they serve. This means that they must specify the geographic areas where they are willing to provide services.
Service Categories: LSAs are currently only available for Google’s approved service categories, including home services, legal services, financial services, and more. Franchises must offer services within these categories to be eligible for LSAs.
3. Benefits of LSAs for Franchises
Local Service Ads (LSAs) offer numerous benefits for franchises looking to grow their business and attract more customers. Here are some of the key benefits of LSAs for franchises:
Increased Visibility: LSAs are prominently displayed at the top of Google search results, making them highly visible to potential customers who are actively searching for services in the franchise’s service area.
Targeted Advertising: LSAs are highly targeted to specific service categories and service areas, ensuring that the franchise’s ads are displayed to the right audience in the right place.
Pay-Per-Lead Model: Unlike traditional PPC ads, LSAs are pay-per-lead, meaning that franchises only pay when a potential customer contacts them directly through the ad, such as by calling, texting, or filling out a contact form. This can help franchises save money on lead management and advertising costs while generating high-quality leads.
Trust and Credibility: LSAs are backed by Google’s verification and background check process, which helps to build trust and credibility with potential customers who may be hesitant to use an unfamiliar service provider. This verification can be leveraged by the franchise to showcase the brand’s reputation to new customers across multiple channels.
Improved User Experience: LSAs are designed to provide a seamless user experience, with features such as click-to-call buttons and messaging options that make it easy for potential customers to contact the franchise directly from the ad without filling out a quote form.
4. Limitations of LSA for Franchises
While Local Service Ads (LSAs) offer numerous benefits for franchises, there are also some limitations that franchises should be aware of before deciding to use LSAs. Here are some of the main limitations of LSAs for franchises:
Limited Service Areas: Franchises must specify the specific service areas where they are willing to provide services. This can limit the reach of their advertising and make it difficult to target potential customers outside of their service areas.
Ad Approval Process: Franchises must go through a rigorous approval process before their LSAs are displayed on Google. This can take time and require significant effort on the part of the franchise to ensure that their ads meet Google’s guidelines and policies. Local franchise marketing software like the Adplorer platform can reduce this burden by offering brand compliant templated campaigns to expedite the approval process.
Cost: While LSAs are pay-per-lead, the cost per lead can vary depending on the service category and location. Franchises may need to budget for higher advertising costs when using LSAs, particularly in areas with high competition.
Limited Customization: LSAs have limited customization options, meaning that franchises may not be able to fully control the messaging and branding of their ads.
Limited Reporting: While LSAs do come with built-in tracking and analytics tools via the LSA dashboard, the reporting options may be limited compared to other forms of digital advertising. However, the LSA dashboard when integrated with the Adplorer platform can become a powerful tool to monitor franchisees performance at scale. Below you’ll find a screenshot from an Adplorer client’s KPI’s (Media Spend, Number of Calls and Call Duration) pulled from the LSA dashboard with Adplorer-Google LSA Integration.
Building Your Local Service Ads Strategy
1. Selecting Relevant Services to Advertise
Identify Your Most Popular Services: The first step is to identify the services that are most popular among your target market. This can involve analyzing your sales data, conducting customer surveys, and reviewing feedback from previous customers. By identifying your most popular services, you can focus your advertising efforts on the services that are most likely to generate leads and sales.
Consider Your Profit Margins: When selecting services to advertise, it’s important to consider your profit margins. Some services may be more profitable than others, and you may want to prioritise advertising those services that generate the highest profit margins for your franchise.
Align with Your Unique Selling Proposition: Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what sets your franchise apart from competitors. When selecting services to advertise, it’s important to align with your USP and focus on the services that are most closely tied to your brand identity and positioning.
Prioritize Relevant Local Services: LSAs are designed to target local customers, so it’s important to prioritize market relevant local services when selecting services to advertise. This can include services that are specific to your geographic location, as well the seasonality of services offered.
2. Setting Your Budget and Bidding Strategy
When using Local Service Ads (LSAs) for franchise marketing, it’s important to set a budget and bidding strategy that maximizes your return on investment (ROI). Here are some key steps to help you set your budget and bidding strategy:
Define Your Goals: Before setting your budget and bidding strategy, it’s important to define your marketing goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness or generate new leads? Once you’ve defined your goals, you can determine how much you’re willing to spend to achieve them.
Determine Your Budget: LSAs use a pay-per-lead model, which means you only pay when a customer contacts you through the ad. To set your budget, consider how many leads you want to generate, your typical conversion rate and how much you’re willing to pay per lead. LSAs provide estimated lead costs based on your industry and location, which can help you set your budget. LSA budgeting is typically done on a weekly basis.
Choose Your Bidding Strategy: LSAs offer two bidding strategies: maximum cost per lead and target cost per lead. Maximum cost per lead allows you to set a maximum bid for each lead, while target cost per lead allows you to set a target cost and LSAs will adjust your bid to achieve that cost. Consider your goals, budget, and competition when choosing your bidding strategy.
Monitor and Adjust: Once your ads are live, it’s important to monitor their performance and adjust your budget and bidding strategy accordingly. LSAs provide data on ad performance, including the number of leads generated and the cost per lead. This data can be used to optimize campaigns and improve ROI. The Adplorer platform’s unique accounting software integration allows franchises to monitor their overall performance based on ROI for each campaign. With a franchise marketing platform like Adplorer, LSA generated leads are tracked until they’re converted into sales providing clear data on lifetime ROI
Launching and Managing Your Local Service Ads Campaign
1. Creating and Verifying Your Google Business Profile (GBP) Profile
To use Local Service Ads (LSAs) for franchise marketing, you need to create and verify your GBP profile or link your existing GBP profile. Here are the key steps to do so:
Create Your GBP Profile: To create your GBP profile, go to the Google Business Profile help page and follow the prompts to provide basic information about your franchise, including your name, address, phone number, and services offered.
Verify Your GBP Profile: Once you’ve created your GBP profile, you need to verify it to ensure that it’s accurate and complete. To verify your profile, Google will send you a postcard with a verification code to the address you provided. Once you receive the postcard, follow the instructions to enter the verification code into your GBP account.
Complete Your GBP: After verifying your profile, complete your GBP by providing additional information about your franchise, including your service areas, business hours, and service offerings. It’s important to provide detailed and accurate information to help customers find and choose your franchise.
Add Reviews and Ratings: GBPs display customer reviews and ratings, which can help build trust and credibility with potential customers. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GBP profile and respond to any negative reviews in a professional and courteous manner.
Keep Your GBP Up-to-Date: It’s important to keep your GBP up-to-date to ensure that customers have accurate and current information about your franchise. Make sure to update your profile if your business hours, services offered, or service areas change.
2. Optimizing Your Ad Performance
Optimizing your ad performance is essential to ensure that your Local Service Ads (LSAs) generate leads and drive sales for your franchise. Here are some key steps to optimize your ad performance:
Monitor Your Performance: Monitor your ad performance regularly to track key metrics such as the number of leads generated and the cost per lead. LSAs provide data on ad performance, which you can use to optimize your campaigns. Franchshisors should consider using a multi-location digital advertising software like Adplorer that provides aggregated reporting to monitor 100’s or 1000’s of LSA campaigns. Adplorer’s local marketing automation software provides unique bid optimization for LSAs by aggregating campaign data from 100s or 1000s of LSAs. Additionally Adplorer’s custom alerts can automate LSA campaign monitoring, saving Franchisors and Franchisees time and resources.
Adjust Your Budget and Bidding Strategy: Based on your performance data, adjust your budget and bidding strategy to maximize your ROI. Consider increasing your budget for high-performing ads and adjusting your bidding strategy to achieve your target cost per lead. Using the Adplorer’s collective intelligence bid optimization, this process can be automated to save both franchisors and franchisees time and money.
Respond to Inquiries Quickly: LSAs require you to respond to customer inquiries within a certain timeframe, typically 24 hours. Responding quickly can help you build a positive reputation and increase your chances of converting leads into customers.
Track Your ROI: Track your ROI to determine the effectiveness of your LSAs in generating leads and driving sales for your franchise. Use your performance data to calculate your ROI and adjust your budget and bidding strategy accordingly. Franchisors and marketing agencies should consider using the Adplorer platform’s unique accounting software integration which allows franchises to monitor their overall performance based on ROI for each campaign. With a franchise marketing platform like Adplorer, LSA generated leads are tracked until they’re converted into sales providing clear data on lifetime ROI.
By monitoring your performance, adjusting your budget and bidding strategy, optimizing your ad content, responding quickly to inquiries, and tracking your ROI, you can optimize your ad performance and effectively use LSAs to generate leads and drive sales for your franchise.
3. Tracking and Measuring Your Results
Tracking and measuring your results is critical to understand the effectiveness of your Local Service Ads (LSAs) in generating leads and driving sales for your franchise. Here are some key steps to track and measure your results:
Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define your KPIs to measure the success of your LSAs. Common KPIs include the number of leads generated, cost per lead, conversion rate, and ROI. Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for each KPI.
Analyze Your Performance Data: Analyze your performance data regularly to identify trends and patterns. Look for areas of strength and weakness in your campaigns and make adjustments accordingly.
Optimize Your LSAs: Use your performance data to optimize your LSAs by adjusting your budget and bidding strategy. Continuously test and refine your campaigns to improve their performance and ROI.
Report Your Results: Report your results to key stakeholders in your franchise, such as management and marketing teams. Share insights and recommendations based on your performance data to help guide future marketing decisions. Note that aggregating unstandardized data across multiple locations can make scaled reporting a challenge. Franchisors and marketing agencies looking to provide clear aggregated LSA data at scale should consider adopting the Adplorer platform.
Best Practices for Local Service Ads
1. Staying Compliant with LSA Policies
Staying compliant with Local Service Ads (LSA) policies is critical to ensure that your franchise’s ads are approved and remain visible to potential customers. Here are some key steps to stay compliant with LSA policies:
Read and Understand the LSA Policies: Read and understand the Google LSA policies to ensure that your franchise’s ads comply with all requirements. Review the policies regularly to stay up to date on any changes.
Adhere to Quality Standards: Ensure that your franchise’s services meet the quality standards set by the LSA program. Maintain accurate and up-to-date information about your services, service area, and hours of operation.
Maintain Accurate Contact Information: Ensure that your franchise’s phone number, is accurate and up to date. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and provide accurate information about your services.
2. Responding to Customer Inquiries Promptly
Responding to customer inquiries promptly is crucial for maintaining a positive image for your franchise and improving customer satisfaction. Here are some key steps to responding to customer inquiries promptly:
Set up Notifications: Set up notifications so that you are alerted when a customer sends an inquiry through your LSA. This will allow you to respond promptly to their inquiries.
Use Pre-Written Responses: Use pre-written responses to quickly and efficiently respond to common customer inquiries. This will help you to save time and respond more quickly.
Respond in a Timely Manner: Respond to customer inquiries as quickly as possible. Aim to respond to inquiries within 24 hours or less, as this will help to improve customer satisfaction and increase the likelihood that they will choose your franchise.
Provide Accurate Information: Provide accurate information when responding to customer inquiries. Double-check any information that you provide to ensure that it is correct.
Be Polite and Professional: Be polite and professional in your responses to customer inquiries. Use a friendly tone and address any concerns or questions that the customer may have.
3. Encouraging Positive Reviews and Ratings
Encouraging positive reviews and ratings is essential for the performance of your LSA’s and for improving your franchise’s overall reputation. Remember that with LSA’s ratings and reviews are the key data points that distinguish you from competitors. Here are some key steps to encouraging positive reviews and ratings:
Provide Excellent Service: Provide excellent service to your customers to ensure that they have a positive experience. This will increase the likelihood that they will leave a positive review or rating.
Ask for Reviews and Ratings: Ask your satisfied customers to leave a review or rating on your LSA or website. This will help to increase the number of positive reviews and ratings you receive.
Respond to Reviews: Respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to improving the customer experience.
Use Reviews and Ratings to Improve: Use customer reviews and ratings to identify areas for improvement and make changes to your franchise operations or customer service to address any issues.
1. Future Outlook for Local Service Ads
The future outlook for Local Service Ads (LSAs) is bright, with continued growth and expansion expected in the coming years. Here are some key trends and developments to watch for:
Increased Adoption: As more businesses and franchises become aware of the benefits of LSAs, adoption is expected to increase. This will lead to increased competition for ad space, making it even more important to carefully manage ad performance and budget.
Advancements in Technology: Advancements in technology, such as local advertising automation platforms will continue to improve the reporting targeting and ROI performance of LSAs. This will help franchises to reach the right customers with the right message at the right time.
Expansion into New Markets: Google is expected to continue expanding the availability of LSAs into new markets and industries. This will provide even more opportunities for different types of franchises to reach local customers and grow their business.
Integration with Other Google Products: LSAs are expected to become more integrated with other Google products, such as Google Maps and Google Assistant. This will provide a seamless experience for customers and make it easier for franchises to manage their online presence.
Overall, the future outlook for LSAs is positive, with continued growth and expansion expected. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments, franchises can stay ahead of the competition and effectively reach local customers through LSAs.
2. Next Steps
Franchisors and marketing agencies should consider adopting a local marketing automation platform like Adplorer that simplifies local digital advertising for franchises and multi-location businesses. With Adplorer’s technology, businesses and marketing agencies can effectively manage and optimize thousands of LSA campaigns. The aim is to provide easy and scalable local digital advertising solutions for local businesses. If you’re interested in learning more about the Adplorer platform for LSAs or other local advertising products such as Google Search Ads, Bing, Waze or Facebook Ads for franchises or multi-location businesses simply click on the button at the end of this post to provide details about your marketing agency, franchisor or multi-location business’s local marketing automation goals.