Google’s new product local ads (currently in beta) are designed for mobile, the perfect place for local advertisers to reach their consumers.  Mobiles phones can detect location (if the user opts in), so Google can easily match up nearby retailers with consumers.  Google also matches up geo-qualified queries (the same way they do with desktop queries) to best meet the searchers needs.  Statistics show that mobile users are on the move and ready to buy.  90% of mobile searches result in an action, such as a purchase, a click-to-call, or a visit, according to a study done by Google.  (Don’t worry, I’m not going to overwhelm you by cramming too many mobile statistics into this post but, if you’re interested, you should check out my other mobile posts on PPC Hero about mobile landing pages and product extension ads going live on mobile.)

What I love about Google’s new product ads:Product Local Ads, snapshot

“So what?”, you say, “a local business owner could geo-target any of their ads to get the same effect.”  Well, you’re right from that standpoint.  Any marketing team could do that. Theoretically, any marketing team could utilize Adwords or Adcenter to do local pay per click advertising.  The special thing about Google’s new product local ads is that, everyone can do it but everyone won’t do it.   Product local ads require advertisers to set up a Google Places account and submit a local product inventory through the Google Merchant Center.  This gives local small-business owners a leg up on the competition, because most large chain retailers won’t have the time to submit updated local product feeds for every chain store around the world.  I highly recommend that every mom and pop shop add product local ads to their to-do list.  This is your chance to one up Wal*mart, top Target, and Kick K-mart’s butt.  I’m sure, eventually, there will be an easier way to  set up product local ads, and the major chains will rule the web again, so get it while it’s hot!

Getting Started

Because Product Local Ads are currently in beta, only a select few will be allowed to test this feature.  If it makes sense for your business, you should first make sure that you have an accurate, high quality merchant feed.  Check out this article tolearn more about getting set up a Google merchant center.

1. If you have a Google Merchant account and a Google Places account, then you are ready to apply for a local shopping account.

2. If your business qualifies, Google will invite you to a new Google Merchant account, created for your local shopping data.  Google notes: this account will require a different login email than the email used for your initial Google Merchant account, so you’ll want to sign out of your initial Merchant Center before trying to attempt to accept the invitation.

3. Set up your account.  Important: on the general settings tab, do not fill in any information because Google already has your business information.  In particular, do not claim your online website in your local shopping account – that is what your other Google Merchant account is for.  Just click save changes at the bottom of the page.

4. Enable the Local Shopping Settings.  Under the “Local” account header, click the check box “enable local shopping”.  Under the “Google Merchant Center account for online products” header, link your two Merchant Center accounts by inputting your login email address for your Merchant Center account for online product listings. Under the “Google Places” header, link your Local Shopping account to Google Places by inputting your login email address for your Google Places account.  Click save changes at the bottom of the page.

5. Confirm your local shopping settings. Go to the Data feeds tab of your Merchant Center account for local product listings to confirm that the settings have taken effect.  Click on “new data feed”. You should now see three new options in the “Type pull-down menu: Business Listings, Local Products, and Price-Quantity.

6.  Set up your business listing data, including your phone number as well as other information about your business.

What Are Product Local Ads?

In case you haven’t read my previous post about product local ads, they will display when Google determines the searcher to be in a nearby location and searching for a relevant product.  Product local ads will include a picture, a price, and the number of actual available products, which is why it is important to have an accurate, local product feed. Never has the phrase been so true, “If you got it, flaunt it!”