AdWords’ Home Services Ads Go Local

AdWords released a beta Home Services Ad format earlier this year to connect companies with local residents. The purpose of this format is to give users immediate answers when they need it the most. Let’s say you lose your key and find yourself locked out of your home. You can search for a locksmith on Google and a list of qualified. pre-screened locksmith companies near you will appear in a handy tool at the top of the SERP. Their phone numbers, ratings, city, list of services, and a profile picture appear in something that looks somewhat similar to a local Snack-Pack. Not only does the tool give you qualified local results, it also gives you the option to send requests to 1 to 3 service providers.

snack pack vs beta

Google recently upgraded this feature by releasing a search tool for the Home Services Ads. The search tool is used to help you refine your search within a specific location for the type of service you need. The Home Service Ads will then appear with qualified, pre-screened results.

As advertisers, we are always looking for more tools to add to our marketing toolbox. We decided to dig a bit deeper into this beta format and see what it can really offer to marketers and searchers alike.


The Perks

  • The best part about this tool is that it brings in more qualified leads. Since all results have been pre-screened, users can be more confident when contacting the companies listed in Home Service Ads.
  • In addition, because Google narrows the searches down to specific services in an area, companies can receive immediate service requests. Think of the Home Service Ads tool as if it was the Yellow Pages, except that it has interactive features and gets the user the results they need immediately.
  • Another advantage is Home Service Ads appear prominently in the SERP. They take a large chunk of space at the top and have an attractive appearance. Google’s algorithm keeps users engaged while doing all of the research work for them. Now that’s clever.


The Downfalls

  • Unless you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, you unfortunately wont be able to use this feature currently.
  • Although the new Home Service Ads search tool is interactive, it’s not as attractive as the ad search results. It appears at the top of the SERP in a search box that doesn’t demand attention.
  • Until you use the actual tool itself, you won’t see the more engaging list of services. This feature is only available in AdWords Express (the “lite”, more automated version of AdWords) and limited to just a few types of services. Clearly, AdWords has been trying to get new account holders to jump on their Express Train. The reason why this is only available on AdWords Express is to encourage advertisers to download the corresponding app so they can be available for service requests as they come in.


“How to Sign Up” for Advertisers

Since Google’s goal is to provide the best experience for their users, they require pre-screening from the advertiser. To get started, you must be in the Bay Area and involved in specific industries, such as plumbing. If you meet this criteria, you can to sign up by filling out this form with your company contact information. Google then uses a third-party service to perform background checks. If you pass, they will create a profile page with the information you provided. Your ads and bids can be managed through AdWords Express. This feature is currently available to plumbers, locksmiths, house cleaners, and handymen. Don’t be discouraged if your company does not fall into these service categories. Google started this tool with only one service and eventually expanded to others, so it is likely this trend will continue.


So, What Does This Mean for Marketers? 

Although we hope this tool expands outside the San Francisco Bay area, after speaking to a Google Representative, they’ve confirmed that there are currently no future plans to roll out this service nationwide. This leaves us with many unanswered questions:

  • Why are there no future plans to expand the prevalence of this useful tool?
  • If this tool is rolled out, is it going to expand into more industries?
  • Because the tool takes such a large portion of the SERP, how is this going to affect paid search ad position and organic results on the SERP for these services?
  • What kind of effect will this have on website traffic? What will this mean for the future or service providers’ websites?
  • Will this tool be expanded to the regular AdWords interface, or will it remain solely available through Adwords Express?
  • Will it swap out the Snack-Pack for the Home Service Ads for some industries?
local snack pack
Local Snack Pack with Ads


Beta Home Services Ads Search

There are high hopes that this tool will become available both nationally and internationally as Google expands the types of services they’d like to include. As Search Engine Marketing Specialists, we’re always looking for new ways to help our clients engage more with users and potential customers. This tool will allow businesses to connect with local residents and may help level the playing field between large corporations and growing companies. Whether or not it will remain a beta, or become a permanent feature that is widely available remains to be seen.