A couple of days back, I did a Google search on ‘Digital Marketing Agency In Kochi.’ I was baffled by one of the search results in the Google snack pack. This particular result was part of the paid listing platform. This got me thinking, and I researched further on Google about a possible update which allowed the use of paid ads in the snack pack. It was surprising to find out that Google had made an announcement on the paid ads platform for the snack pack at the Search Engine Marketing Expo in Seattle on 21st June, 2016.
Launch Of ‘Google Local’:
Google Local was launched in March 2004, and offers business listings, directions and maps. After a lot of testing and modifications, the 7-pack proved to be one of the most stable versions of Google. However, it had certain flaws like listings without reviews being promoted. On August 06, 2015, the number of snack pack listings were reduced to three by Google with more priority given to listings with reviews to provide the user with a better experience in terms of making a decision.
The Paid Option In Google Snack Pack:
The paid ads option has not been well received as businesses now have the option to get ranked in the Google snack pack by means of making a payment rather than competing with the best ones in the sector for a spot.
To be part of the snack pack was already a huge challenge, now it has become even tougher with 33% of the pack being reserved for the highest bidders.
How this helps Google? The answer is simple – It gets them more money.
How this affects local businesses & customers?
1) Business enterprises with little reputation gets a chance to be listed
2) Good businesses may lose its chance of getting quality leads
3) Users may face a bad experience
According to Joy Hawkins (Local Expert, who attended the conference at Seattle), these ads will be a part of Adwords Extensions and will be available for local business advertisers whose Google My Business page is connected to the Adwords account.
"DEAL" Tag option for listings – Now available for hotels:
Google introduced a new "DEAL" icon for hotel listings in snack pack, where hotels have rooms below the normal rate or while offering discounts. This feature does not put the hotel offering a deal on top of the Google snack pack listing, but it helps in a way to stand out and boost conversions. Now, this is a good inclusion by Google as it enhances the user experience
The paid listing introduced by Google has in a way diminished the significance of the snack pack, as now the highest bidders will be given more prominence over reputed companies who have spent a lot of time and effort trying to be a part of the listing. Personally, I think this option should not have been included by Google. Let's wait and see what the future holds and how the consumers will react to this update by Google.
This resource was published by Minnu James27 March 2017
Minnu James is a Digital Marketing Executive at Webdura Technologies. She aims to implement the best practices in the industry to help develop sustainable business models for companies to thrive in today’s ever-competitive world. Her blog space will feature the latest from the world of Digital Marketing. Follow for regular updates.