More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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What is the Google Home Service Ads Program?


Change has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Especially when you work in an industry with as many moving parts as digital media marketing.

When it comes to digital, change is more than just inevitable ? it?s a way of life. The key to longevity is this industry is finding ways to embrace that change. At the end of the day, the name of the game is ensuring that your small business clients are at the head of the pack with every industry shift. Which is especially hard to do when Google Home Service ads seem poised to change everything about how small businesses receive traffic.

Google Home Service ads is a program that will ultimately improve customer acquisition for small businesses. As this program rolls out, the small businesses (or more specifically, home-service providers) that know how to make the most of Google?s advertising capabilities are the ones that will dominate.

Introduction to the Google?s Home Service Ads Program

To better understand Home Service ads, let?s split digital media marketing strategy into two simple components. The first component being the tools you can use and the second being how effectively you use them. If small businesses want to be ready for this inevitable Google update, they?ll need to understand what Home Service ads are and how to most effectively use them.

Over the last few years, Google has been quietly beta testing the Home Service ads Program. Despite its seemingly small sample size (available in only a few cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento), Google has been hard at work, slowly shaping the future of paid search ads and the way small businesses will receive traffic. To be clear: Google has made no major announcements about their plans for a nationwide rollout, although they?ve already started to expand into the greater LA metro market.

Google?s Home Services is a program designed to connect users with home-service providers (plumbers, gardeners, electricians, etc.). What makes this program more appealing to users is that the home-service providers promoted by Google?s home service ads are more than just paying for their way onto the page.

In order to be promoted on Home Service ads, each service provider needs approval by Google. To further reassure users, each business will have a ?Google guaranteed? shield next to its name and review score. The idea here is to connect businesses with customers via micro-moments.


The first issue that needs to be addressed is why Google feels the need to change their system. From a purely financial perspective, it?s important to understand that this setup will make Google more money. Whether the business converts their traffic or not, Google still charges for the click. Keep in mind that Google also charges for leads, according to their own website:

  • With Home Service ads, you pay only for leads from customers that choose your business.

  • You set a weekly budget that limits the total number of leads you receive in any given week.

  • You may get a different number of leads from day to day, but you never spend more than your designated weekly budget.

Google will offer several businesses leads simultaneously, but obviously only one of the businesses will actually convert. With this new system in place, Google can charge for all 3 clicks, thus earning more money for arguably the same experience.

But that?s hardly the only reason Google would implement this system. We?ll get more into this subject in our ?What Small Businesses Should Do Right Now? section, but it?s important to keep in mind that Google?s decision to implement this program stems from a desire to improve the user experience.

Whether users click on one of the three service providers listed or click on ?more plumbers?, they?ll be redirected to a page that encourages them to request quotes from 3 different service providers. This program is essentially Google?s answer to sites like Angie?s List, creating an environment where users have access to a variety of pre-qualified service providers, free of charge.


Let?s be honest: paid search ads on Google aren?t a traffic machine for most industries. In an effort to revitalize a program that hasn?t been performing well, Google decided to put a search service within search ads, allowing users to request quotes directly through them. By presenting a more interactive, utility-driven experience, Home Service ads are more likely to appeal to the modern consumer.

Which brings up an interesting question: how soon before this type of ad program starts popping up in other industries? When you consider how much better of an experience this ad program is for the consumer, it?s only a matter of time before everything from hotels to insurance companies (and everything in between) end up using this.

How does it Work?

Once the user has selected their three potential service providers, they?ll be taken to a page to help simplify the quote process. Users will answer questions like ?What needs to get done?? and ?Which phase are you in??


But the differences between traditional paid ads and Home Service ads don?t end with that convenient search service. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when dealing with Home Service ads is the much larger role that reputation is going to play in paid search. Traditionally, paid search was the ?pay-to-play? sector. While being an online authority was a nice perk, small businesses hoping to take advantage of the Home Service ads program will need to take their ranking into account.

The order that Google chooses to show each service provider within Home Service ads is less auction-based than the traditional paid search ads we?re used to. And for good reason, when you consider Google?s Green Shield Guarantee. With an insurance policy of up to $2000, it?s no wonder that Google is ensuring that any business that can be reached through Home Services is top-notch.

Google is even going as far as performing background checks on businesses before considering them for the program.

In typical Google fashion, we only have a general idea of what the ranking criteria are, although at least one of them has become clear: availability and response rate are critical factors if a business wants to stay on the Home Services program. If contractors are constantly ignoring/refusing jobs, Google will likely stop showcasing them.

Read Brian's full post here.

Do you have any clients in California that are already in the Home Service Ads Program? How many new clients has the program delivered thus far?




Great info to know about. Thanks as always for sharing Garrett!
Thanks Linda! Brian did some great research for this post. It will be interesting to see how quickly the program expands nationally and whether we can expect to see a similar type of offering for other industries in the future.
You might be prescient, Brad! What do you anticipate leading to the demise? Pay to play programs like this one?

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