Commentary

Google Honing Local Home Services

Building out local advertising offerings, Google's home service advertisements are now available to plumbers and electricians, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning service providers.

Similar to other home contract services such as Home Advisor or Angie's List, consumers looking for home services can send a contact request for up to three providers through the Google form.

Providers of Google Home Services Ads go through a background check before becoming part of the network. Ads are then set up as listings in AdWords Express.

The local home service advertising product, now available in Sacramento, became available to the San Francisco Bay area residents in July 2015. The ads show three providers with ratings, phone number and a call to action.

Defending its position for recommendations, Yelp added a Request a Quote feature it its platform, which allows customers to request a price quote from businesses without ever leaving the site.

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Buzzfeed reports that Yelp has been testing the feature since September, and made it available on the Web and mobile to businesses in categories that include home repair, professional services, mechanics, catering, and event planning.

For businesses, turning on the Request a Quote feature also turns on a feature still being tested that allows customers to see both response time and response rate, which could become a great tool to improve customer service. 

Local search and display continue to grow, though at a slower rate compared with earlier in the decade, per BIA/Kelsey data. The data firm sees local search growing by more than $400 million during 2015 and 2016. Much of it is mobile driven.

Total local advertising revenue in the U.S. will reach $146.6 billion in 2016, up from $141.3 billion in 2015.

Meanwhile, direct mail still takes 25.6% of the U.S. local ad market in 2016, and television over the air, driven by political advertising will take 14.5%. Jumping over to online service, the interactive market such as Google AdWords purchases will take 11.3%. Mobile will take 7.7% of local U.S. ad budgets.

Google's home services ad offering will benefit from location targeting outside of the service. Ad copy and creative pieces or location specific calls to action such as phone numbers support local advertising. The presence of geo-modifiers within the search term or other ways Google identified location and intent.  

Location-based targeting in the U.S. will grow from $8.5 billion in 2015 to $11.3 billion in 2016, according to BIA/Kelsey. The drivers include mobile use. About half of mobile queries in search have mobile intent.

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