Google keeps finding new ways to make money: introducing Boost
While doing some keyword research for an accountant client based in London, I came across the following – very interesting – search engine result page:
You’ll notice the blue (A) marker at the top of the result page (in the pink Adwords area) and the corresponding blue marker on the map, on the right hand side.
This is the new Google Boost service that has just been rolled out to the whole of the US on mobile searches and is currently being tested in the UK (once fully launched in the US, Google usually take less than a couple of months to apply the same changes to all their English portals).
What is Google Boost?
According to the official Google blog for all things Earth and Maps:
Boost enables business owners to easily create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account. No ongoing management is needed after the initial set up[...]
Boost ads are eligible to appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google.com and Google Maps search result pages.
In essence, Google Boost is a mix between Adwords and Google Places where businesses compete, auction-style, to get “nearer to the top” ranking for their ad.
Still being in test phase, we can’t really have a look at “behind the scenes” and setup requirements, but this is what we can already see on the results pages:
- The Boost ad takes twice as much space a normal Adwords ad takes (respectively 85px and 44px in height): with the blue marker and address, I believe the click through rate for Boost should be considerably higher than for the “plain” version of Adwords;
- The maker being blue, it clearly stands out on the search engine results page, and especially on the map;
- The Google Boost marker uses the same letter than the normal Google Maps marker, which could be confusing. This is particularly true on maps where the spread of markers is narrow and the first marker is hidden, as the following image shows:
- The Boost marker can appear for locations that are relatively far from the original query – sometimes so far out that the blue marker only just appears on the map.
- When the user clicks on the map, the Boost marker does not appear on the following screen while the normal Google Places markers (A to G) do.
If you don’t succeed in getting your company listed in Google Places, then Boost might be a worthwhile alternative to look into, especially if you are already using Adwords. As everything happens via you Google Places account, it is another good reason to claim your Place page if your business trades locally.