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LSA vs. PPC

Pros and Cons of Google Local Service Ads (LSA) and Google Ads (PPC) 

By Dipa Gandhi and Devon Osborne

Google provides businesses a few different platforms for lead generation. Google Business Profile (GBP), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Local Service Ads (LSA), all of which have their own pros and cons associated with them.

Here we’ll focus on LSA and PPC and the pros and cons of each. Many business owners or marketing managers have asked themselves which route is better, LSA or PPC. They each have their own pros and cons, and both have the potential to generate leads and produce a solid ROI. 

First, let’s look at how each result is displayed. If you search Google for “HVAC in Palm City, F” L. Here are the search results presented on the first page:

The first set of results at the top of the page are your LSA:

The next section down contains the PPC results. They are easily recognized by the “Ad” designation to the left.

And directly below these are the Google Business Profile results:

Local Service Ads

Based on this example, let’s take a look at LSA.

Pros

Gain Trust Immediately

Google displays a Google Guaranteed badge on your LSA which lets your customers know you’ve passed Google’s vetting process and that you are a screened and qualified business backed by Google. Being displayed here means you are a legitimate business.  You benefit from the attention, recognition, and trust of your business.

What You’re Paying For

With LSA, you are paying for each qualified lead you receive, not click. Again, you are paying for every lead, NOT click. Google uses its own tracking phone number on the LSA itself and vets all the calls which come through the LSA. They remove any unqualified leads and only charge you for qualified leads. Because this is a manual process, they too make errors, and you may be charged for an unqualified lead. However, their platform allows you to dispute a lead if you feel you have been wrongly charged. If Google determines this dispute to be valid, they will credit the charge back to your account.

Cost

Most contractors report that the leads they receive through Google LSA are far less expensive than through Google Ads. For example, HVAC contractors are typically paying $100 – $200 for PPC leads,  and less than half that for those received through their LSA campaign, depending on your region of course. 

Reviews

Most businesses already have a free Google Business Profile (GBP) set up for these businesses. The great thing about LSA is that the reviews from your GBP will feed directly into your LSA. You don’t have to worry about which platform to have your customers leave reviews on. As long as they leave a great review for your business on your GBP, your LSA will also display it.

It’s SO easy!

LSA’s platform is transparent and simple. Google has made it extremely easy for most business owners and managers to use. It is easy to monitor and once set up, the only adjustment you might want to make is your monthly budget.

Cons

Verification Process

Google does have several requirements before gaining the Google Guaranteed badge. Depending on your industry and your state requirements, you must pass these requirements:

Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure you have a business license if required by your state, proof of insurance and allow Google to run a background check on yourself, as the business owner, and other employees if Google requires it.

Availability

LSA is not yet available for all services in all areas of the United States at this time. There has been a slow rollout of service by service. If your services are not yet being promoted by Google’s LSA program, check back in a few months.

Ranking

The position of your LSA is driven by ranking factors similar to the free organic Google Business Profile. Some of these ranking factors include proximity to your primary location, number, ratings on reviews, optimization of your LSA account, and budget. Another factor that will affect the position of your LSA is the level of competition. In the end, it is more difficult to control where and when Google will choose to highlight your LSA Ad than your PPC Ad.

Google Ads PPC Campaigns:

Pros

Quick Results

Google Ads are auction-style, meaning that you’ll be competing with other businesses in the same area. There is no long “ranking” process the account needs to go through. A well-optimized Google PPC account can expect to see leads being generated within the first week or so of a campaign going live.

Higher Lead Volume

When optimized and properly funded to reflect the going prices for local leads in your industry, you can expect to achieve a higher volume of leads via PPC advertising than you will through an LSA account. Many people get the bulk of their leads through Google Ads but use LSA as a supplement for lower-priced leads. 

Flexibility In Targeting Your Most Profitable Services

With Google Ads, you have the ability to choose the keywords for the services you want to target with your campaign. With LSA, you are only able to select the “Job type” or “Category” to indicate the services you offer. There is tremendous flexibility in terms of running different campaigns and targeting locations and adjusting budgets for each campaign.

Less Extensive Verification Process

Google requires only garage door companies and locksmiths to undergo a vetting process. To run Google Ads, there is no extensive verification process like LSA, however, Google may eventually require you to provide proof of business registration.

Cons

Higher Cost

With PPC Google Ads, you are doing just as the name suggests, paying for every click, whether that person is calling or not. Due to the cost per click being auction-based, getting leads via PPC Google Ads can be costly, especially if the campaign is not being properly managed.

Not for Beginners

Running a PPC campaign without the proper knowledge is not advisable. The Google Ads platform can be overwhelming to newcomers. Without knowing the basics behind PPC Ads, you likely won’t know where to find the pertinent information you need to optimize the account or how to use it to your advantage.  

Summary

If you are looking for a low-cost set-it-and-forget-it platform to supplement your other lead-generation efforts, LSA is a great option. It does take time to rank among the competition, but simple to set up and maintain. It is easy to optimize an LSA, and adding lots of high-quality reviews will improve your results. If you already have a free Google Business Profile for your business with several great reviews, and not a lot of competition, then LSA might be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more specific types of leads in a more targeted area, a large number of leads, or faster immediate results, then PPC might be the best option for you.

To capitalize on the number of leads you receive, you can run both LSA and PPC Google Ads simultaneously. The pay-per-click Google Ads will help bring in leads quickly while the LSA builds rankings. Due to the fact that you only pay per lead with LSA, you won’t be wasting money while it grows.

For a free consultation on LSA or PPC for your business, call the experts at 99 Calls at 800-717-4669.

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