Noticed that Local Services Ads have started showing photos for particular businesses? What might this mean for this niche area of paid search? Tom Waddington explains it all.
The ability to add photos to a Local Services ad started back in June 2018. At the time it was limited to photographers and event planners and the photos only showed on the full profile of the business. The full profile would be what you see after clicking on their Local Services ad.
Keep in mind that Local Services ads are pay-per-lead, not pay-per-click, so a business is not charged when you click through to view their full Local Services profile. They are only charged if you call them, or if you message them (which is only an option for some categories). Near the end of July 2018, Google appeared to expand the ability to add photos to businesses in all Local Services ads categories.
Now, at the beginning of 2019, photos have started to appear on Local Services ads on the initial search result, but only for photographers and event planners, and only on desktop:
It’s unknown yet if they’ll expand this approach to categories besides photographers and event planners, but as always with Google, it could very well suggest a new direction for this kind of ad. While I wouldn’t think they would take this approach for plumbers, locksmiths and other service categories, I wouldn’t be surprised if they at least test it in a few other markets.
Either way, it’s important for businesses to take advantage of the ability to add photos to their Local Services ad, even if it will only be seen on their full profile view.
How to Manage Photos in Local Services Ads
Within the Local Services dashboard you should see a Photos box on the Profile and Budget section. From there you will be able to upload images. Bear in mind that photos from Google My Business are not automatically populated in Local Services, so you will need to add them here even if you already have photos uploaded there.
There are, of course, guidelines that must be followed to help ensure the photos will appear on your profile.
- Acceptable file types are: JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, ICO, and WEBP (max. photo size 10MB)
- Resolution needs to be at least 640 x 640 for all photo sections except ‘Cover’. The Cover photo (the image that appears in the ad) needs to be at least 1440 x 810 with an aspect ratio of 16:9
- You must own the copyright for the images and the image content needs to be related to your business
- Photos should be high quality, not have frames, borders, transparent backgrounds or be collages. Text overlays are not supposed to be accepted but I have seen them on listings.
The main reason I have seen for photos getting denied is due to a phone number being added to or overlaid onto the photo. If the phone number is in the photo and not very prominent (on a truck or sign in the background, for example) then it might get accepted, but if the number stands out and Google thinks a user may just call that number instead of the tracking phone number Google provides on the Local Services ad itself, the photo will likely be denied.
It’s important to take the time to assemble and upload quality photos to your Google Local Services ad. The ability to customize these ads overall is very limited, but you need to take advantage of any opportunities given to help your or your clients’ business stand out from the competition in this potentially very lucrative space.
Tom Waddington is a co-owner of Wachae, a search marketing and analytics business. He has been involved in local search for over 10 years and has worked with numerous home service-related businesses. Tom is also a Google My Business Top Contributor and has been closely monitoring the evolution of Google’s Local Services ads over the past year.