At the heart of Google’s empire is its culture of innovation. Through constant testing of new features, Google stays well ahead of Yahoo and MSN, along with dozens of smaller competitors around the world.
But Google’s innovations can also have negative consequences. And with Google’s new Product Listing Ads, home improvement companies like you are on the losing end.
See below an example of Product Listing Ads on a Google search on the term “gutter covers”:
See Google’s Product Listing Ads on the top left side of the page. They display as a collection of thumbnail images. Clicking on them takes homeowners to Web sites where they can buy gutter protection products directly.
Note also the prominent display of prices.
This is troublesome for home improvement companies in a number of ways. Most of the successful home improvement companies we know never – ever – quote prices in their ads or on the phone. Their objective is to set homeowner appointments and get their sales reps into the home. Quoting prices on the phone interferes with that.
In other words, Google’s Product Listing Ads are price-conditioning homeowners who are searching Google for gutter protection solutions. In the example above, Google displays prices ranging from $5.87 to $335.25. Unfortunately, even the lowest-grade dealer-installed gutter guard installation costs four figures, and most are higher.
So when an appointment setter calls to arrange a meeting, homeowners are primed to ask about – no surprise – pricing. And when a sales rep meets with homeowners, increasingly one of the first concerns the rep must overcome is…a price objection.
Here’s another example, this time for walk in tubs:
Trouble is, the ads don’t mention all of the other homeowner costs involved in a successful walk-in tub installation. No delivery charges. No plumbing work. No certified installation crew. No one to remodel your existing bathroom to accommodate a walk-in tub. In short, the prices Google shows in its Product Listing Ads do not represent reality.
You know that. And we know that. But what about your prospective buyers?
But wait! There’s another, more subtle issue for home improvement companies with Google’s Product Listing Ads. Product Listing Ads take up very valuable space at the top of Google’s search results pages. And it’s the ads at the top of these pages that are most likely to get visitor clicks. That means Google’s Product Listing Ads deprive home improvement companies like you of the biggest and best ad placements. Product Listing Ads effectively push your ads down the page, where they get less visibility and fewer clicks.
Google’s Product Listing Ads used to be free. And because they were free, they weren’t featured as heavily on the search results pages. But once Google began to charge for these ads (almost two years ago) they started gained more traction—because they proved to be strong source of revenue.
It’s not unusual for Google to innovate like this. But an innovation for Google doesn’t necessarily make for a step forward for you.
But tune in next time. Because I’m going to tell you about a third major consequence Google’s Product Listing Ads.