Paying for Directions – Is it a Money Grab by Google?
Posted on May 31st, 2011
Google has officially announced that it will now be charging for directions in Adwords where advertisers have location extensions activated for their ads. Myself and all my clients got the email notice today. Needless to say my clients are asking how it will effect them.
Honestly, I’m left scratching my head over the value of this to advertisers.
How Do You Track It?
Google will be reporting those clicks via the click type segment. Fine, we can track the clicks. But from that point what are you tracking? How do you gauge how many of those clicks where a user wanted to see directions to your location actually end up at your door. Off hand I can’t think of any way to track that. It’ll be the mystery ROI. Which is great for, as Google puts it in the email, helping you meet your marketing goals.
Every marketer knows that invisible goals are the best goals. amiright?
How Do You Turn it Off While Keeping Other Parts of Location Extensions?
Location extensions are great. From my testing they significantly improve click through rates as the ads appear even more local, thus relevant, to the user. This for normal web clicks to a landing page. Plus it shows phone numbers which can entice a few phone calls. Particularly in mobile ads the click to call functionality of those ads for smartphone users is a very significant part of mobile PPC. The juicy part even.
But what if you wanted to opt out of directions? It looks like you can’t. Either use location extensions or don’t.
What About Services that Come to You?
Plumbers, painters, air conditioning contractors, carpet cleaners, pool cleaners, taxi cabs, etc… There are all kinds of service based businesses where users have zero need for directions to the business location. Granted it should mean very few ever ask for directions to those kinds of businesses. But clicks will happen and they will be a complete and utter waste of money for those advertisers.
I wonder how this applies to businesses that have defined a service area in their places account AND have chosen to hide their address. Is that what it will take to disable the directions clicks?
Is it Simply a Money Grab for Google Adsense?
How will I be charged for “directions” clicks?
Over the next few weeks, “directions” clicks will be charged the same as a click on your ad’s headline. In general, “direction” clicks are a small proportion of the ad clicks, and we do not anticipate this change will have a significant impact on your account’s total cost.
I think, in my cynical mind, what they really mean to say is : Don’t worry about it. In general, it’ll only cost you a few bucks here and there. But there are millions of you, and that adds up to millions of dollars, here and there, for us.
We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. I’ll be paying close attention to my clients PPC accounts to see how many direction clicks they get.
Anyone else have thoughts and opinions on the new direction clicks? Comment form below is for commenting. AND your comments can be longer than 140 characters!!! (that’s a hint you should be contributing to the conversation here and not on twitter.)
Photo via Flickr by Ian Ransley Design & Illustration in San Francisco