By Categories: Google Ads, Shopping AdsComments Off on Connect with local holiday shoppers

The holidays are quickly approaching and 40% of U.S. consumers have already started their holiday shopping. Supporting local businesses is top of mind this year. In fact, 60% of U.S. consumers who are planning to shop for the holidays say they will shop more at local small businesses.

If your stores are open for in-store shopping or dining, you know it’s important to make sure your customers can easily find you online. We’ve unwrapped new local solutions plus a local holiday guide to help you stand out on Google and connect shoppers to your stores.

Engage with customers using your Business Profile

Starting this week, you can easily claim and verify your Business Profile directly on Google Search or the Google Maps app. Search for your business by name and you’ll see an option to claim and verify the associated Business Profile. Once your business is verified, you can edit your business’ information, including the address, store hours, photos and more.

A search results page on both desktop and mobile. Both show the Business Profile for “Mo’s Diner.” Options shown in clickable boxes with the titles “Get verified,” “add photo,” and “add business number.”

Update your Business Profile and engage with customers directly from Search and Maps.

We’re also adding new ways to get even more out of your Business Profile. You can now message customers directly from Search, and merchants in the U.S. and Canada can use call history to see which inbound customer calls came from their Business Profile on Google.

Mobile phone screen shows the call history for a business. The top of the screen shows “Calls” and below is a box with a time period that can be changed via a drop down. Below that are two large numbers, the first is the number of answered calls (shown in black) and the second is the number of missed calls (shown in red). Below that, the calls are in list format in order of how recently they occurred. Some show just a phone number while others show a contact name.

View your call history from your Business Profile.

Moving forward, we recommend small businesses manage their profiles directly on Search or Maps. To keep things simple, “Google My Business” is being renamed “Google Business Profile.” And in 2022, we’ll retire the Google My Business app so more merchants can take advantage of the upgraded experience on Search and Maps. The existing Google My Business web experience will transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations, and will be renamed “Business Profile Manager.” We’ll share more details on these changes in the months ahead.

Show your local inventory

Holiday shoppers want to know what’s available before they get to your store. In a recent survey, more than half of U.S. holiday shoppers said they’ll confirm online that an item is in stock before going to buy it. There are a few ways to make sure your business shows up when holiday shoppers search for the products you offer.

We recently announced the new “in stock” filter on Search so shoppers can see only the nearby stores that have a specific item. To make sure your products show up, retailers in the U.S. and Canada can sign up for Pointy from Google — free of charge and right from your Business Profile on Search. Pointy helps you automatically upload all your in-store product inventory by connecting directly to your existing point of sale system. If you already have a local inventory feed, you can submit your feed through Google Merchant Center. To showcase individual products, you can also manually add them to your Business Profile on Search.

Mobile phone screen shows a GIF of a customer’s shopping journey on Google Search. The first image is a Google search results page for “kids bike helmets near me.” The user sees a map with various stores that sell bike helmets. The user clicks the “in-stock” button and is shown a list of stores that have kids bike helmets currently in stock. The user clicks the first store listing for “Mike’s Bikes” and then views pictures and prices of the helmets they have in stock.

Shoppers can now use the “in stock” filter on Search to see only the nearby stores with a specific item on their shelves.

Promote your nearby store locations

If you want to focus on store-specific goals, like promoting in-store products or seasonal menu items, you can promote your location to nearby shoppers using Local campaigns. Easily connect with shoppers searching for businesses like yours across Google Maps, Search, Display or YouTube, and help them find what they need at your local store, restaurant or dealership.

Now it’s even easier to plan your Local campaign budgets heading into the holidays using Performance Planner. This tool helps you create plans for your local advertising investment, and see how changes to those plans might affect your outcomes and performance.

Laptop computer screen shows the Performance Planner forecast within the Google Ads UI. A line graph shows “spend” on the X axis and “conversions” on the Y axis. A gray point on the graph shows the “existing settings” and a blue point above it shows the “planned settings.” There is a blue line drawn through the blue dot going up to the right, indicating the increase in forecasted conversions you’d receive if you grow your investment. The text at the top of the graph says “you could get an estimated 1.5K conversions at $26.66 CPA for $40K.”

Local campaigns Performance Planner can help determine how much to invest this holiday season and beyond.

Even franchises like Wendy’s use Performance Planner to more easily determine the appropriate investment for their Local campaigns to drive their store-level business goals.

Because the holidays are a critical time of year for your business, you should continue using Local campaigns to reach shoppers this season. However, when the time is right for your business, you can also start testing Performance Max campaigns before next year’s campaign upgrades. Performance Max allows you to promote your business across all Google Ads channels to help you drive more foot traffic to your physical locations — and includes new inventory and formats not currently available in Local campaigns.

For more on how to make this season even merrier — and easier — for local shoppers, check out the Local holiday guide or the Google for Small Business holiday checklist.