Will Google Charge for “Google My Business” Listings?

Will Google Charge for “Google My Business” Listings?

Google recently announced that they are entertaining the idea of charging for Google My Business listings. It was reported that Google recently created a survey for local businesses in order to gauge their interest on paying for certain features, that up to this point, have always been free. Google has never attempted to charge for this service, but has used it to promote paid adverting in the past.

What is Google My Business?

Not sure what Google My Business is? Google My Business was first launched in June 2014. It’s a free Google service that allows you to list your business profile on Google Maps and search. It has helped businesses reach and interact with local customers across the Google Maps and search platforms, while also allowing Google to provide accurate information to searchers. Since its initial launch in 2014, Google has provided countless updates to the service to improve overall performance and accuracy.

The survey that was available when this announcement was first made asked businesses how much they were willing to pay every month for services that are currently free. According to the survey, Google can charge anywhere from $25-$60/month for businesses to be listed in Google local results. This survey also included different feature options to see what was most appealing to business owners.

“If Google decides to charge for listings, my fear is that some businesses would be scared away and Google would miss out on confirming local business data,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said.

The reason Google launched this service in the first place was to ensure they were receiving updated and accurate business information.

At one point, Google relied solely on third-party providers for local business information. However, the data was proving to be consistently out of date or simply incorrect and giving the searcher a poor user experience. By allowing businesses to update their own information, Google could ensure that they were providing the latest data.

So why start charging for this service now? What does this mean for local businesses and advertising agencies that currently assist clients with this service?

Why Would Google Charge for Listings?

The first thing local businesses will need to consider is the additional monetary investment when assessing their marketing budget.  If Google did decide to charge for business listings, it would be a strong revenue source, especially since this type of listing has become a requirement for most businesses. However, charging for search results is a fine line to walk and one that may cause issues within Google’s internal ethics and support teams.

“Google sees a business opportunity, one that could help local businesses. However, they will need to be transparent to make sure it’s ethical,” Pitzl said.

Pitzl said that even if Google decides to start charging for this service, it should have no effect on organic traffic.

“It should have no effect on organic listings, but it may hurt agencies who manage Google My Business for their clients,” Pitzl said. “Clients should ask questions to make sure that they know what services they are receiving, both from Google and their agencies,” Pitzl said.

Bing Network Announces Rebranding and Product Expansion

Bing Network Announces Rebranding and Product Expansion

Bing Ads recently announced that they will now be known as Microsoft Advertising. Bing officials reported that the rebranding will reflect a larger focus on ad inventory, data and targeting capabilities through their Microsoft Audience Network.

“These days, marketers have more power than ever to identify and reach customers. With data, AI and automation at your fingertips, it’s no longer just reaching more people that matters to growing your brand. It’s about making each connection feel one-to-one, at just the right time and place. More meaningful, more timely, and more valuable — this is how we see advertising evolving,” Rick van de Kooi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising, said. “We’re evolving, too. We’re changing our name from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising.”


What Does This Mean for You?

What does this change mean for advertisers? Microsoft Advertising says the transition between names will be a simple one since most of their clients and partners already recognize them as Microsoft.  The team at Microsoft Advertising says clients and partners can anticipate new features within the Microsoft Audience Network, a targeting option that was launched last year. The Microsoft Audience Network uses AI, rich audience intent, and profile understanding to help marketers reach consumers in brand-safe environments.

“We have deployed product enhancements, including viewable impressions, image upload and management tool updates to make managing images even easier. And second, we’re expanding audience campaigns to the UK and Canada later this summer,” Kooi said.


Addition of Sponsored Products Tool

The rebranding announcement also brings a Sponsored Products option to advertisers. The Sponsored Products tool will allow marketers to increase visibility and drive more traffic to their top performing products within their shopping campaigns. Kooi reports that this new capability will help align marketing efforts between retailers and manufacturers, which will ultimately result in a stronger connection with shoppers. Sponsored Products is currently only available in beta in the U.S.

“We believe in empowering every marketer on the planet to achieve more, and our success is realized in what our partners accomplish. The Bing Ads name change to Microsoft Advertising is a reinforcement of this commitment,” Kooi said.