Lack of Flexibility in Ad Titles in Google Adwords Map Ads

I love working with Pay Per Click ads through Google AdSense. It’s like instant gratification. And the local targeting opportunities are amazing when working with a local business. But there is one thing that really bugs me, Map Ads.

When creating an ad to be displayed on Google Maps you’re stuck with using the business name as it is within the Google Local Business Center (LBC). Your business name then becomes the default blue linked headline of your ad copy. You can’t readily rename it to specifically target your keywords like you can in the regular ads, unless you change it in the LBC.

For this reason I see click through rates for Map Ads at mere fractions of what I can get out of normal ads. Being that we are paying Google to create ads which appear within Google Maps they should allow us the flexibility to give whatever title we feel would better speak to searchers. Again, like we can in the normal ads.

Here’s an example;

Normal ad

Dallas Carpet Cleaning
Want Clean and Spotless Carpets?
We’re the Carpet Cleaners You Need

Map Ad

Fiber Clean LLC.
Want Clean and Spotless Carpets?
We’re the Carpet Cleaners You Need

(I’m making this example up instead of outing one of my clients campaigns. There is no such thing as .cam and the .com of that domain does not clean carpets, let alone in Dallas. So like i said, complete fiction here, except that its very similar to my circumstances)

Other than the ad title the copy is the same and we’re bidding on all the same keywords and sending traffic to the same landing page. Average click bid price and ad positioning are similar too.

Here is where the big difference is (these numbers are not fiction, like the sample ads above);

  • Normal Ad CTR = 3.26%
  • Map Ad CTR = 0.95%

Map ads get positioned under the map or down below the listings on the side, so the lower visibility may also be contributing to a lower CTR. Oh well, I can live with that. But I’m certain the ad title is a big culprit for low CTRs.

Some Work Arounds

(next day edit: this unfortunately does not work! see update below. Then check out the compromise in the first comment below)

In one case I told a client they should log into the Google LBC control panel and rename their business to drop the LLC, or LTD, designation at the end of their official name and add their main service keyword phrase instead. That’s a bit better. Official business names just look too cold and official, as well as boring. Hence low CTRs.

Now because the new business name is longer than the 25 character limit allowed in Adwords they then give you the option to edit it to make it shorter. So “Fiber Clean LLC” becomes “Fiber Clean Carpet Cleaners”, after changing it in the LBC, and when creating a new Map Ad the edit title feature kicked in, because the LBC title was too long, which allowed me to place this instead, “Dallas Carpet Cleaning”. Yay! :)

But, it does not always work. A few times while trying to create new Map ads it would try and default to the old business name instead of the new longer one. Maybe it just takes more time before the changes in the LBC filter through all of Google’s data centers??? Not sure.

With those Map ads I was able to change the titles for I’ll have to wait and see if CTRs improve. I highly suspect they will.

*** Update ***

Got notification from Google that they disapproved the ads because the titles did not match the official business name. Boooooooo to the Adwords Team. Booo


The Conversion Rate Caveat

Now I can’t complain too much I suppose. Conversion rates from map ads appear to be almost double the rate for normal ads. It appears that users who are searching within Google Maps are much further along in the buying cycle. They are searching locally so they must be ready to make a purchase whereas those searching within Google proper are more often still in research mode.

But that’s what also burns me. If my ads could receive the higher CTR of the normal ads yet convert at Map ads rates…Bingo, we have a winner.

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One Comment to “Lack of Flexibility in Ad Titles in Google Adwords Map Ads”

Stever on July 18th, 2008 wrote:

Another Update;

I’ve managed to reach a bit of a compromise, of sorts, since my first attempt was “dissaproved”. Now since the new business name listed in the LBC is longer than 25 characters I can set a new title, but it must be representative of the business name (else ads get disabled).

Keeping to my fictitious example, “Fiber Clean - Carpet Cleaning” is too long. But if I shorten it down to this = “Fiber Clean - Carpets”, for the Map ad title, it fits within the space limit, is a reasonable representation of the full name listed in LBC, it contains a bit more information about what the company does, and includes portions of potential keywords.

After another day of the new ad titles running in Maps I believe I am seeing an increase in CTR. Might be too soon to be certain, but it’s looking that way.

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