Google is attempting to launch a pre-emptive strike against Facebook’s forthcoming Places location-based advertising platform for local business by offering a beta version of its Boost equivalent in three US cities.
The offering is based on the search giant’s Google Places software, which enables users to find local businesses when they undertake a Google search. Boost adverts will now appear in the ‘sponsored links’ section of a Google web search or in Google Maps when consumers look for local businesses using vertical market key words such as ‘restaurants’ or location based key words such as ‘San Francisco’.
Other supported cities to date include Houston and Chicago, but more are expected to follow over time.
The adverts provide basic location information such as business name, address and phone number, but can also include data such as star ratings, the number of reviews received and a special Maps marker.
Boost is aimed at non-tech-savvy business owners, which in the past have had to hire in specialist consultants to help. It enables them to create adverts from their Google Places account which, in turn, enables them to manage the information they make available such as opening hours or promotional offers.
The Boost platform automatically determines which key words businesses should bid on and recommends a range of monthly advertising fees based on the competitiveness of a given market.
After owners specify their budget and provide basic information such as a short business description, a web or Places page and their business category, the offering automatically runs cost-per-click adverts in Google searches and Google Maps, handling both placement and frequency details. A listing on Google Places is currently available for free.
Facebook has to date only provided basic guidelines to help local businesses use its Places advertising product, but no adverts are currently being sold under the platform.