Google Ads vs. Local Service Ads: What’s better for my small business?

Written By Madison Compton
February 19, 2024
Google search showing the difference between Google Ads and LSAs

As a small business owner, attracting local customers is crucial for your success. And in today’s digital world, online advertising plays a key role. But with so many options available, choosing the right platform can be confusing. Two popular choices are Local Service Ads (LSAs) and Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). But which one is the better fit for your business?

Understanding Google Ads:

Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform where you bid on keywords related to your business. (For example “painting near me” if you are a painting company.) When someone searches for those keywords, your ad may appear at the top of the search results page. You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Google Ads offers a wide range of targeting options, allowing you to reach a broad audience based on location, demographics, interests, and more. However, it requires more set-up and ongoing management compared to LSAs.

What are Local Service Ads?

LSAs are a newer type of ad specifically designed for local service-based businesses like plumbers, electricians, cleaners, and more. Unlike Google Ads, you pay per lead instead of per click. This means you only pay when someone contacts you through your ad, either by phone, message, or booking an appointment. LSAs appear in a prominent spot at the top of search results, often above even organic listings, (whereas Google Ads can sometimes be lower on the search page if your bid is not high enough). Additionally, they showcase key information like your ratings, service area, and hours of operation, giving potential customers more confidence to choose you.

Who can use LSAs?

Eligible Home services:

  • Appliance Repair
  • Carpenter
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Countertop Pro
  • Drain Expert
  • Electrician
  • Fencing Pro
  • Flooring Pro
  • Foundations Pro
  • Garage door
  • General Contractor
  • Handyman
  • Home Inspector
  • Home Insulation
  • Home Security
  • Home Theater
  • House cleaning
  • HVAC
  • Junk Removal
  • Landscaper
  • Lawn Care
  • Locksmith
  • Moving Services
  • Painter
  • Pest control
  • Plumber
  • Pool Cleaning
  • Pool Contractor
  • Roofing
  • Sewage System
  • Siding Pro
  • Snow removal
  • Tree services
  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Window Cleaning
  • Window Repair

Eligible Business services:

  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Business Lawyer
  • Contract Lawyer
  • Criminal Lawyer
  • Disability Lawyer
  • DUI Lawyer
  • Estate Lawyer
  • Family Lawyer
  • Financial Planner
  • Immigration Lawyer
  • IP Lawyer
  • Labor Lawyer
  • Litigation Lawyer
  • Malpractice Lawyer
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Real Estate Lawyer
  • Tax Lawyer
  • Tax Specialist
  • Traffic Lawyer

Eligible Health services:

  • Allergist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Dermatologist
  • Dietitian
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Optometrist
  • Orthodontist
  • Physical therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Primary care

Eligible Learning services:

  • Beauty School
  • Dance Instructor
  • Driving Instructor
  • Language Instructor
  • Massage School
  • Preschool
  • Tutor

Eligible Care services: 

  • Animal Shelter/Rescue
  • Child Care
  • Funeral Home
  • Pet Adoption
  • Pet Boarding
  • Pet Grooming
  • Pet Training
  • Veterinarian

Eligible Health services:

  • Acupuncturist
  • First Aid Training
  • Personal Trainer
  • Weight Loss Center
  • Yoga Studio

Eligible Beauty services:

  • Barber shops
  • Hair removal
  • Hair salon
  • Nail salon
  • Piercing Studio

Eligible Automotive services:

  • Auto Body Shop
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Car Wash and Detailing
  • Tire Shop
  • Towing

The Key Differences:

Cost: LSAs use a pay-per-lead model, while Google Ads is pay-per-click. This can make LSAs a more cost-effective option, especially if you’re unsure about the quality of traffic from traditional PPC ads.

Targeting: Google Ads offers more granular targeting options, but LSAs focus on showing your ad to people actively searching for services in your local area.

Control: You have more control over the ad copy and design in Google Ads, while LSAs format is more standardized.

Competition: LSAs currently have limited competition compared to the vast market in Google Ads.

So, Which is Right for Your Business?

The best platform for your business depends on your specific needs and goals. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Choose LSAs if:
    • You’re a local service business.
    • You prioritize qualified leads over brand awareness.
    • You have a limited budget.
  • Choose Google Ads if:
    • You want more control over your ad campaigns.
    • You want to reach a broader audience beyond your immediate area.
    • You have a larger budget and the capacity for ongoing campaign management.

The Good News? You Don’t Have to Choose:

Many businesses successfully use both platforms together. LSAs can generate qualified leads, while Google Ads can help with broader brand awareness and reach. Experiment with both and track your results to see what works best for your business. Remember, the key is to target the right audience with the right message at the right time.

By understanding the differences between Local Service Ads and Google Ads, you can make an informed decision about which platform will help you attract more local customers and grow your small business. Have any questions or need help setting up or managing your ads? We’re one email or text away!

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