To capture the growing popularity of locally targeted searches, Google is testing more ad opportunities in local business panels. The ads appear below the business description and above details like location, address, hours of operation, and contact information.
If it goes live for all searches, this could be a huge opportunity.
What Knowledge Panel Ads Look Like
From the screenshot below (from Moz’s Dr. Pete Meyers), the ad is very well integrated within the knowledge panel. It still has the all-too-familiar “Ad” tag, yet manages to pull off a native look by resembling the organic content around it.
The ad also includes a thumbnail, but it doesn’t seem like Google pulls it off the local business “See Photos” section. Instead, it looks like the advertiser provides the image because it’s the same one on Groupon’s landing page.
The ad shown on the screenshot is for Groupon and it’s not clear if the type of ad is open to all advertisers. The “View Deal” link does suggest that this test could be for advertisers that are similar to Groupon since this kind of link would be exclusive to a coupon or deal type business.
Dr. Meyers says he wasn’t able to replicate it, so for now it looks like it’s a limited test or still in its initial stages of being rolling out.
“We’re currently experimenting with new ways to surface helpful and relevant local information to users on Google Maps and Search. Maintaining a good experience for our users is our top priority and based on feedback. We’ll determine whether to roll these changes out permanently and broadly.”
Is This Test Good for Business?
What if knowledge panel ads roll out to all types of businesses? Competitors would be able to place their ads on your company’s knowledge panel. Would you be okay with this?
In practice, companies are able to bid on their competitors’ keywords in the search results, but this new direction is likely to be met with mixed reactions.