In June, this year we welcomed the rollout of the new Google Posts feature, available to small businesses with the Google My Business platform. Now three months on, we’re delving into the benefits of this handy new tool and how to start making it work best for your business.
What is Google Posts
Google Posts was originally created back in January 2016 under the name candidate cards. Back then it was available only to political candidates and for relevant political search queries. Since then Google Posts has been revamped and slowly made available to a limited number of businesses, building up to the final rollout this year in June 2017.
Google Posts is available to any small business with the Google My Business platform. Posts appear in a small card format within the business ‘Knowledge Box’ that appears in search results for a business name.
These posts can be used to promote current business news such as an ongoing promotion, new product release or upcoming event. Each post can consist of an image, some text, or an event title with start and end dates. All posts also offer a selection of CTA’s to suit the type of information being promoted; businesses can choose from Learn More, Reserve, Sign Up, Buy or Get Offer.
Why use Google Posts
The new feature has a number of benefits but the big bonus is that businesses get to take up additional SERP real estate with relevant and interesting business information, and it doesn’t cost a penny. Any business that invests time in keeping their services and content fresh with new promotions, events and products should immediately reap the rewards of all that Google Posts has to offer.
The other main plus is the call to actions, each of which is a benefit in its own right. Having a list of specialised CTA’s offers unique deep linking opportunities that can connect current and potential customers directly to a relevant landing page optimised for conversion. This is a huge benefit to both customers and businesses as the path to information or purchase is greatly reduced. Here’s what each of these CTA’s could mean for your business:
- Learn More – connect customers directly to a landing page of your choosing. This could simply be helpful information about your services, to learn more about exclusive offers or your latest blog post. There is unlimited potential with this CTA.
- Reserve – allow customers to make a reservation with just one click to your reservation page, resulting in an almost frictionless path to conversion.
- Sign Up – customers can quickly and easily sign up to your newsletter, allowing you to expand your reach and target more customers with targeted information, news and offers.
- Buy – promote your new or bestselling products and allow customers to purchase immediately.
- Get Offer – showcase your current promotions and offers to attract new and existing customers and get customers shopping in just one click.
To get started simply log into your Google My Business account and select Posts from the left-hand menu. You’ll see the options on the right to either Learn More about the process or to simply start writing your post.
After three months, we’ve had a chance to take a closer look at Google Posts and figure out how to best utilise Post features. As with any new marketing tool getting started takes a bit of practice and some dedication. If you’ve yet to take on Google Posts or just feel like giving up, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
An image speaks a thousand words
The size of each Post displayed is unsurprisingly limited and will have to contend with all the other information displayed in search results and the business information box. As with many mediums, images are key in attracting the eye and getting the message across quickly.
When choosing the image for your post remember to choose an image that is both eye-catching and relevant. While a bright and colourful image might be attractive, it also needs to complement your message to stay relevant and avoid confusion. Remember that customers will see your images as a representation of your business, so avoid blurry and pixelated images of poor quality. Aim instead for clear pictures with a high enough resolution to suit the Post size.
Be smart with text
When adding text to your Post you’ll have to struggle with the size again. While Google Posts allow for up to 300 words, most of these won’t be displayed on the actual Post, especially on mobile screens. Anyone with AdWords experience will know that keeping your text short and sweet is key when space is limited. You should also look to place the keywords of your message at the beginning, for example, the product name or the percentage off for your promotion. The beginning of the message needs to be the thing that customers want to click; you can always display more information and details on the landing page.
Create content consistently
With Google Posts, creating content regularly is a must. Recent reports show that Posts have a 7-day lifespan, with business owners receiving a notice after 6 days warning that their Post will expire. While this may seem like a lot of work, the 7-day lifespan is actually a big benefit as it forces businesses to keep offers and information up to date.
You should always be updating your content, particularly your business information, to keep it recent and fresh. Outdated information, offers or events tell customers you don’t put the effort into keeping your business and your communications organised, which will only reflect in your conversion rates. It’s also much more appealing to potential customers, with current limited time offers inspiring a sense of urgency that can often encourage a conversion.
You’ll also find that you can gather a much better range of fresh insight from measuring new content each week, which will help you refine your Posts and optimise them for conversions. Make sure you set a reminder each week for both creating and reporting new Posts.
Test, measure and repeat
Views and engagement are the two metrics offered by Google to measure the effectiveness of your posts. We suggest creating multiple posts to begin with to get a wider range of data. This is especially true for the posts with the Learn more button, as you get to enter a URL. With the help of UTM tag, you can track behaviour on your website and gain even more insights.
You can also try focusing on one thing at a time each week, for example keeping text and titles similar and changing the CTA and post style, and then keeping Post style similar while switching up the text and tone of voice. This should help highlight which CTA’s, tone of voice, image and landing page work best for you. Over time you can refine your Posts based on previous performance and continue to test new and innovative formats.
The potential of Google Posts
Business owners will have the chance to convert customers straight from the search results, providing important insights into the types of information and offers their customers want. It also places necessary importance on landing pages, which are often underutilised despite being optimised for specific conversions. As a new feature, the full potential of Google Posts is yet to be fully explored. With precious new real estate up for grabs, businesses will need to think ‘outside of the card’ to creatively entice customers to click and encourage them to convert with optimised landing pages.
Google Posts is just one of the new features available to give your ecommerce business a boost in search results. If you’d like to know more about how digital marketing could see you winning and keeping even more customers, contact one of our team today.