Google's Tags ad call-outs are being shelved in favor of the Google Boost small business ad platform in the Google Places local search service.
Google is giving up the ghost on Google Tags, the
advertising service that let businesses flash little yellow shout-outs to call
attention to their offerings on Google.com and Google Maps.
Google launched Tags
last April as part of the evolution of Google Local
Business Center to the
Google Places local listings service.
For $25 per month, businesses in some
cities could procure Tags to make their listings stand out and entice customers
with coupons, videos, Websites, menus or even custom messages.
The company first offered Tags to businesses in Austin,
Texas, Atlanta and Washington, Houston and San Jose, Calif, but rolled them out
last June, an indication that the product was successful.
In fact, Google said tens of thousands of businesses have
used Tags to reach customers.
But then Google
launched its Boost
local ad platform last October, allowing the same local
businesses who were attaching little Tags to their listings to actually create
their own contextual search ads from their Google Places account.
The ads appear in the "Sponsored Links" section
of Google.com and Google Maps results pages. For example,
Boost ads appear as local pushpins
on Google Maps In when someone does a
Local businesses customize the ad to include their business
name, address, phone number and Website, reviews and a link to the Place Page
to feed consumers more info. Google completes the campaign by designating
relevant keywords, and Boost users pay when a potential customer explicitly
clicks on the ad.
If that sounds like Google's AdWords, it basically is,
albeit for the little guys. It's a much more organic way to advertise on Google
compared to Tags, which feels bolted on. This is why Google is doing away with
Tags, though Google Product Manaher Shalini Agarwal noted:
"We've made a decision to shift our efforts toward
other present and future product offerings for local businesses, and will be
discontinuing this trial," Agarwal wrote.
"To that end, we've now halted new signups and will
be working with existing participating businesses over the coming weeks to help
them meet their marketing needs with other Google products where possible."
No doubt Google wants to move Tags users to Boost as it
seeks to make inroads in local search and compete with Groupon, Yelp, Yahoo,
Microsoft, Facebook and others. Microsoft just launched its Bing Business
to battle Google Places.