If any of your clients are lawyers, you might have noticed a drastic decrease in click activity around November 20, 2020. Of course the date of the slow down would depend upon when lawyers in your targeted area began to show Local Service Ads (LSA).
What is Happening?
Local Search Ads are not showing in search results if Local Service Ads are also showing for the same search query.
Let’s First Distinguish Three Types of Google Paid Ads
“Traditional Paid Ads” are the ads that have been around for a long time. Currently they reside a) under Local Service Ads (LSA) if such ads show for a query, b) at the top of search results if LSA ads do not show for a query, or c) at the bottom of search results under the organic listings (this has become more common since the inception of LSA ads).
Local Search Ads (should) appear in the “3-pack” business listing section in search results. They (should) show when an advertiser creates and enables a location extension for a given campaign. These ads give top-spot exposure to the business section of search results to paid advertisers.
Upon analyzing numerous accounts, we noticed an easily distinguishable period of time at which the total number of clicks and conversions for our clients had suddenly decreased.
After analyzing every imaginable variable, we concluded that
1) the onset of the dramatic slowdown coincided with the launch of LSA ads, and
2) the decrease in activity was being caused by
a) competition with LSA ads,
b) Local Search Ads’ not being shown in search results IF Local Service Ads were showing and
c) traditional paid ads’ being shown below organic results much more often than prior to the launch of LSA ads.
So, if a Local Service Ad shows for a given query, a Local Search Ad will NOT.
Because the majority of search queries that are relevant to criminal lawyers or personal injury lawyers trigger Local Service Ads, Local Search Ads are not showing for the majority of relevant search queries.
We are in the process of conversing with Google to determine if this is intentional or a bug.