Introduced in 2017 by Google, Google Posts allow businesses to post text and photos directly to Google My Business (GMB). These posts appear on the local panel and on Maps. If used effectively, Google Posts can increase traffic to your website, boost sales, and engage with your audience. Enterprise brands such as Dick’s Sporting Goods used Posts to promote special discounts and sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and saw significant ROI two years in a row. Although Posts lost some engagement when Google changed their positioning last fall, they still remain an effective marketing strategy.
Opinions about the effectiveness of Posts differ among SEO experts today, largely because of a change in the latter part of 2018 that appears to have reduced some of the ranking benefit Posts once offered. In September of last year, Google moved Posts from the top to the bottom of the Knowledge Panel (now officially called the "Business Profile"), and afterwards we among others did detect a drop in engagement.
However, this drop should be viewed in the proper context. Even after the change, a campaign we ran for a large multi-location retailer saw a click-through rate (CTR) of 1.44%, which is significantly higher than the average CTR for Google display ad campaigns.
Viewed as a form of advertising, Posts remain very effective.They offer, after all, one of the best means of engaging a user base that has already seen your Google listing and is seeking distinguishing characteristics to help decide who to transact business with.
Google Posts basics that you need to know
• Google Posts are completely free, requiring only that you are managing a Google My Business profile.
• Posts become less prominent after 7 days. The only exceptions are event and offer Posts, which can be configured to display for the duration of the event or offer.
• Each Post can have a call-to-action (CTA) button. While Google will show you how many clicks your CTA generated and how many views your Post gathered, we still recommend using UTM parameters to keep track of visits to your website and subsequent actions.
• Regardless, Google Posts placement is still very prominent in mobile and remains highly competitive with comparable ad products.
Previous Google Posts Placement
Current Google Posts Placement
The Benefits of Google Posts
1) Google Posts Help You Engage With Your Audience
One of the major benefits of Google Posts is their ability to feature timely, actionable content that can boost engagement with your audience.
Google Posts can be used to highlight:
• Seasonal Offers
• Same-Day Flash Sales
• New Product Launches
• Special Promotions
• Emergency Updates
• Open Positions
• New Arrivals
• Top Products
Junzi Kitchen used Google Posts to promote their latest contest, which encouraged guests to take a photo of their favorite bowl and upload it to Instagram, tagging the restaurant in the process. Users clicking on the "Learn more" button were directed to Instagram.
This campaign works especially well because Junzi Kitchen is able to gather user-generated content from the contest to further promote their business.
Skechers, on the other hand, used Google Posts to promote their Black Friday Weekend Sale. They used an attention grabbing graphic, which very clearly lists out the discount while encouraging their customers to spend $100 or more to receive an additional 10% off.
2) Google Posts Can Increase Website Traffic
Google Posts may also be able to capture the attention of your audience and therefore may lead to increased website traffic and conversions.
Although Google Posts were originally displayed more prominently in the Business Profile, as of September they have dropped to a lower position, decreasing their overall effectiveness. Regardless, their placement on mobile is still very prominent and the click-through rates from Post campaigns in Brandify's tests are still averaging an impressive 1.44%.
What's more, users who are already searching for your business or businesses like you are likely to be further down the conversion funnel, and thus more valuable, compared to those who you are hoping to capture through traditional ad campaigns.
The ability to reach your ideal audience when and where it matters most can be extremely beneficial, especially when you can showcase your expertise or pique a user's interest with a strong CTA.
Note, for example, this Google Post by Comfort Keepers. A potential client may be looking into enrolling their loved one in a home care facility or hiring an in-home caregiver. If they were already looking for Comfort Keepers, a Google Post educating them about winter-time illnesses may prompt them to learn more about how Comfort Keepers could help them.
Google Posts let you tailor messages to specific customer needs and questions.
Even so, posting consistently will help build Location Authority for your local listing. Google tracks engagement, so having organic clicks on CTA buttons can build up your page ranking as well as signal to Google that your content is highly relevant to users.
At least indirectly, an increase in Location Authority should lead to better ranking.
The 4 Different Types of Google Posts
There are four different types of Posts, described by Google as follows.
Product: "Posts that emphasize a specific product your business sells. Product posts require a title and photo or video. You can also include a CTA button and other information. For example, an electronics store may promote a new phone for sale."
What's New: "Posts that provide general information about your business. You can include a photo/video, link, CTA button, and other information. For example, a restaurant could make a post to promote a new menu item."
Event:"Posts that promote an event your business is involved with or supports. Event posts require a title, start/end dates and time, and may include a photo/video, CTA button, and other information. For example, a bookstore may advertise a local author's book signing or a book club meeting."
Offer:"Posts that provide promotional sales or offers from your business. Offer posts require a title and start/end dates and times. A "View offer" CTA button is automatically added to the post. You can also include a photo/video, coupon code, link, and terms and conditions with the post. For example, a pizza parlor may advertise a 20% off large pizzas for a week."
The Requirements For Each Post Type
Below is a handy guide to the specific requirements for each Post type, based on our extensive testing and on successful campaigns we've run on behalf of clients. Although the description for each post type is different, the recommend creative is the same for all Posts.
Recommended Creatives for all Post Types:
• Photo (.jpg format) - 814 px X 610 px
• Will display as 187px X 140px in Business Profile
• Use high-quality photos when creating a Post; if there aren't any photos available use stock photo sites like Unsplash or Pexels
• Consider omnichannel promotions (If you’re a retailer, we recommend "buy online, pick up in store" promotions)
• The optimal image size is 814px x 610px
• Create custom landing pages to match post content
Now that you understand the importance of incorporating Google Posts into your marketing strategy, do you have the right action plan set in place to manage them efficiently? If you’re finding it difficult to manage Google Posts at scale via API connection, it would be best to find a partner like Brandify. By using our omni-channel platform for listings, reputation, and social management we set our partners up for success.