Another day, another weird experiment from Google.
Google’s latest oddball comes in the form of a “Google Home Services Concierge.” For a few brief searches, this ad replaced the map pack and Home Service Ads entirely, inviting searchers to literally call Google for a plumber instead of going through their search results:
When you click through, a bare bones landing page presents you with a phone number, number to text, and not a lot else. In case it disappears, here is the page captured in its entirety:
No, really. That’s the whole thing.
The Google Home Services Concierge Shows Very Little Faith in Their Search Results
Right or wrong, your average searcher always passes over Google’s ads for organic or local results.
I think it’s because there’s a widespread perception that Google’s organic algorithm returns results based on quality while their ads sort businesses from the deepest pockets to the shallowest. This latest ad throws a wrench into the mix – nowhere in the ad or on the landing page does it even mention that plumbers may be paying for these referrals, although they almost certainly are.
But there’s another aspect to this ad which is much stranger, once you stop to realize what you’re looking at. With this ad type, Google is telling you to disregard their organic search results for another search. They’re telling you that their people on the phone can do something that their search engine can’t. They’re telling you that the concierge can connect you to a “trusted and experienced” plumber who is “background-checked & insured” – implying that the other plumbers you’ll find might not be. Their organic results have failed all of us, and we must resort to the wisdom of their call centers.
While Google has always struggled to monetize local searches, especially as their local and localized organic search results have improved, it’s difficult to justify this ad type under any circumstances.
For me, the ad disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Maybe it was all a dream.
P.S. Since this ad type will probably disappear quickly, and since you can’t trust Google’s organic results to find you a trusted, experienced, and insured plumber, just ask me instead. I. know. plenty.