What Are Local Service Ads for Financial Advisors?

Local Service Ads, or LSAs, are one of Google’s newest advertising options. Available to only certain businesses, these ads offer financial advisors a different way to advertise their firm when compared to more traditional Google ads.

In this blog post, we’ll cover how these ads work and what makes them different, a few pros and cons of LSAs, and how to set them up if you’re interested. Read on to learn more.

What Are Local Service Ads? 

Local Service Ads appear at the top of a Google Search Result under specific queries. For example, if we search “Financial Advisor” Google will provide localized results containing LSAs:

Local Service Ads Example

These ads appear at the very top of the search results page, over regular ads and organic results. The advisors listed in the ads also must undergo a background check from Google to confirm the validity of their business and qualifications – which is then indicated by the “Google Screened” checkmark on the advisor’s ad.

These ads also list additional information to help qualify the advisor to potential clients, including Google reviews and years in business. Leads looking for more information can either follow the link from the firm’s name, leading to a unique Google page, or call the attached phone number.

How Are Local Service Ads Different? 

Beyond the unique features listed above, Local Service Ads differ from normal ads in a few other ways.

1. Advisors must pay for Local Service Ads

Advisors will only pay for a Local Service Ad whenever a valid lead contacts you. Here’s what Google deems a valid lead:

Valid Leads LSAs

According to Google, your LSA will remain active until you reach your budget, determined when you first created your LSA.

2. Ads are limited by service area, not location

Unlike traditional ads, Local Service Ads will advertise to a service area. For example, if I search “financial advisor in san diego” I receive the following results:

Financial Advisor San Diego Example

Alternatively, if we search “financial advisor in tampa” we receive these results:

financial advisor tampa example

This means any firm can have an LSA in your location as long as they serve your area, they don’t have to actually be there.

3. Advisors must pass a qualification check

Only certain business types are allowed to advertise with LSAs. These businesses must qualify depending on their industry in order to advertise their business and receive the “Google Screened” badge.

Here are the qualification requirements for advisors:

Financial planners LSA qualifications

For more information, check out Google’s Getting started with LSAs and Understand the screening and qualification pages.

Pros and Cons of Local Service Ads

Local Service Ads could be beneficial to some firms, but of course, this will depend on your marketing strategies and budget. Below is a comparison of LSAs to regular ads and organic results.

Pros of Local Service ads

  1. Promotes customer reviewsLSAs come with a personal review link. This could help you request and receive reviews – however, any review requests or communication should be cleared by compliance before use.
  2. Increased Credibility. The qualification requirements of an LSA and the “Google Screened” badge that follows qualification provide extra credibility for your firm.
  3. Immediate results. Like other ads, LSAs provide immediate results. You won’t need to wait for long-term organic results. 

Cons of Local Service ads

  1. Expensive over the long term. LSAs may provide immediate results, but your ad won’t appear without payment. This could become expensive over time, especially when compared to organic results. 
  2. No lead-qualification. LSAs lead to a separate Google page summarizing your services and experience. There is a link to your advisor site, which could prove helpful, but the features of your advisor site are missing. These features help visitors self-qualify, saving time for both you and the visitor. Alternatively, a lead reaching out through an LSA may later decide your firm isn’t the right fit. This would result in a charge to your monthly advertising budget, and possibly waste your team’s time, all things that could be avoided through self-qualification.

How do you set up local service ads?

Like other Google services, it’s relatively easy to set up your Local Service Ads. Start by visiting the LSA homepage and clicking “Get started.”

From here you’ll be presented with the following screen:

Google LSA Eligibility

Make sure you’re logged into the correct Google account for your firm and fill out the information required. Then, simply follow through to each step to complete the process.

Should Financial Advisors Use Local Service Ads?

Local service ads are beneficial for quick results with an added level of qualification. However, LSAs aren’t necessarily going to be your best option for long-term results. Not only will the become expensive, but you could also miss out on other channels.

Organic results will provide the best return but can take time to actually see results. As a new firm, it may be worth it to invest in both strategies for some time. LSAs and other ads could attract initial leads, while organic results from blogging stimulate long-term growth. More established firms, however, may want to focus on organic results by creating content to attract ideal clients.

Of course, whether you take this route will depend on your time, budget and team.

Final Thoughts

Local Service Ads certainly catch the eye, being at the top of a Google search page. Of course, this is one of their advantages, but whether Local Service Ads are right for your firm will depend on your growth and marketing strategies. Make sure to keep this information in mind as you determine the right approach for your firm.

Related: 9 Things Financial Advisors Should Stop Doing On Twitter