With every new feature, Google is making it easier for consumers to learn more about businesses without ever leaving the search results page. Gone are the days of consumers going to a business’ website to learn the location and hours of operation. Now, Google provides that information on the search results page (SERP), along with a slew of other information – such as reviews, restaurant menus, crowd-sourced questions and answers, and now, posts from the business itself.
Google Posts is a new frontier for digital marketers, and like any new Marketing tool, it presents an opportunity for marketers to earn a competitive advantage over other businesses that are slow to adopt new technology.
A New Opportunity to Start the Customer Conversation
With Google Posts, businesses can start the conversation with customers on the SERP, turning the search results page into a two-way communication channel between businesses and consumers. Businesses can use Google Posts to share special offers, promotions, or events — and the content will appear on the SERP or in Google Maps.
Google Posts appear in a business’ Knowledge Panel — the box on the side of the SERP that shows information on a business’ location. While the Knowledge Panel only appears when consumers search for a specific business by name, it does help consumers quickly see relevant information about the business.
Part of the appeal of Google Posts is that they empower marketers to engage consumers with content early on in the sales funnel; before they potential customers even click on the business’ website. Before Google Posts, the only way to get content in front of consumers on the SERP was to pay for ads. Consumers won’t see Google Posts from a business unless they’re specifically searching for that business, but the posts could be the difference between a consumer deciding to come into your store or deciding to go somewhere else.
The Opening for Early Adopters
According to a recent study of 2,000 American businesses, 59 percent of businesses have used Google Posts at least once, but only 17 percent had posted within the previous week. Another study showed that only 25 percent of businesses are using Google Posts on a regular basis.
Marketers’ failure to stay up-to-date with Google Posts is somewhat surprising, considering the feature lends itself to immediacy; Google Posts are best used to promote events and special offers. There is a clear opportunity for businesses that are willing to invest time in creating a regular content schedule for Google Posts.
A Win for Google, and Marketers Alike
Through features like the Knowledge Panel and Google Posts, Google is making a concerted effort to control more of the online ecosystem. Google is now providing users with more information earlier on in their search, so users never have to click away from Google to find the information they’re searching for. This is a win for Google because it keeps consumers on the search results page, but it’s also a win for marketers, who are able to easily reach consumers early in the consumer journey.
While there is no tried and true Marketing strategy for deploying Google Posts on a consistent basis, the fact that the feature is free and underutilized means businesses should at least be experimenting. In a highly-visible, customer-facing environment like the Google search results page, it’s worth the effort to make a strong first impression.