Google updates

Word on the digital streets is that the big G is trying something different with their local ad offerings.

They’ve quietly launched a program called Direct Business Discovery that automatically includes companies, hoping more clicks will come their way.

This new approach allows businesses to surface when customers search directly for their name or brand.

While increased visibility could lead interested eyes their direction, marketers must mind their margins.

There’s a risk of spending on stops that may have happened naturally down the organic results.

One click that wouldn’t have cost anything below could now dent the budget above.

First wind of the changes came from Anthony Higman, CEO of a digital agency called Adsquire.

He snapped a pic of the changes and shared online.

Concern grew that advertisers lacked power to opt their brand out initially.

Local search experts Joy Hawkins and Sterling Sky also found themselves enrolled without a way to withdraw.

But Google soon ensured the ability to remove participation would arrive soon for all.

Google also clarified to the search nerds over at Search Engine Land that existing customers clicking the new ads won’t be billed – only fresh faces are charges.

For now, Ben Fisher from Diamond Google explained those wanting to withdraw can visit settings and flip the “Direct business search” switch off.

Though the option isn’t live for all just yet, Google says it will be available to everyone shortly as they expand the experiment.

When asked, Google Ads rep Ginny Marvin said more intel would come next week.

Between the lines, it seemed this was a test just getting started.

The message was clear – opting out would without doubt be possible for any wanting to play or pass on the new program.

Only time will tell if this direct discovery drives business for brands or just adds expense without real return.

Marketers remain watchful as the search scene continues shifting beneath their feet.