Google tests Branded Local Service Ads with opt-out option


Google is piloting branded Local Service Ads (LSA) called Direct Business Search.

Brands are automatically enrolled into this new ad type by default. From Feb 13, all businesses will be able to disable it by manually adjusting their settings.

Direct Business Search explained. This new ad type allows brands to show up in search results when someone directly searches for a brand or business.

Why we care. While this ad type may offer the chance to display your ad when someone is actively searching for a competitor, allowing you to tap into their customer base, it’s essential to consider the possibility of paying for conversions that you might have naturally obtained anyway. This happens when users click on your ad, even when your organic listing is right below it in the search results, as clicking on the organic listing would not have incurred any cost.

First look. Direct Business Search ads were first flagged by Anthony Higman, CEO of online advertising agency Adsquire, who shared a screenshot on X:

Branded Local Search Ads Google

Reassurance for advertisers. Expressing concern, Higman noted that brands currently lack the option to opt out of Direct Business Search ads. Joy Hawkins, owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA, shared this sentiment, confirming her inability to opt out of this ad type too. However, Google provided assurance that the ability for all brands to opt-out will be available in the near future.

Google also explained to Search Engine Land that when an existing customer clicks on a Direct Business Search ad, the business won’t be charged – only new customer leads are charged.

Opting out. Ben Fisher, Co-Founder/Lead Consultant at Diamond Google Product Expert, explained on X that brands can opt out of Direct Business Search ads by going to settings, and turning off the Direct business search toggle, as demonstrated in the screenshot below:

Direct Business Search

If the option is not currently available, it’s important to note that Direct Business Search ads are still in the early stages, and Google will be making this choice accessible to everyone in the near future.

What Google is saying. Google Ads liaison officer Ginny Marvin said on X:

  • “This is an experiment that will be rolling out shortly. To be clear, the opt-out will be available for everyone. Customers will receive more information on this next week.”

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Deep dive. Read Google’s Direct Business Search guidelines for more information.





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