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Study: How GMB Impacts 65,000 Locations, 100 Brands, 17 Industries

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Try searching for “shoe store” or “local gallery” online – with so many options that could pop up, business owners need to be sure that their stores and offices are as close to the top of the search results page as possible. Search boss Google knows this, and the company created a dedicated tool for businesses to use to achieve this outcome: Google My Business (GMB).

GMB garnered great momentum in 2017 single location owners to multi-location enterprises dedicated time and resources to establish search dominance. As we near the end of the year and look to 2018, we outlined the top insights from 2017 marketers should know. The following analyses is brought to you by Brandify.

Scope of Study

Brandify examined 17 industry verticals to get a clear picture of how brands are using GMB, what they’re using it for, and what results they’re getting:

Automotive Restaurants Energy Finance
Convenience Stores Cosmetics Home Improvement Home Services
Health (Gyms) Healthcare Parking
Insurance Movers Truck Stops
Retail Storage Real estate

 

Across 100 brands from these industries, the study inspected more than 65,000 locations and 6 billion total searches between January and November 2017. All 65,000 GMB listings were claimed by Brandify.

More About Google My Business (GMB)

GMB is an online tool that businesses can use to create a special Google-specific profile or listing (more on that later) to help consumers find them.

There’s one critical reason why every business absolutely must take advantage of GMB: it’s FREE. Beyond that, one of the most important things that GMB enables businesses to do is place store information, such as the store name, address, phone number, and hours, in an easy-to-access search result. GMB provides further value by aggregating the data about what searches led consumers to your business, such as if they used the direct phone number link to call you.

GMB is also essential for helping people nearby to find your business. Whether a customer is searching for a product or service that you offer, for the type of business that you are, or for your business specifically (even by name), they will be shown local results in Google Maps and Search.

Search

Search is a primary tool for consumers who are demanding quick access to information: they want exactly what they’re looking for, immediately, even if they are not looking for a specific company name. Brandify’s analysis of search on GMB exposed a secret about search: the kind of search that consumers are using.

There are two types of search: direct search, where a customer finds a listing by searching for the business name or address, and discovery search, where a customer finds a listing by searching for a keyword such as a business category or a type of product or service. Brandify found that for the 100 brands from this study, almost 88% of searches were discovery search.

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Among the 6 billion searches analyzed, 5.1 billion of them were discovery searches or searches by keyword, while only a little over half a billion were direct searches, where the consumer typed in a specific brand name or address. Keyword searches give brands far more potential exposure in search than branded searches, though they also create more competition, since many brands may show up in a search for the same keyword.

Across all 17 verticals, there was one industry that saw the vast majority of direct searches: Retail. For retail brands, this is a great sign, since it indicates that consumers are likely to search for your business by name, greatly reducing the chances that you’ll lose business to a competitor. But it means that GMB accuracy is even more important. Customers who search for you by name and find a listing with the wrong address will be unable to visit your store, and it’s at that point that you stand a strong chance of losing them to the competition.

Top 5 industries direct searches by search volume
Top 5 industries direct searches by search volume

Listing Views

GMB offers insights into the performance of your business listings. The tool shows how many people found your business, in what time frame, and in what way they found it, such as from Maps or on Search. The data can also show what customers did after they viewed your business.

Google helpfully provides specific things you can do to help get more views. If your business is not showing up in local results or if it’s showing up too far down in the search results, it likely means one of three things:

  1. Your business data is wrong or incomplete.
  2. Your business location hasn’t been verified.
  3. You haven’t engaged with consumers by posting photos or responding to reviews.

When Brandify explored the industry verticals that were obtaining the most views, restaurants stood out. They accumulated almost 150 million listing views per thousand locations from January through November 2017, far ahead of retail brands, real estate, convenience stores, and convenience stores.

Top 5 Industry Listings View by View volume
Top 5 Industry Listings View by View volume

Letting Users Take Action

Business owners should actively manage their GMB listings to optimize their online presence. The most important action is the first step: claiming your listings. Claiming your listings lets you control their content from the GMB dashboard or by means of the GMB API.

Once claimed, you can ensure listings are populated with accurate phone, address, and business website data, and you can begin to track customer actions such as clicks for directions, clicks to call, and clicks to your website from your Google listing.

Across all industries, there is an undeniable correlation (0.98) between views via Google Search and calls to the location, and views via Google Search and website visits (0.97).  What does this mean? A 0.98 correlation between listing views on google organic and calls means there that if your business is viewed on a Google search result, there is a very high chance you will get a call. This shows again how important accuracy is: a GMB listing must contain the correct phone number and website/local page.

Before a user makes the decision to make a trip to a store location, they will often try to reach the business online. Claiming and owning GMB listings puts the control and flow of information into the hands of the business.

Brandify also found that there is a high correlation between a Direct Search and a user requesting directions (0.99). This means that users searching for a business by the company name or address are already aware of the brand and are almost always looking to connect instantly, and in person.

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Other actions are permitted facilitated by including links to more specific things such as viewing menus, booking appointments, or placing orders. These options offer users a fundamental progression, allowing them to effortlessly continue along a path to purchase.

Conclusion – Key Findings

What does this data boil down to? What should you take into consideration as 2018 planning forms? Here are the top three findings to take into account:

  1. Keyword strategy: Businesses trying to dominate search will need to establish a strategy focused on discovery search, especially if you are not in retail. Strategizing around keyword discovery will be a great checklist item to add to your 2018 planning.
  2. Listings accuracy: The lowest hanging fruit might just be this. When branded searches occur they have a very high intention to get to your location. Be ready by ensuring name, address, and phone accuracy. Given the various platforms now available to brand marketers for NAP accuracy, reaching 100% accuracy should be attainable, manageable, and demanded.
  3. Approach GMB with your business vertical in mind: In 2017 you did everything you were ‘supposed’ to have done (we hope), how then, do you continue to optimize your listings? Focus on actions the users you care about are making (or not). Don’t wait to find a published study, you can analyze your own analytics directly from your dashboard!

Want more on GMB? Request Brandify’s GMB Webinar Recap to get insights on all 17 industries and a 2018 guide!

One Response to “Study: How GMB Impacts 65,000 Locations, 100 Brands, 17 Industries”

  1. Maurice Smit says:

    Great post Mireya.

    It is totally clear that Google is taking the content of your website, more and more as a ranking factor to your GMB listing. The keyword strategy should be done there and not as spam in your GMB name.

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