AdWords is testing a pretty unique style of local inventory ads. While normally local inventory ads highlight inventory available at the same store as the listed advertiser, these new ads are highlighting inventory at third party stores that are not directly connected to the advertiser, other than they happen to sell the products.
For example, a search for “Intel” prompted a usual site links version of the Intel.com AdWords ad. But what is notable is the addition of an additional bordered area beneath the ad that shows “Available at Walmart in <Location>”
When you click on the “Available at” link however, you don’t go to the Walmart website, as one might expect. Instead, searchers are shown the mobile Google knowledge panel for that particular location of Walmart.
What is also interesting is that Walmart is also a paying advertiser, although their ad appears below the initial Intel one.
This only shows up for mobile searches, so it is definitely a way that Google could be driving customer clicks to a local store, especially when they might not have a store or location nearby.
Google does have a local inventory AdWords option for advertisers, however this is for inventory actually managed by the advertiser, and not promoting a third party’s knowledge panel.
This does raise some questions though. How does Google know it is available at that particular store and location? Is it somehow related to the fact Google is a Product Listing Ads advertiser, so they have this data? Is Intel supplying this data to AdWords? And most importantly, how could this affect Intel’s CTR on their own ad? Could they be losing clicks – and AdWords losing revenue – because of this “available at” option directly below the ad?
It is hard to say how well this would do in testing. I suspect for some products it might work well, but for others not so much. It could also capture some impulse traffic of “oh look, they sell this at <store>, lets drive over there to see it.”
This does seem to be a limited test, as I couldn’t find it for any other ads, and it didn’t show on all seaches either. Is this something Intel opted in for testing? Did Walmart opt in? Or is this a completely independent AdWords test? And does anyone pay for a click that leads to a local knowledge panel, since it can’t be verified as a click through to a site can?
If you think your company could benefit from this type of ad, try reaching out to your AdWords rep about access.
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