Local Campaigns vs. Local Service Ads for Small Businesses


The local search engine results pages (SERPs) are the mountain ranges the SEO community spends a significant amount of time and energy climbing — sometimes to the detriment of the rest of their SEO campaign. The reason is, local SEO services play such an important role in ranking on SERPs. Because local is where customers are. 

Local campaigns are great for small businesses, but what about local service ads? Which one should you run? Keep reading to find out.

What are local campaigns?

Local Campaigns vs. Local Service Ads

Source: Local Campaigns

Local campaigns are Google Ads that display when a user searches for your product or service within the vicinity of your business.

They are created in the Google Ads interface, and you have complete control over their targeting, ad copy, and budget. A pay-per-lead model appears at the top of Google Search and Maps results. Local Service Ads are available in select markets and for chosen businesses.

Local campaigns are typically for businesses that offer products or services that customers buy in person at their location. These can be companies with a storefront (such as restaurants), local service providers like plumbers or electricians, or businesses like hotels or car dealerships that provide a local service.

To encourage customers to come in for an in-store visit, you can include special offers or coupons in your ads. This type of ad is easy to set up, requiring only a little information about your business and some photos of the location, products, or services you’re promoting.

What are local service ads?

Local Service AdsSource: Local Service Ads

Local Service Ads, or LSAs, are a new advertising format for businesses that provide services in-person to local customers. Initially launched on Google for plumbers and locksmiths, LSAs have since expanded to include dozens of home service businesses, including electricians, pool cleaners, painters, roofers, and more.

The main benefit of Local Service Ads is that they allow potential customers to contact you directly without visiting your website first. This bypasses the typical steps involved in finding a website and calling the phone number listed there.

LSAs appear at the top of search results on Google when a user searches for a specific service. For example, if someone searches for “plumbers near me,” they will see ads at the top of their search results with the names and ratings of local plumbers.

Unlike traditional paid search ads, LSAs are not based on keywords but rather what Google calls an “intent signal” — a user’s expressed intent to find a local service provider. In other words, these are ads designed for consumers who are ready to engage with businesses offering the services they need.

What is the difference between local campaigns and local service ads?

As a small business owner, you’re busy and want to get results. But you might not have the time or resources to manage every aspect of your online presence. And while you may know that marketing online is crucial, the digital marketing landscape can be confusing.

That’s why Google Ads offers two ways to promote your business online: Local campaigns and Local Service ads. Learn about the differences between these options, as well as how to choose the proper format for your business.

If you own a home services business, like a dry cleaner or an electrician, then Local Service ads are for you.

If you run a local business with multiple locations, like a restaurant chain or a national retailer, then Local campaigns would be more helpful for reaching customers near your different store locations.

Local campaigns vs local service ads

There are some crucial differences between local campaigns and local service ads.

Local campaigns

  •       Offer a broader range of advertising options
  •       Ad formats include search, map, image, video, and display ads
  •       Keywords and bidding are controlled by the business using Google Ads (formerly AdWords)
  •       Companies can create their landing pages or send traffic to the website of their choosing

Local service ads (LSA)

  •       Only offer search ads in one industry: home services
  •       Google controls keywords and bidding to maximize conversions
  •       Businesses can send traffic directly to their website but not to a specific landing page

How are local campaigns and local service ads effective for small businesses?

Service Ads for Small Businesses

Source: Google Ads

If you run a small business, you know it can be hard to get noticed online — especially if you’re competing with other companies in your area. Google wants to change that.

To help small businesses succeed online, Google recently launched Local Service Ads (LSAs), which are meant to complement — not replace — local campaigns. The hope is that these two avenues will help take the guesswork out of advertising for small business owners, giving them more control over their ad spend and making sure they get the most out of every marketing dollar.

Local campaigns are targeted by location, but they don’t include an opt-in service guarantee or a lead management tool like LSAs do.

LSAs are targeted by zip code and service category, making them a good fit for businesses offering at-home services like plumbing or cleaning. These ads also include an opt-in service guarantee that lets customers know you’ve been pre-screened and vetted by Google.

They also connect to our lead management tool that makes it easy for you to manage customer inquiries. If a customer is interested in your business, you’ll get a notification from the app or email with their contact information so you can get in touch with them.

Want the best of both worlds? You can use both Local campaigns and LSAs to advertise your business on Google Search and Maps, as well as YouTube, Gmail, and more.

The most cost-efficient way to spend your advertising dollars is to target local users. Local service ads and local campaigns are the two most effective ad strategies for small businesses.


A local campaign and a local service ad are Google Ads products that target customers in a specific geographic location. Both are effective for small businesses. Local campaigns will help you promote your business to people in your area. Customers can easily see your business and contact you directly from Google with local service ads.

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