Google has ended a two-month test of simplified local listings designed to help small businesses target ads to geographic searches. The program, called Local Listing Ads, was offered free during the trial period. The sign-up period is now closed and ads will stop running by the middle of the month.
According to a Google statement, the company is using data from the trial period to improve its small business offerings in general and expects to release an enhanced version soon.
Unlike AdWords ads, Google's experimental local ads did not have a headline or creative copy, showing only company name, contact details, and a link. The ads are meant to be sold for a flat monthly fee rather than per-click.
Here's what they look like:
And here's the full text of Google's statement:
"We are no longer accepting new sign-ups for Local Listing Ads in the Local Business Center, and in mid-December, existing Local Listing Ads will stop running. This limited free trial was one of many beta tests that we develop experimentally as part of our ongoing commitment to help businesses advertise online.
We're currently using data and feedback from the trial period to make further improvements to our online marketing offerings for small businesses, and plan to release an enhanced version more widely in the near future. In the meantime, locally-minded businesses can simply and easily promote their products and services to their local markets by using existing features within our AdWords program, such as geographic targeting and location extensions."
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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