Google today announced ‘Boost’ a new, simplified self-service ad offering. It’s in beta for the time-being and only available in a few cities in the US, but it could be an interesting step in helping small businesses get started with online advertising.
Google have, for some time now, been encouraging small, local businesses to set up Google Places profiles with various information such as address, opening hours and phone number. Boost makes use of this information to help create relevant ads for the business. The business owner still needs to write the ad copy and specify categories to advertise under, but the tool apparently sometimes provides suggestions and then figures out the mapping to actual keywords and Google maps. The ads are charged on a pay-per-click basis with the business owner setting a maximum budget.
From the screenshots in Google’s blog post, it certainly looks like setting up ads through Boost will be less intimidating for the average user than going the standard Google Adwords interface. I suspect a service like this is still asking too much for most small businesses to attempt, but it’s certainly lowering the bar they need to cross and I’m sure that’ll be enough to encourage some small business owners to give PPC advertising a try when they wouldn’t have done so before.
If Boost helps significantly more local businesses advertise online then it should, in turn, help publishers of local and hyperlocal content generate more ad revenue. Perhaps it’s time for me to have another look at Localmouth…