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The Ultimate Guide to Google Posts

 

Introduced in 2017, Google Posts allow businesses to post text and photos directly to their Google Business Profile (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business. These posts appear on the local panel and on Maps. If used effectively, Google Posts can increase traffic to your website and boost sales and engagement with your audience. 

 

Enterprise brands such as Dick’s Sporting Goods used Posts to promote special discounts and sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and saw significant ROI two years in a row. Although Posts lost some engagement when Google changed its positioning in the fall of 2019, they remain an effective marketing strategy.

 

Opinions about the effectiveness of Posts differ among SEO experts today, primarily because of a change in the latter part of 2018 that appears to have reduced some of the ranking benefits Posts once offered. In September of 2019, Google moved Posts from the top to the bottom of the Knowledge Panel (now officially called the “Business Profile”), and afterward, we, among others, detected a drop in engagement.

 

However, this drop should be viewed in the proper context. Even after the change, a campaign we ran for a large multi-location retailer saw a click-through rate (CTR) of 1.44 percent, which is significantly higher than the average CTR for Google display ad campaigns.

 

Viewed as a form of advertising, Posts remain very effective. Posts offer one of the best means of engaging a user base that has already seen your Google listing and is seeking distinguishing characteristics to help decide who to do business with.

 

Google Posts: The Basics

 

  • Google Posts are free, requiring only that you manage a Google Business Profile.

 

  • Posts now last longer than seven days after a January 2021 update.

 

  • Each Post, except for COVID-19 updates can have a call-to-action (CTA) button. While Google will show you how many clicks your CTA generated and how many views your Post gathered, we still recommend using UTM parameters to keep track of visits to your website and subsequent actions.

 

 

  • Regardless, Google Posts placement is still very prominent in mobile and remains highly competitive with comparable ad products.

 

Examples of Previous Google Post Placements 

 

 

Current Google Post Placements

 

Desktop Example 

Junzi Kitchen Google Posts Example Laptop Overlay from Google Maps

Mobile Example

 

 

The Benefits of Google Posts

 

1. Google Posts Help You Engage With Your Audience

One of the major benefits of Google Posts is their ability to feature timely, actionable content that can boost engagement with your audience.

 

Google Posts can be used to highlight:

  • Seasonal Offers
  • Same-Day Flash Sales
  • New Product Launches
  • Special Promotions
  • Emergency Updates
  • Open Positions
  • New Arrivals
  • Top Products

 

 

As an example, Junzi Kitchen used Google Posts to promote a contest, which encouraged guests to take a photo of their favorite bowl and upload it to Instagram, tagging the restaurant in the process. Users clicking on the “Learn more” button were directed to Junzi’s Instagram.

 

This campaign worked exceptionally well because Junzi Kitchen was able to gather user-generated content (UGC) from the contest to further promote its business.

 

 

Another example is how Skechers used Google Posts to promote their Black Friday Weekend Sale. They used a graphic, which very clearly lists out the discount while encouraging their customers to spend $100 or more to receive an additional 10 percent off.

 

2.  Google Posts Can Increase Website Traffic

 

Google Posts may also capture your audience’s attention and therefore may lead to increased website traffic and conversions.

 

Although Google Posts were originally displayed more prominently in the Business Profile, they have since dropped to a lower position, decreasing their overall effectiveness. Regardless, their placement on mobile is still very prominent, and the click-through rates from Post campaigns in SOCi’s tests are still averaging an impressive 1.44 percent.

 

What’s more, users who are already searching for your multi-location business or businesses like you are likely to be further down the conversion funnel. They’re therefore more valuable, compared to those hoping to capture clients through traditional ad campaigns.

 

The ability to reach your ideal audience when and where it matters most is extremely beneficial, especially when you can showcase your expertise or pique a user’s interest with a strong CTA.

 

 

Note, for example, this Google Post by Comfort Keepers. A potential client might consider enrolling their loved one in a home care facility or hiring an in-home caregiver. If they were already looking for Comfort Keepers, a Google Post educating them about wintertime illnesses may prompt them to learn more about how Comfort Keepers could help to keep their loved ones safe.

 

One major benefit of Google Posts is that they let you tailor messages to specific customer needs and questions.

 

3. Google Posts May Help With SEO

 

Some studies have shown that Posts have a positive effect on SEO. However, many of these studies were conducted before Google Posts were moved to the bottom of the Business Profile.

 

Even so, posting consistently will help build location authority for your local listing. Google tracks engagement, so having organic clicks on CTA buttons can build up your page ranking and signal to Google that your content is highly relevant to users.

 

At least indirectly, an increase in location authority should lead to better ranking.

 

The Four Different Types of Google Posts

 

There are four different types of Google Posts your multi-location business can create. Before we get into the different types as explained by Google, the image below highlights what creating a Google Post looks like.

 

1. What’s New: “Posts that provide general information about your business. You can include a photo/video, link, CTA button, and other information. For example, a restaurant could make a post to promote a new menu item.

 

2. Event: “Posts that promote an event your business is involved with or supports. Event posts require a title, start/end dates and time, and may include a photo/video, CTA button, and other information. For example, a bookstore may advertise a local author’s book signing or a book club meeting.”

 

3. Offer: “Posts that provide promotional sales or offers from your business. Offer posts require a title and start/end dates and times. A “View offer” CTA button is automatically added to the post. You can also include a photo/video, coupon code, link, and terms and conditions with the post. For example, a pizza parlor may advertise 20 percent off large pizzas for a week.”

 

4. COVID-19: “Posts that provide an update about changes related to COVID-19, which can include, house of operation or temporary closures, changes to how the business operates…updates to how the location manages safety and hygiene, and requests for support.”

 

Note, there used to be a product post type. However, it’s now directly related to the Products feature in your GBP. If you add a product via a Post, then Google will automatically publish it in the Products section.

 

The Requirements for Each Post Type

 

Below is a handy guide to the specific requirements for each Post type, based on our extensive testing and on successful campaigns we’ve run on behalf of clients. Although the description for each post type is different, the recommended creative is the same for all Posts.

 

Recommended creatives for all Post types:

  • Photo (JPG or PNG format) — Ideally a 720 px x 540 px (want a 4:3 aspect ratio) with a minimum size of 480 x 270
  • Will display as 187px x 140px in Business Profile
  • Will display as 365px x 106px in Expanded View
  • Video (AVI, MP4, MOV, FLV, WMV, MPG, M4V, MKV, M2TS, MTS formats), 720p resolution or higher and a maximum of 30 seconds long. 
  • 75 MB Maximum File Size 

 

Post Type: What’s New

 

 

Description

  • What’s New/Update Title (58 character limit – 35 characters is ideal)  
  • What’s New/Update Description  (1,500 character limit – 100 characters is ideal)
  • Start / End Date & Start / End Time
  • CTA  – “Book”, “Order Online”, “Buy”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Get Offer”, “Call Now”
  • CTA click-through URL (UTM parameter can be applied for tracking purposes)
  • List of applicable location(s) – Unique ID / Store ID

 

Post Type: Event 

 

 

Description

  • Event Title (58 character limit; 35 characters is ideal)  
  • Event Description  (1,500 character limit – 100 characters is ideal)
  • Start / End Date & Start / End Time
  • CTA  – “Book”, “Order Online”, “Buy”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Get Offer”, “Call Now”
  • CTA click through URL (UTM parameter can be applied for tracking purposes)
  • List of applicable location(s) – Unique ID / Store ID

 

Post Type: Offer

 

 

Description

  • Offer Title (58 character limit – 35 characters is ideal)  
  • Offer Description  (1,500 character limit – 100 characters is ideal)
  • Start / End Date
  • Option fields: Start / End Time, Coupon Code, Offer Redemption Link,  Terms and Conditions
  • CTA  – “Book”, “Order Online”, “Buy”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Get Offer”, “Call Now”
  • CTA click-through URL (UTM parameter can be applied for tracking purposes)
  • List of applicable location(s) – Unique ID / Store ID

Post Type: COVID-19 

 

screenshot of a COVID-19 Update on Google Posts

 

Description

  • There is often a “COVID-19 updates from business” banner above the post description
  • Post Description  (1,500 character limit – 100 characters is ideal)
  • Update your hours, temporarily closures, and health practices

 

How to Make Google Posts Work for Your Multi-Location Business

Here’s a recap of our recommendations:

  • Have a strong CTA at the end of each Post
  • Use UTM parameters to properly track visits to your website; we recommend Google’s Campaign URL Builder
  • Use high-quality photos when creating a Post; if there aren’t any photos available use stock photo sites like Unsplash or Pexels
  • Consider omnichannel promotions (If you’re a retailer, we recommend “buy online, pick up in store” promotions)
  • The optimal image size is 814px x 610px
  • Create custom landing pages to match post content

 

Now that you understand the importance of incorporating Google Posts into your marketing strategy, do you have the right action plan set in place to manage them efficiently? If you’re finding it challenging to manage Google Posts at scale via API connection, SOCi is here to help. 

 

Consumers are actively searching for your business online. Ensure that reliable information for every location is found with SOCi Listings. SOCi Listings can help increase the accuracy of your listings data and improve local search rankings, resulting in stronger brand awareness and visibility. With SOCi Listings, you won’t have to worry about the information found on your listings, giving you more time to focus on Google Posts.

For more insight into how SOCi can help you crush your Google Post strategy and increase your visibility on Google, request a demo today! 

 

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