Network News: Interactive Map Pack, ‘Special’ Products on Google and More

A new year, a new variant, and a war—2022 did not start on the high note we had hoped for. But, this first quarter has been full of many changes and improvements that impact local businesses that we work with closely. Here’s a round-up of all the network news that is of interest to you.


New Google Attributes to Show Support for Ukrainian Refugees

Google is providing a new way for Ukrainian refugees to get connected to the many businesses and organizations offering support. The company is rolling out new Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) attributes for businesses to show what they are doing to support refugees from Ukraine.

Attributes will be rolled out in early April 2022 in the following countries → Poland, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland.


What does it mean for you?

Uberall is supporting new attributes in our platform via API for all types of businesses that have the functionality available on Google. If you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to reach out to your CSM.

Google Map Pack: A Design Change Followed by Map Interactivity

Soon after Google implemented a design change to the map pack in December 2021, February saw another intriguing update. Google rolled out an interactive feature on the displayed map that allows searchers to use the zoom function to scan local areas for additional information on local businesses. Using this feature searchers can hover on the location pin for a business and see its name, rating, and review count pop up on the map. The zoom in and zoom out actions won't, however, change the search results on the feed to the left.

What does it mean for you?

This does not change anything for Uberall clients but as a business owner, the additional information on the map is a great opportunity for driving more foot traffic to your store. With an emphasis on overall review rating, the importance of active review management can’t be underestimated. Also, ensure your location info is audited and your map pin is accurate so that potential customers are not disappointed.

Google now lets you mark products as ‘special’

If you are offering exclusive products and services at your stores, now you can highlight it on your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Google has added a feature to mark a product as ‘special’, which will also be automatically listed right on top of your products for maximum visibility.

What does it mean for you?

You should take advantage of this feature if you are displaying seasonal or local products in the products editor of your Google Business Profile. Offering people a complete view of your product listing is always a great way to drive more foot traffic to your store. If you are an enterprise and interested in managing your local inventory on Google via Uberall, you can reach out to your CSM for more information.

Confirmed by phone call: One more step towards adding trust to local listings

Be by your phone if you are a local business! Google may call to verify you and reward your business profile with a ‘confirmed by phone’ tag! Speculated to be a step towards increasing consumer trust in a business listing, this verification model is still being tested. You cannot reach out to Google yet to request verification. It is completely up to Google’s discretion at the moment.

What does it mean for you?

As a business and an Uberall client, this does not change much for you but it is definitely an indication that Google is putting more value on consumer trust and could imply more such verification processes be implemented in the future. In some cases, Google may be using automated technology to verify this information, for example, a phone call that is prerecorded or automated. This is the only type of call that Google would make to your business so be careful to avoid any spam calls asking for money to access your listing.

New booking and appointment capabilities for healthcare providers

Google is running a pilot in the US market with a select few healthcare providers, including CVS MinuteClinic, to allow users to see appointment availability and book directly through Google Search. Under the ‘appointments’ tab, users can select the appointment type based on the medical attention needed.

What does it mean for you?

If you are a healthcare provider, keep an eye on this new feature. Google’s healthcare initiatives continue to be important to the company as we come out of Covid. So, they will move fast to enable this broadly in the US and globally.


Yelp introduced keyword boosting

Advertising on Yelp becomes more targeted with new keyword capabilities that the platform introduced in February. Now, local advertisers on Yelp can direct their advertising budget towards specific keywords much like Google Ads and Microsoft advertising. They can select keywords to boost or block from Yelp’s recommended keyword list and deliver more tailored campaigns to specific target groups.

What does it mean for you?

If you are a yelp advertiser, this is a unique opportunity to test more specific keyword targeting. If you want to strategize about your local campaigns, you can reach out to your account manager.


Bing launches automobile search feature

If you are in the business of selling second-hand cars, here’s a great opportunity for you. Microsoft Bing has added a special automobile search feature for people to browse used cars and filter out preferences using a search box.

What does it mean for you?

As a business owner, you should take advantage of this by listing your products on Bing maps as well as Bing local to serve up the complete inventory of offerings to interested customers.


More ‘local social time’ on TikTok

After surpassing Google and Facebook in popularity last year, TikTok is fast becoming a lucrative avenue for local social! In the latest update, the platform announced that the maximum time for TikTok videos has been increased to 10 minutes. Since its launch, TikTok has consistently increased the time for its video content to allow more information sharing and better engagement.

What does it mean for you?

Local social is predominantly thought of in the context of Facebook. However, it is time for you to take note of TikTok for engaging your local communities. An increased video length means more time to promote products and also a better viewing experience for consumers as opposed to reels.

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