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Google unveiled a series of ad options to help local stores of all sizes take advantage of the holiday shopping season and beyond.

Director of product management for local ads Cedric Dupont said in a blog post that search interest in local shops reached a record high in 2018, and Google is seeing 350 times more interest in “local” and “near me” than it did 10 years ago.

New options were added for local campaigns, which are intended to help businesses with brick-and-mortar locations drive more visits to those stores, restaurants, auto dealerships, etc., and promote their businesses via Google Maps, and for shopping campaigns, through which retailers can promote their ecommerce and local product inventories across websites and stores.

Dupont wrote, “Retailers should use local campaigns to maximize store traffic and combine them with shopping campaigns, which help you increase omnichannel reach and sales.”

Google local campaigns are being made available to smaller businesses by allowing those businesses to optimize for local actions, such as calls and directions, without having store visits reporting.

Dupont also said that in the coming weeks, local businesses will be able to feature their locations on pins in Google Maps.

He added that people tap on location pins in Google Maps hundreds of millions of times per week, saying, “In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to feature your locations as users get directions to a destination. In just a few taps, they can add you as a convenient stop along their route to grab lunch, stop in for shopping and more.”

Locations can also be promoted via the Google Display Network, enabling shoppers to see curated selections of products carried by individual stores in a catalog-like experience across more than 3 million websites and applications.

On the shopping campaigns side, Dupont said Google recently extended its local inventory ads to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, giving it a total of over 2 billon offers mapped to physical stores in 12 countries.

He added that 45 percent of global shoppers have bought items online and picked them up from local stores, so Google is expanding its store pickup capabilities.

The two options are: pick up today, which shows shoppers products that are available for immediate pickup in stores and gives them the option of paying online first; and pick up later, which promotes products that may not be currently available at the local location but can be shipped there within a few days.

Google

In the coming weeks, retailers will be able to choose shopping campaigns and include store visits as a conversion goal, alongside online sales. Dupont said store visits bidding can be added to standard or smart shopping campaigns, and it is fully available for search campaigns, as well.

He wrote, “Whether you’re a small business or a major retail chain, holiday shoppers will be looking for nearby stores with the most compelling offers and products. We look forward to helping you capture the local holiday spirit to drive success during the biggest shopping season of the year.”

David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.