When someone asks us what we do, a lot of the time we will simply answer “We manage a company’s Google assets”.

The reason why we answer this way is that Google accounts for roughly 83% of all search activity on the internet.  When a search engine has that kind of monopoly – and when it comes to local maps, pay per click, or just plain old search engine optimization “SEO” – the other search engines (the ones that aren’t as dominant as Google) don’t really matter that much.

To put this form of thinking into a question – if you were going to put an effort into doing better on a search engine – where would you start?  If you answered “Google” then you’re getting it.  Start by managing your Google assets, then and only after then, focus on everything else.

Ok, so now where “Google Assets” can involve Website Optimization (aka “SEO Services”) and Pay Per Click Management (aka “Google Adwords” “PPC”, or “SEM”) we want to specifically address the benefit, or one method of calculating ROI for “Google Maps”.

First off, “Google Maps” is an old term for what Google now calls this section of Google’s search results as “Google +” or “Google Plus”.    Before that it was called “Google Places” – and somewhere in between it was called “Google My Business”. Confused?  You should be, Google has made hundreds of changes, small and large, to what we will refer to in this post as “Google Maps”.

As you are probably aware – a lot of our customers get a lot of phone calls and/or “walk-in” visits from their Google Maps search activity.    Google Maps is the area on a search page when Google chooses to show a map, with map pins, and 1-7 local businesses in the “pack” section of a local “SERP” (Search Engine Results Page).  Due to the success of Google Maps in providing phone calls, leads, and ultimately SALES to companies – these same companies have learned that it is now a priority to be on the first page “7-pack” or “3-pack” of Google’s local SERP’s.  Optimizing a companies Google Maps listing, website, and web data has been a specialty of PICS since 2008.  We were one of the first SEO firms in the country (USA and Canada) to understand the power of Google Maps.

Over the years, a common question we get asked repeatedly is – is “how do you measure the ROI (Return on Investment) from a Google Maps listing?”

To do this best, we will use an example of a company we will call “Company A”.

Below are “Company A’s” statistics taken from inside their Google Maps dashboard:

All-time Total Search views: 24,323
Search views (last 90 days)    3,863
Profiles Views (90 days)         432
Clicks to Website                  179
Clicks for Directions               39
Clicks for Phone calls             171

In the last 90 days, this company’s Google (local) maps listing had 3,863 Search Views, 432 “profile views”, and 179 “clicks for phone calls”.  Ignoring “total search views” and using a Google Adwords “Pay Per Click” average of $0.50 per click cost for “profile views”, and $1.00 per click for clicks “Clicks to Website” and “Clicks for Phone Calls” – the visibility “Company A” received in the last 90 days is comparably (vs. PPC) worth approximately $566 (432 x $0.50; plus 179+171).  Over 90 days the monthly value is worth approximately $189 per month in comparable PPC traffic.   Again, these figures are derived from comparing traffic – if Company A was forced to purchase similar traffic on Google Adwords (aka “Pay Per Click” or “PPC”).  Additionally in this example – and in addition to PPC click costs – our customers experience costs from PICS of roughly $100 per month.

Using the comparison of click value (compared to PPC) of the Google Maps clicks – a monthly estimated additional traffic benefit of $89 per month is calculated.  If you roughly calculate the “net monthly ROI” the resulting figure would be considered very attractive.

ROI = (Gains – Cost)/Cost

Then ($189/month divided by $100/cost) then divided by $100 = .89

Keep in mind – to calculate it this way – you have to agree to our estimated value of the traffic.  In our experience, the best way to estimate the value of the traffic is to compare what similar traffic is paid for within the competitive market of the Google Adwords (Pay Per Click) system.

Drilling even deeper into the importance of Google Maps “asset management” – did you know that a 1-3 position on Google Adwords in a competitive industry, can often be worth $2 to $3 or more per click?  We’ve even seen PPC “per click” costs of $10 or more per click!  It goes without saying, the benefit from additional Google Maps traffic (vs. paying for traffic on PPC) can be even more dramatic than shown in the above example.

Additionally, our experience shows that more phone calls and walk-ins increase when our customers increase the effectiveness of their Google Maps listing by asking happy customers for “Google Reviews”.  Our customers also help the effort when they make our recommended adjustments to their website, or to 3rd party websites which would compliment our optimization effort.

This is just one example of a method to calculate the ROI or benefit for “Google Maps”.  If you agree with the example above, then you probably also consider the management of your “Google Assets” a top priority.