Google Places Upgrades Dashboard Analytics – Is Google Adding a Reservation System?

Thanks to e-mphasis Internet Marketing for pointing out the increased detail that Google Places is now including in the Dashboard Analytics.

Google is not only providing a breakout of desktop vs. mobile activity but is showing a great deal of additional detail in the mobile environment. Note the inclusion of “Add as Contact” and “Reservation”. Is Google planning a reservation service near term?

They have changed the layout, making QR codes and the event posting option more obvious by moving them to the left upper screen quadrant.

There are more date ranges for summary analysis including the ranges today, yesterday, this month, last month and different starts to the week. The implication of this is that this data will be in near real time, allowing for a much more timely view of the affects of promotions.

Most of the analytics also have an added +Show More Search Queries feature that allows the showing 10 results for each segment rather than 5.

In addition to showing where driving directions were requested from Google is also showing locations used in searches for your business which offers a more granular (if still not complete view) of the geo modifiers used in the search phrase. The map showing locations has added more visual detail as well

The new analytics is a welcome improvement over the old one. There are still things that could improve (why only show 10 keywords? why show keywords separate from geography?). Accuracy is still suspect as in my example Impressions and Actions were highest on the desktop but the numbers for terms used were shown as significantly higher on mobile.

Certainly having the granular mobile information, the apparent real time or near real time information, the more flexible date ranges and dramatically improved maps are significant upgrades. Not only do the changes provide an SMB with better understanding of the actions of her clients, they clearly point out the every increasing role of mobile and make its impact both numerically and visually obvious for all to see.

And just what does the word “Reservation” refer to?

Google Places Search – Before and After Dashboard Analytics Comparison

specific listing changes in actions for those business showing increasesGoogle Places search was released on October 27 with a great deal of fanfare and commentary. It has been available for over a month and the Places Dashboard analytics data can now provide some insight into the impact of the new display.

I have assembled an overview of the impressions and actions based of the Dashboard analytics for 45 listings for the 4 weeks prior to the rollout and the 4 weeks after the rollout.

I recognize that these numbers are, by design, superficial and are on occasion buggy (showing fewer impressions than actions). We also don’t know if the analytics kept up with the main search results page. However in aggregate, they do provide some general insights about the switch. The business listings represent a range of industries, locales and business size so the sample should represent a reasonable cross section of reality.

Change in Aggregate Actions Up 28%
Change in Aggregate Impressions Down 25%
Action Impression Ration
Action/Impression Ratio Before 7.17%
Action/Impression Ratio After 12.26%
Businesses with Increases
Number of Listings with Increased Actions 20
Average % increase in Actions for Businesses

with Increases

Average % increase in Impressions for Businesses

with Increases

Businesses with Decreases
Number of Listings with Decreased Actions 22
Average % decrease in Actions Business

with Decreases

Average % decrease in Impressions for Businesses

with Decreases

Number of Listing with No Change in Actions 3


The number of listings with increases is roughly equal to those with decreased actions although the average increase was significantly higher than the average loss. I have not done a granular enough analysis to fulling understand but it appears that strong (ie better ranking websites) got stronger and the weak lost visibility.

In one particular case, it is obvious that a business in the burbs that was doing well organically but not locally on the major city searches has been rewarded with a blended placement on the major geo phrase. The bears further study but gave me the distinct impression that the geo area that defines a given search has in some cases been expanded and that businesses that were previously outside of that range now have a shot at first page blended placement.

It is interesting that the actions increased while the impressions were down. The average of actions to impressions increased from 7.17% to 12.26%. This would imply that the UI changes with Places search significantly increases Places related actions (directions, website clicks, more info clicks) and is more efficient at leading to actions that Google wants. This makes sense in that previously some local search traffic was “lost” to organic results. These results obviously reflect the new blended reality.

One area that would be of use to explore would be to examine the relative changes in specific behaviors within the Actions and compare that to changes in website traffic overall. It would be interesting to know if Google or the business is capturing more of the activity.

As in many changes, there were winners and losers. But in the end if more people are finding what they want with fewer searches then those businesses that understand the rules, the users AND Google will all benefit.