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Lunch » Tags » Google » Reviews » Google Boost » User review

Google Boost

A local advertising platform from Google.

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Don't need to bother with Google Boost

  • Apr 26, 2011
Rating:
-5
Boost is one of the latest products from Google that makes me think I should start shorting their stock. Designed as a simple way for small businesses to get into Google Maps advertising without understanding keywords, it's an extraordinary failure that gives business owners yet another online marketing headache.

You might have noticed some of Google's recent bad habits. Try to buy a company (Yelp), copy it when they don't agree (HotPot) and then shut it down. Or try to buy a company (Twitter), copy it poorly (Buzz) and then wonder why nobody uses it. Or try to buy a company (GroupOn), copy it in the very definition of "half ass" (Google Offers) and then comfort investors that at least the search engine business is strong. 

Recently, Google announced the retirement of Google Tags which offered a simple way for owners of Google Maps listings to stand out from their competitors for $25 a month. It was similar to Boost except that it worked so they killed it. In their rush to roll out a replacement, Boost fails at every possible level:
  • The administration page is buggy
  • Ads frequently remain inactive for no apparent reason
  • You get charged randomly and it's hard to correlate clicks to new customers
  • The account management and support is nonexistent.
If you are a small business owner looking to get into advertising, there are a variety of options available to you that are both more effective and less expensive than Google Boost, including: Facebook Ads, Yahoo/Bing ads, Google AdWords, and hiring someone to stand on the street corner with a dancing signboard.

Testimonials

Looking through the Internet for complaints about Google Boost, I think some business owners nailed the problems perfectly:

"I am testing Boost ads and what I find troubling is the amount the boost ad is charging me per click... Google set my clicks at $5.61 this is way to costly for me. Also they way they choose the keywords and then give them a low-quality score"

"The dashboard in our account is broken... After two complaints and 2 robo-responses, it is still not fixed. The salesman knew about this issue when he set up our ad for us. He promised to look into it."

 "After letting it go for a month, we’ve received a bunch of clicks, at a high cost with no perceivable gain in customers. Biggest problem? Not being able to edit the keywords and that is the rub. Google sets the business name as a keyword so when my existing customers type the name of the business into google they see an add pop up with the business name and click on it not aware that it is an ad. This is a really shady way that Google is making money off all the businesses that use boost when the customer should be seeing an organic result for the name search (free). We are NOT happy."

My personal experience

Helping a client of mine set up Boost exposed a variety of interesting problems. The first road bump was that the billing interface continuously rejected any credit card and the Boost account rep's response was "it does that sometimes". After somehow getting through the first trial on the sixth attempt or so, we moved on to keyword selection and ad creation.

The keywords are preselected and you have to place check-marks against the ones you want - you can't add or change the keywords. They're comparatively expensive compared with other systems because they're overly broad. Not good.

Two weeks after setting up the ad, it had zero impressions. Our attempts to reach the account manager ran the gamut of frustrating to annoying to comically bad. Over a dozen voice mails later, it was pretty clear she had no interest in contacting us back. In the meantime, we had initiated over a dozen other campaigns without any issues at all.

Finally, I attempted to reach a manager or supervisor, but on all three attempts was either cut off or transferred to the voicemail of the account rep who didn't care. On the very final try, I reached some kind of manager who said he had no understanding of how the system worked and that he could raise an "escalation ticket". Turnaround time? About 4 to 6 weeks

Having worked in online marketing for quite a while, it's a world first to hear a company take over a month to extract money from your advertising campaign. It's obvious at this point that Google Boost is neither a serious or professional advertising platform for businesses, and it won't surprise me when it gets shut down by Google just like its predecessor.

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April 28, 2011
Wow, that's unbelievable and I like how you mentioned their other attempts at copying other businesses in the intro without any success. Thanks for saving me some time and money from having to give this a try! I'm going to share this on my FB page so that others will learn about it. Oh, and speaking of FB, I think their ad structure is a far better one than Boost appears to be. Great write-up!
April 29, 2011
Go share! It's annoying as someone in SEM to have to deal with this level of ineptitude.
April 29, 2011
Oh, I did and I can imagine it would be frustrating, especially when you're trying to get more bang for your client's buck!
April 29, 2011
Apparently 18,000 people have read this article... so I offer this instrumental to a Britney song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4RhuAraHH0 for SEO benefit. :-)
 
April 27, 2011
interesting article. But, don't laugh, I just heard about this now. :)
 
April 26, 2011
You'd think Google would hire people who have some semblance of a clue when it came to customer support in regards to sales since that's such a huge part of their business! Sounds like another failed Google project.
April 26, 2011
As much as I like many things that Google does, their customer support is *horrifically* bad. This spans all their products from the paid search to the free email. There is too much of an elitist engineering mentality in the company and not enough customer focus. It's almost bizarre how obsessed Larry Page has become with social, seeing as the whole company really hates dealing with human beings.
April 27, 2011
I know quite a few tech people in the Bay Area who work at Google who are cool peoples and are highly qualified for their job, which makes me think that they would have the same requirements for anyone in the company. Google never seemed to be focused on customer support and community though. Youtube doesn't really have much of a community. It's a free for all mess. And if they had bought Yelp, Yelp's existing community likely would've gone kaput too.
April 29, 2011
There is a customer service chasm at Google right now. And it's getting scary - they just announced that Google Apps customers on the free platform are being reduced from 25 down to 10. This makes no difference to their revenue at all but creates the impression of failing. They need a new CEO.
 
April 26, 2011
Google is suffering from a case of Pride comes before a Fall! Yep, certainly a short! :)
April 26, 2011
It's definitely looking that way...
 
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James Beswick ()
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