How Brands can Combat the Drop in Facebook Organic Reach

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put out a statement that caused quite a bit of concern among businesses hoping to use his platform to reach consumers. Zuckerberg updated the mandate of Facebook’s product team to focus less on helping users find relevant content and more on providing meaningful social interactions.

Translation: Facebook users will see less content from businesses and publishers, and more posts from friends and family.

“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook Post. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

It’s a continuation of a years-long trend of declining reach and engagement for organic posts from business pages. Way back in 2014, Social@Ogilvy highlighted this drop by analyzing more than 100 brand pages on Facebook. The company offered a dire prediction for Facebook page owners.

Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time. In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more. By February 2014, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October.

The average organic reach of content published on brand Facebook pages

Average organic reach of content published on brand Facebook pages

Facebook hasn’t exactly been hiding the fact that organic reach has been dropping since then either.

“As we make these updates, pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, said in a blog post. “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

What business pages can do about the decline in Facebook organic reach

In 2018, almost 170 million people in the United States will use Facebook, according to eMarketer. Publishers, brands and local businesses are all trying to figure out how to reach the massive number of consumers who visit Facebook every day.

But, with the updated mandate for Facebook’s product teams, the algorithm that decides which posts users see on Facebook has changed which means businesses need to modify their strategy to reach consumers.

Screenshots from an internal Facebook webinar in January help shed some light on the updates. The screenshot below shows the interactions Facebook deems meaningful with the most important actions highlighted in blue .

Meaningful Interactions for Facebook Posts

Using this slide and other clues Facebook has dropped on their blog and in public statements, we’ve pieced together a few tips to help you learn what your business needs to do to reach consumers on the most popular social platform in the country.

No. 1: Understand your audience

Facebook has said it’s now prioritizing “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions.” To create these types of posts, gain a better understanding of what types of content your Facebook followers want to see.

Review your Facebook Page’s history and find the posts that have performed best. Start by asking:

  • What topics did the post cover?
  • How have promotional posts for your products and services performed?
  • What types of conversation did the post spark?
No. 2: Focus on quality over quantity

If your brand is posting a lot without racking up much activity, try spending your time developing high-quality posts that are more likely to engage your audience, even if it means a drop in frequency. Keep the posts short and to the point, a sentence or two should be enough.

Also, don’t risk your brand’s reputation with clickbait (i.e., engagement bait). Clickbait is that content you see online exploiting users’ curiosity gap by providing just enough information to make users click a link without revealing too much about the substance of the article.

Clickbait posts usually follow a simple formula:

[a surprising act] + [generic teaser like “you won’t believe what happened next”] + [attention-grabbing photo]

Clickbait example

Facebook explicitly warned against this type of behavior in their internal webinar saying engagement bait is not a meaningful interaction and can result in the demotion of page posts.

No. 3: Use plenty of images and videos

A great way to authentically grab users’ attention is with engaging, relevant visuals that make them stop scrolling for a second and check out the rest of the post. Try using high-quality images and videos to attract users and inspire them to engage with each post. Facebook Live videos can be especially effective.

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos,” according to Mosseri.

No. 4: Encourage your audience to engage

An important ingredient to any successful marketing effort is an effective call-to-action. Make sure your Facebook posts follow this recipe by encouraging your followers to share your content, let you know what they think in the comments and like your page.

Other ways to encourage engagement include adding polls to get your followers’ opinions on a topic or test their knowledge, or creating event invites to foster a community environment on your page.

No. 5: Encourage your followers to adjust their defaults

This one might be tougher to accomplish, but you can also try to encourage followers to change the default setting for your page so they always see your latest content.

The easiest way to do this is:Change Facebook News Feed default settings

  1. Go to the business page
  2. Hit the Following button
  3. Under IN YOUR NEWS FEED change the setting from Default to See First

To have them receive notifications when you post:Change Facebook News Feed notification settings

  1. Select “Edit Notifications Settings”
  2. Select either the “Standard” or “Highlights” options


How to use paid ads to reach Facebook audiences

Even if you improve your organic posts, it may not be enough to overcome Facebook’s non-page friendly algorithms, especially if your follower base is still relatively low. In this case, it may be time to turn to paid ads on Facebook.

No. 1: Boost posts

If you regularly publish content on your Facebook page, you may have noticed a blue “Boost Post” button after publishing. This is basically a shortcut to create a Facebook ad based on the post. Boosted posts allow you to reach people who might be interested in your content but don’t follow your page.

Features of Boosted Posts:

  • Audience targeting: choose who sees your post based on location, interests and other targeting tactics.
  • Placement selection: choose where to serve your post between Desktop NewsFeed, Mobile NewsFeed and Instagram (for Boosted Posts that use video, you can also select the Audience Network).
  • Budget customization: select the budget that fits your needs (minimum spend is just $1 a day).
  • Scheduling: decide when and for how long to run your Boosted Post.
  • Reporting access: view the performance of each Boosted Post in the Promotions tab.
No. 2: Create visually impactful ads

Similar to our No. 3 tip in the organic section, make sure your ad creative captures your audiences’ attention. Here are a few visually-engaging ad options from Facebook:

Video ads

Capture users’ attention and get them to stop scrolling with in-feed video ads. Short videos (15 seconds or less) can help remind people of your brand and introduce new products.

Carousel ads

Showcase up to 10 images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link. The additional creative space allows you to:

  • Highlight different products.
  • Showcase specific details about a product, service or promotion.
  • Tell a story about your brand that develops across each carousel card.
Slideshow ads

Deliver a video experience without the time and expense. Facebook slideshow ads are video-like ads that use motion, sound and text to tell your story beautifully across devices and on every connection speed.

No. 3: Retarget site visitors on Facebook

By placing a Facebook pixel on your website, you can start targeting site visitors as they browse Facebook. That way, when someone visits your site and browses your product and services then leaves without converting, you can keep your brand top of mind. Facebook’s dynamic ad format can even help you show website visitors the products they viewed on your website – or related ones.

No. 4: Experiment with other social platforms

Thinking outside the box of this guide, your brand may also find success in reaching social audiences on other platforms. While Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, other platforms like Twitter, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest all have large user bases with different types of consumers to match your brand’s target audiences.

Audience type by social media platform

Contact us to learn how Mindstream Media Group can amplify your brand’s presence on Facebook.

[MAY 2018] Google Local Search News: The Latest Updates to Google My Business and Maps

Recently, Google released a few details about new features for Google My Business (GMB) and Google Maps users. Although not all of these new features are available yet, each of these updates could be huge for local businesses and consumers.

  • The GMB dashboard is now allowing more types of service businesses (e.g., plumbers and florists) to add service menus to local listings.
  • Businesses can now add offers and videos to Google Posts.
  • Google Maps is now using landmarks to give directions and suggesting destinations based on your preferences.

Services menus on the GMB dashboard

Google has allowed restaurants to include menus on listings for a few years now. However, last month Google announced it will be expanding its menu options to include service businesses. This means salons, home security companies and other businesses offering a range of services can now display them on their GMB listing along with pricing.

Here’s the full announcement from Allyson Wright, the Community Manager of Google My Business:

Back in January we launched a new Menu editor for the food service industry. This month, we are excited to announce that we have expanded our menu editor to now include additional services.

Businesses in health & beauty, and service businesses, such as plumbers and florists, now have the ability to add their menu of services directly to their listing through their Google My Business account.

Same as the food establishment menu editor, this feature will only be available if the listing is not currently connected to a third-party provider and for listings in English speaking locales.

It’s important to note this feature is currently only visible on mobile searches. But the move means it’s easier than ever for more local businesses to showcase their services and help customers find what they need.

Video and offers on Google Posts

When Google introduced Posts in the summer of 2017, the main objective was to highlight events or selling opportunities with an attention-grabbing photo on Google Search and Maps. For almost a year after that introduction, images were the only visual component users could add to Posts.

That all changed a few weeks ago when Google started allowing businesses to upload videos to Posts in the following formats: AVI, MP4, MOV, FLV, WMV, MPG, M4V, MKV, M2TS and MTS with a maximum size of 100 MB. A Google spokesperson confirmed the move to Search Engine Land earlier this month after Andy Simpson posted a screenshot of the new feature on Twitter.

Videos aren’t the only new feature to come to Posts, Google also added the ability to promote offers. The offers option looks similar to an event, but businesses can now add a coupon code to the post, allowing easy access for potential customers.

Here’s an example of an offer on a Post from Google’s help center:

Google My Business Help-Offers on Posts

Landmarks and more personalization on Google Maps

Multiple users have reported Google Maps is now using landmarks, like fast food restaurants or other familiar places, to aid in driving directions.

According to CNET, “Twitter users have been reporting that after a recent app update, Google Maps is no longer just using standard directions (like turn left, right, make a U-turn). It’s now using landmarks and other points of interest to help make finding your turns just a little easier.

Although not completely rolled out, this new feature is already being hailed as a helpful update. Instead of slowing down at each intersection to see where to “turn right on Maple Street,” Maps will tell you to “turn right after the McDonalds.” This feature will make it much easier to find where to turn and hopefully remedy a lot of rerouting.

This update could be related to another recent Google Maps update :

In the coming months, Google Maps will become more assistive and personal with new features that help you figure out what to eat, drink and do – no matter what part of the world you’re in. So, say goodbye to endless scrolling through lists of recommended restaurants or group texts with friends that never end in a decision on where to go. The next time you’re exploring somewhere new, getting together with friends, or hosting out-of-towners in your own city, you can use Google Maps to make quick decisions and find the best spots.

As we reported a few weeks ago, a re-designed Explore tab will show users new and interesting dining, event and activity options based on the area they’re looking at. It will also help users “find new restaurants based on information from local experts, Google’s algorithms and trusted publishers like The Infatuation and others.”

Google Maps Explore TabImage source: Google

Want more Google local search news? See our August 2019 article, New Features From Google My Business, and subscribe to the Mindstream Media Group blog to get updates delivered straight to your inbox.

10 Digital Marketing Strategies for Franchise Brands

The franchise business model has a lot of advantages for brands and franchisees alike. Franchise brands get to grow their business and increase their footprint faster by relying on investments from individual owners to open new locations. And, franchise owners get many of the perks of owning their own business with the added advantage of being able to leverage the awareness and resources of an established brand.

But, the franchise model can make executing effective digital marketing campaigns at the local level a challenge. Unlike more centralized models, brand marketers don’t always have strict control over local marketing efforts which can lead to campaigns that don’t align with the brand’s overall business goals or style guidelines.

After helping scores of franchise and multi-location brands implement successful local marketing campaigns here at Mindstream Media Group, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. But before I dive into specific digital marketing campaigns, there are a few things that need to happen to align brand marketers and their franchisees.

  • Brands need to establish clear business goals to guide marketing efforts and communicate them throughout the organization.
  • Brands need to provide franchisees the resources they need to succeed (co-op dollars, a National Ad Fund, ad creative, training, ongoing support, agency relationships, etc.).
  • Franchisees need to commit to investing the time and money necessary to implement brand-compliant campaigns at the local level.

Once these critical steps are taken care of, franchise brands can move on to actually implementing campaigns. Below, I’ve outlined 10 digital marketing initiatives I think are the most important for franchise brands. I’ve divided these efforts up by Owned, Paid and Earned Media types.

Owned Media Definition

When it comes to Owned Media, location-specific assets are crucial for franchise brands. When given the choice, consumers are far more likely to engage with local assets (e.g., location pages, local listings, social profiles, etc.) than brand assets.

Consumers prefer local assets over brand pages-v2Here are some of the most important Owned Media assets for franchise brands.

No. 1: Local business listings

Franchise brands need to implement a robust program to manage local business data for franchisees across major data aggregators (e.g., Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup), search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo!), social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp) and online directories (e.g.,, Superpages, CityGrid).

Related – Best Way for Multi-location Brands to Manage Local Data

It’s especially important to maintain updated information on search engines, as most consumers turn to search when looking for local businesses. But, incorrect information anywhere in the local ecosystem can wreak havoc so it’s important for franchise brands to manage location data across a wide range of sites.

Percent of U.S. consumers who have used the following sources to find local businesses in the past week

Percent of US consumers who have used the following sources to find local businesses in the past week

No. 2: Optimized location pages

Each franchise should have a specific landing page with unique, location-specific content. These pages improve local SEO efforts and the consumer experience by providing a more relevant experience than sending searchers to generic store locator pages that require them to conduct another search.

It’s important that the business information on these pages matches the corresponding listings. To make sure it does, franchise brands should find a local SEO agency that is able to manage both local listings and location pages.

No. 3: Content Marketing efforts

Blogging and other Content Marketing initiatives are very difficult to implement at the franchise level. But, the corporate marketing team should still provide regular blog content to both educate franchisees and inform local consumers. There are a variety of tools available that allow franchisees to promote this content on their individual social media pages.

No. 4: Maintaining an active social media presence

U.S. social network users

U.S. social network users

Most listings management solutions also populate and optimize location-specific profiles on key social media platforms. Once the local profiles are set up, it’s important to post on a regular basis. Brand marketers can support this effort using the Content Marketing initiatives mentioned above, with franchisees supplementing that content with locally-focused posts. (For brands concerned with rogue content getting pushed out by franchisees, there are a number of tools available to require approval for local posts.)

Paid Media definition

For franchise brands, paid media campaigns work best when they’re set to geo-target consumers in specific areas. Whether managed at the corporate level or by individual franchisees, paid media campaigns should focus on consumers within each location’s service area and deliver custom, localized ads. Any advertising dollars spent outside of that radius is likely to be wasted.

Consumers typically travel less than 20 minutes to make everyday purchases

Here’s a real-life example. Recently, a crack appeared on my car’s windshield. I pulled out my phone and searched for “car window repair.” I didn’t include any geo-modifier, assuming I’d only get results for companies in my area. (This is becoming more common. According to Google, local searches without a “near-me” modifier have grown by 150 percent as more consumers expect to just see results for nearby businesses for certain searches.)

I started calling for quotes. When I called the second result in the paid search ads, I was told they didn’t serve my area. As a consumer, I was a little annoyed, but as someone who works in digital marketing, I was surprised and disappointed. Why would this well-known national company (which I’ll keep anonymous), one of the premier brands in their industry, spend money on actions from paid search results from consumers that can’t even convert?

I pulled up Google AdWords to check, and the top of page bid (high range) for that search term was almost $19 based on my location. Which means that company wasted as much as $19 on a consumer they had no chance of converting. For a one-time event, that’s not a big deal but that term is searched for hundreds of times a month in my area and the brand’s ad appeared second in the paid search results, meaning they could be wasting a few hundred dollars of ad spend per month in my market alone.

To avoid that fate, here are a few paid advertising campaigns franchise brands should optimize around individual locations.

No. 5: Launching local paid search campaigns

Franchise brands should supplement national paid search efforts with hyper-local campaigns targeting consumers in specific markets with ads and landing pages for specific locations. For Google AdWords campaigns, franchise brands should leverage local tactics like:

  • Location extensions: These ad extensions provide searchers information to help them find your locations (e.g., business address, phone number, map markers, etc.).
  • Local inventory ads: These ads show searchers the available inventory at nearby locations in near real-time.
  • Local bid adjustments: These allow you to increase your bids when nearby consumers search for one of your keywords.
No. 6: Launching localized display campaigns
No. 7: Launching localized video campaigns

Franchise brands should follow a similar approach with display and video ads. Keep national efforts going, but make sure they’re complemented by local campaigns that focus on consumers within specific locations’ service areas.

One interesting way to target display ads to local consumers is with Geo-fencing. Brands can connect with consumers in the moments they’re ready to buy by creating “geo-fences” around relevant places (e.g., competitors’ locations). Brands can then serve ads to consumers in those areas and for up to 30 days after they leave. You can also target your locations to stay engaged and promote repeat sales.

Related – [Infographic]: 5 Ways to Target Digital Display Campaigns

Earned Media

Earned media definition

As I mentioned above, the majority of consumer engagement goes to location-specific assets rather than the brand. This means that a lot of the public communication between consumers and brands is done at the local level. Franchise brands need to provide individual owners the resources to begin and maintain a conversation with consumers online.

No. 8: Managing and responding to online reviews

It’s important for all brands to monitor their online reviews but with franchise brands, the process becomes trickier as reviews are scattered across hundreds or thousands of locations. With the number of sites customers can use to leave reviews (e.g., Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc.), this is almost impossible for franchise brands to do without a tool or an agency partner.

No. 9: Encouraging customers to leave positive reviews

Consumers are more likely to leave reviews after negative experiences. However, people are becoming more likely to leave reviews after positive experiences across a variety of business-types. It’s important not to be pushy, but franchise owners and their employees should encourage customers to leave positive reviews when they visit a location.

No. 10: Engaging with social media audiences

Going a step further than responding to reviews, franchise brands should also engage with social media followers who have reached out (e.g., commenting on a Facebook post). Social media allows two-way communication between a business and its customers that can develop strong relationships, brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

That’s a big to-do list for brands and franchise owners alike. If you need an agency partner who can help you accomplish all of these marketing efforts, contact Mindstream Media Group to learn about our full suite of digital and traditional marketing solutions designed to Fast-Forward Your Business.

How to Improve TV and Digital Video Advertising Campaigns as Viewing Habits Change

Video content has proved adept at engaging audiences with its combination of sight, sound and motion. And for years, TV was the main vehicle for audiences to consume video content on a regular basis. The combination of these two factors has driven years of heavy investment in TV commercials.

But, things have changed. Video content remains a powerful way to engage, but audiences have a lot more ways to consume that content.

Continue reading “How to Improve TV and Digital Video Advertising Campaigns as Viewing Habits Change”

[MAY 2018] TL;DR Roundup – Google I/O Updates and the Best of the Rest in Marketing and Advertising This Week

Welcome to the TL;DR Roundup, Mindstream Media Group’s periodic recap of the biggest stories in digital and traditional media, marketing and advertising. We know there’s too much going on to read everything, so we break down the most important stories for you.

Need help with your marketing/advertising efforts? Have any questions about this week’s news? Think we missed something? Send us a message and let us know.

This week developers from around the globe flocked to Google I/O – the company’s annual event focused on exploring the next generation of tech. Per usual, there were plenty of updates from the conference that marketers need to know. We’ll get to those in a bit, but first…

Digital ad revenue continues to grow

The IAB released its Internet Advertising Revenue Report this week and the numbers looked good. Digital ad revenue was up 21 percent for the fiscal year 2017 compared to 2016.

Digital ad revenue growth (FY 2016 vs. FY 2017)

Digital Ad Revenue Growth (FY 2016 vs. FY 2017) Here are some other highlights from the report:

  • Mobile accounted for 57 percent of digital ad revenue in 2017 (compared to 51 percent in 2016).
  • Digital ad revenue also grew 21 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
  • Digital ad revenue continued to outpace its traditional media counterparts but both radio and out-of-home advertising experienced modest growth.

Full-year 2017 ad revenue by media type

Full Year 2017 Ad Revenue - Digital vs Traditional Media

For full coverage of IAB’s report, check out this piece from Marketing Land.

Top news from Google I/O

The annual developer gathering is jam-packed with information and updates about a variety of Google’s products and services. Combine I/O with Google’s normal onslaught of weekly updates and we have a lot to cover. Let’s look at some of the most important news for marketers from Google this week.

Ad innovations for apps

Google’s “Grow your app business through user acquisition and monetization” session at I/O covered a few new features to help developers and brands improve advertising efforts in mobile apps.

From the Inside AdWords blog, here are a few of the most notable new features for advertisers:

  • Google is launching a beta to help developers surface more relevant content in their app promotion ads. “For example, Wish, a shopping app, can link its product catalog to AdWords and surface relevant in-app product images and descriptions directly in its ads.”
  • Google is planning on making view through conversion (VTC) reporting available to AdWords app advertisers to help them understand which viewable ad impressions lead to conversions. “For example, you can use these reports to better understand how well your video and display ads influenced app installs.”
  • Google is integrating the IAB Open Measurement SDK into Google Mobile Ads (GMA) and Interactive Media Ads (IMA) SDKs. “This solution will save developers time and reflect the true value of their app inventory.”

Google Maps gets personal

Users have long relied on Google Maps to help get them to their destinations. Soon, they’ll also be able to use Maps to decide that destination for them.

In a blog post, Google outlined the new functionalities of Maps:

In the coming months, Google Maps will become more assistive and personal with new features that help you figure out what to eat, drink and do – no matter what part of the world you’re in. So, say goodbye to endless scrolling through lists of recommended restaurants or group texts with friends that never end in a decision on where to go. The next time you’re exploring somewhere new, getting together with friends, or hosting out-of-towners in your own city, you can use Google Maps to make quick decisions and find the best spots.

A re-designed Explore tab will show users new and interesting dining, event and activity options based on the area they’re looking at. It will also help users “find new restaurants based on information from local experts, Google’s algorithms and trusted publishers like The Infatuation and others.”

Google Maps Explore TabImage source: Google

If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like what the Google Assistant is designed to do, you’d be right. In another blog post, Google elaborated on the Assistant’s integration with Maps.

The Assistant is coming to navigation in Google Maps later this summer, with a low visual profile so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You’ll be able to send text messages, play music and podcasts, and get information without leaving the navigation screen. For example, say “Hey Google, read me my messages” and you can get a summary of unread texts with the option to respond by voice.

What’s the magic word?

Later this year, Google will introduce Pretty Please – a feature that allows the Assistant to understand and encourage polite conversations. The feature was designed with kids in mind but you can enable Pretty Please on any voice profile in your household.

Lighthouse 3.0

Google also introduced the latest version of Lighthouse – a collection of tools that help website developers audit and optimize site performance.

According to a report from Techcrunch:

The new update is centered around more precise and actionable metrics, such as page load time and the components of the site that might be slowing it down. Google has been working to ensure that websites are able to run quickly and smoothly through products like Google AMP. Getting all those websites running in an optimized fashion can increase engagement across the board, and the new version of lighthouse is designed to drill even further down to what’s happening.

For more updates from Google I/O, check out Google’s collection of major announcements.

Amazon ditches Product Listing Ads

Moving on from Google news (sort of), Amazon seems to be dropping their presence in Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs). According to a report form Merkle, the online retail giant Amazon stopped bidding on PLAs at the end of last month.

After a year and a half of competing in Google Shopping auctions, Amazon suddenly stopped bidding on Google’s Product Listing Ad format last week. Amazon’s presence was strongest and most consistent in the home goods product category, but it also appeared in Google Auction Insights reports for advertisers in other categories such as furniture, office supplies and novelty gifts.

This should be great news for smaller e-commerce advertisers who lose a major competitor in the fight for valuable ad space. Here’s more on that from Merkle’s report:

(The) advertisers that saw (Amazon) as a competitor in Auction Insights over the last 18 months are now breathing a sigh of relief. While it’s difficult to quantify the impact that Amazon has had on these advertisers’ Shopping programs, it certainly pulled clicks and sales that would have otherwise gone elsewhere.

Amazon’s Google Shopping impression share (against median Amazon competitor)

Amazon's Google Shopping Impression Share

How local consumers shop

A new survey conducted for Small Business Week from Netsertive looked at how consumers shop and search for local businesses, products and services. The study found that 80 percent of consumers always research major purchases online before buying in-store and 72 percent of consumers use online reviews to evaluate local businesses.

For more info on the results of this survey, check out our recap from earlier this week.

Want more marketing and advertising news? Subscribe to our blog to get updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Have You Added Business Descriptions to Your Brand’s Google Listings Yet?

In late March 2018, Google announced on Twitter they were bringing business descriptions back to Google My Business (GMB) listings.

The move comes almost two years after Google pulled the ability to add/edit business descriptions in the Google My Business dashboard. Google never confirmed why they originally removed the feature, but according to Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land it may be “because businesses used it to stuff spam and keywords in the field.”

What it means for local businesses

Regardless of why Google dropped descriptions, the important thing is the feature is back. Business descriptions are an amazing advertising opportunity for local businesses. With a generous 750-character limit, GMB descriptions give businesses plenty of space to explain what makes them unique and how they provide value to their customers. Having a great business description could be the difference between a potential patron choosing your store over a nearby competitor.

What it means for local consumers

Adding the business description not only helps businesses advertise, but it also helps consumers understand the specific products and services a business offers. Consumers will no longer be reliant on generic GMB categories to decide if a business has what they’re looking for.

Adding descriptions to your GMB listings

Even though GMB descriptions have been back for almost two months, we understand if you still haven’t added them to your listings. Managing local listings is a tough gig, especially for brands with hundreds or thousands of locations. Just making sure basic information like business name, address and phone number are up to date on hundreds of local sites is difficult enough without having to optimize the listings by adding expanded information.

If you need help adding descriptions, Mindstream Media Group’s Listings Management solution is designed to help brands manage and optimize business data on a vast network of local search engines, social media platforms, directory sites and data aggregators.

Contact Mindstream Media to learn more.


For smaller brands and independent local businesses who decide to go it alone, here’s a quick guide to help you fill out your GMB descriptions. (For additional information, check out Google’s business description guidelines page.)

Where to add descriptions in the GMB dashboard

Adding business descriptions in GMB dashboard

The Dos and Don’ts of GMB descriptions


Include what products and services you offer and what sets you apart.

Provide users a brief overview of your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know.

Focus primarily on details about your business instead of details about promotions, prices or sales.


Exceed 750 characters in the description field.

Provide inaccurate or false information about your business or the services and products offered.

Display low-quality, irrelevant, or distracting content. For example, misspellings, gimmicky character use, gibberish, etc.

Focus on special promotions, prices or sales.

Include links of any kind.

Display offensive or inappropriate content including:

  • Content that promotes hatred or incites violence against individuals or groups based on ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Content containing obscene, profane or offensive language.
  • Content promoting and encouraging violence or terrorist activities.
  • Sexually suggestive or explicit content.

Upload content related to the sale of dangerous and illegal products or services.

Upload content that exploits or abuses children.

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