Back in 2017, Google tested a new initiative where ads would show up on local business profiles. The platform also attempted this in 2019. While many business owners did not appear to notice these subtle changes, it appears that plenty of consumers did, which is why Google will be continuing to roll out this pilot program for the near future.
The way these ads work is similar to normal Google ads, except that they will now appear on local businesses’ Google listings. That means that if someone were to search for local fast food restaurants, they will likely see a targeted ad in the listings.
For now, local business owners cannot opt out of this program, and many are angry because the ad may actually promote competition, which could lead to a lost sale for the business itself. It’s possible that this model could change in the future, but it mostly depends on the reaction from consumers and whether it will generate revenue.