2018: The Year of the Dog, Google and HomeAdvisor?

2017 was the Year of the Rooster. I am talking about the Chinese zodiac here, not the chicken in New York that wins at tic-tac-toe. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are hardworking, brave and observant – some of the most important traits to have when creating a Google marketing strategy.

As this year comes to a close, the tech giant made an announcement that promises to bring big changes to lead generation. Google will now partner with HomeAdvisor to connect more homeowners with local contractors.

2018 is the Year of the Dog, reflecting upon those who are stubborn, ready to help others and clever. Let’s take a look at what Google may have in store for us.

Trait #1: Stubborn

Earlier this year, Google launched Local Services ads (formerly known as Google Home Services). Embedded at the top of the search page is now an interactive box with Google-approved contractors. The feature allows homeowners to find home improvement companies quickly and easily.

Local Services ads will likely produce highly qualified leads for home improvement pros – if you can get through the qualification process, that is. Google’s standards are rigorous and the application process requires patience. They are checking off every box, crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

HomeAdvisor’s qualification process is, on the other hand, a well-oiled machine. They developed their pre-screening process years ago, and as a result, it seems less intense. Google will likely set some strict ground rules with HomeAdvisor in the new year, creating unified standards across the board.

Trait #2: Ready to Help Others

As Google continued to evolve Local Services, they hit a snag. Because the feature was only available in major US cities, they were missing a ton of lead opportunities. Google needed a way to serve homeowners in smaller cities and towns.

That’s where the HomeAdvisor partnership comes in. When someone is searching outside of the Local Services coverage area, Google recommends a list of companies from HomeAdvisor’s database. The idea is for Google to expand their pool of contractors.

But here’s the thing: access to HomeAdvisor’s contractors only occurs when a homeowner searches via one of Google’s voice-activated devices, such as Google Home. While more contractors may be at the ready, it will not have an immediate impact, since only 12% of households have voice-activated assistants.

Trait #3: Clever

While teaming up with HomeAdvisor will expand Google’s coverage area, it is somewhat questionable that this partnership will be valuable to contractors. HomeAdvisor is known for overselling leads, which has made it an uncertain lead source for many companies. The quality varies widely depending on which contractor you talk to.

From what I can see, Google is testing the waters. They have to test out their clever strategies on actual homeowners, after all. As they learn more, they’re going to tweak their approach.

A Dog Year Resolution

2017 may be over, but the opportunities for home improvement contractors have only begun. Google’s partnership with HomeAdvisor, as well as the launch of Local Services, promises to make 2018 an interesting year.

If Local Services evolves to be anything close to the reach of AdWords, you’ll see a significant increase in lead volume.