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Google Ads for HVAC: How to Track Leads & Optimize Ad Spend

April 25th, 2024
13 Min Read

Google Ads is one of the most common channels for paid advertising in the HVAC industry

When used properly, they can significantly boost lead generation. 

But it’s important to understand the different types of Google Ads and how they work for HVAC contractors. For example, Google Search and Google Display are both PPC (pay-per-click) channels, while Google Local Services Ads operate on a cost per lead basis. 

From our experience of working with hundreds of HVAC contractors, Google Local Service Ads are the best Google Ads format to test. They only charge you when you get an actual lead, so companies don’t spend a lot of money on ads that don’t generate customers. Then, as you grow, testing Google Search and Display ads also makes sense. 

In this post, we’ll dig into each Google ad type in more detail, so you can understand and leverage them as efficiently as possible for your HVAC business.

Along the way, we’ll explain how our software, ServiceTitan, helps with getting direct bookings from Google Ads, as well as some of its additional features around call booking, conversion tracking, and ad optimizing that have helped hundreds of HVAC companies scale. 

We’ll discuss:

Looking to grow your residential or commercial HVAC business? Schedule a call to see how ServiceTitan can help you drive more leads while increasing efficiency across your company.

There are nine types of Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and within those categories there are different sub-types and formats. 

We’ll focus on the three most common campaigns used by HVAC businesses:

Google Search Ads

Google Search Ads are the text ads that you see at the top and bottom of search engine result pages (SERPs) that look similar to organic search results (earned through SEO).

Search Ads are used as a direct marketing channel for reaching customers who are ready to buy. They tend to have a higher conversion rate than Display Ads because they are tied to specific keyword searches (e.g. “AC repair”) that show strong purchase intent.

Your Google Ads account allows you to set up separate campaigns and ad groups for reaching different demographics or segments of your target audience — for example, people searching for equipment maintenance vs. people searching for a new air conditioner.

Choosing the right keywords is key to generating sufficient ROI. Using keyword research for each campaign, you can define specific search terms that you want your ads to show up for.

Note: You should also let Google know your negative keywords — terms that you don’t want your ads to show up for, like when a person is searching from outside of your service area.   

Google Search Ads run on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning that you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Typically this leads them to a landing page on your HVAC website with ad copy that matches the search engine ad and prompts the user to call, chat, or email with your customer service team.

Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads are the banner ads that you see around the perimeter of websites. 

These ads are used for creating brand awareness, but they’re also useful for remarketing — serving up ads across multiple websites to people who have engaged with your brand through other digital marketing channels like social media

For example, if you’ve ever searched for a particular tool online and then seen an ad for that same tool on a different website the next day, you’ve likely seen a Display Ad. 

Like Search Ads, Google Display Ads are also PPC ads that lead to a landing page that asks the visitor to take action. The advantage of Display Ads is cost — specifically, they are a very low-cost way of keeping your brand name in front of prospective customers.

The reason is that you only pay for clicks, but their click rates are very low (most people don’t click on image ads on the side of websites) so you don’t end up paying that much. But they can still be displayed a lot, which can keep your brand name front and center to people who have visited your website, or previously clicked on one of your ads. 

How to Measure the Success of your PPC Campaigns

For all PPC campaigns, including Google Search and Display Ads, measuring your click-through-rate (CTR) — and how many of those clicks convert to leads — is part of your Google Ads management procedure. It’s crucial to gauge your ROI to know the success of your marketing strategy.

Here’s an example of what your calculations might look like: 

How to Calculate ROI from a Google Ads PPC Campaign

  • Step 1: You receive 100 clicks from $500 of ad spend. ($500/100) = $5 cost per click (CPC) 

  • Step 2: Of those, 10 result in a call/lead. ($500/10) = $50 cost per lead (CPL)

  • Step 3: Of those 10 leads, 40% result in a booking. ($50/40%) = $125 cost per booked job

Important note: The cost-per-click (CPC) for your specific HVAC business can be found within your Google Analytics account, but you will need some kind of conversion tracking process to analyze how many leads and booked jobs result from those clicks (steps 2 and 3). We’ll discuss how ServiceTitan’s software can help below

Google Local Services Ads (and Why HVAC Contractors Should Use Them)

Google Local Services Ads are fundamentally different and offer some significant advantages for HVAC and other home services companies, especially those starting out, since you don’t need to worry about keyword planners or landing pages and you won’t pay for clicks that don’t turn into leads.

Google Local Services Ads appear above the search engine results in a given geographical area at the top of the page.

Each HVAC ad consists of a “card” that displays your: 

  • Google Guarantee verification

  • Business name

  • Reviews

  • Service area

  • Open hours 

These ads are displayed for people who are actively looking for HVAC services in your area, so they have a high purchase intent. Potential customers then click on the phone icon to call your HVAC company directly; there’s no need to navigate to a landing page on a company website.

By removing this step in how customers contact you, Local Services Ads connect HVAC companies with a larger number of potential customers who already know what they’re looking for, and who are ready to purchase HVAC services. As a result, they tend to have higher conversion rates and ROI. 

In contrast to Google Search Ads and Google Display Ads (which are both PPC campaigns), with Google Local Services Ads, you pay only for HVAC leads — prospects who actually contact you (either via message through Google’s platform or by phone). 

Learn more about how Google charges for leads and also how you can dispute leads you believe to be invalid here.

Here are five tips for HVAC companies on how to use Google Local Services Ads effectively.

5 Tips for Maximizing Google Local Services Ads

Tip #1: Get Verified for the Google Guarantee

This is a verification process conducted by Google that includes background and license checks to ensure that your HVAC business is trustworthy and committed to quality. 

When customers book jobs with a Google Guaranteed provider, they know that if something goes wrong, they can claim up to $2,000 back on the cost of the job.  

Tip #2: Advertise Specific Services, in Specific Service Areas

Whether you only want to focus on high-ticket jobs or maximize lead generation, you can pick the specific services and job types that you want to promote in your Local Services Ads.

Tip #3: Personalize Your Ad

Try out differentiators by customizing your business bio with what makes you unique. For example, call out traits like being family-owned, eco-friendly, or offering a 24-hour service. Upload photos of your team and use a dedicated phone number to track success.

Tip #4: Remember the Three Rs: Radius, Reviews & Responsiveness

  • Radius: List all relevant ZIP codes for the areas your HVAC business serves.

  • Reviews: The quality and quantity really matter. Always ask for Google reviews after every job. 

  • Responsiveness: Answer as many calls as you can to make the most of all leads.

Learn more here about which factors determine how your ads rank.

Tip #5: Use Integrated Software to Facilitate Instant Booking

This makes it even easier for customers to get in touch. ServiceTitan’s Google Ads integration lets customers book directly with you using a smart form, helping you book jobs quickly and track leads. 

We’ll discuss how ServiceTitan can help HVAC companies book more jobs from their Google Ads and track their ad spend in detail below. But first, we’ll consider the challenges of running Google Ads without integrated software.

The Challenges of Managing Google Ads Leads without Software

The challenge with Google Local Services Ads — along with Google Ads and advertising in general — is that managing increases in incoming leads is time-consuming and inefficient if you don’t have customer relationship management software like ServiceTitan to help. 

For most businesses using Google Local Services Ads, prospects only have the call option if they want to book an appointment. So, when a prospect calls in, your staff has to: 

  • Manually create a record for a new job.

  • Enter the prospective customer’s address and other information (perhaps asking the customer to repeat themselves several times).

  • Go back and forth with multiple calendars to determine an appointment time that works for your techs and the customer’s schedule.

If the prospect doesn’t actually schedule an appointment on the first call, someone on your team will need to follow up later. If your team doesn’t have a set process for following up, you can lose a client and miss an opportunity.

This process is often perceived as a poor experience for customers, who increasingly want the convenience of booking appointments easily online, without ever needing to call in and speak to someone. So, HVAC businesses that offer an instant booking service via Google Local Services Ads win more jobs.

With ServiceTitan’s Local Services Ads integration, customers can book appointments easily without ever needing to call in. 

In the next section, we’ll walk you through how this works.

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How ServiceTitan’s Integration Optimizes Your Google Ads Spend & the Booking Process

Our software goes a step further than the standard one-click calling that’s offered by Google Local Services Ads, allowing customers to book appointments themselves via a calendar booking widget — without even having to make a phone call. This lets customers pick a time and book an appointment immediately, saving you a phone call step, and increasing the percentage of clicks that turn into actual booked jobs. 

Here’s how the job booking process works with our Google Ads integration:

Book Jobs Quickly and Efficiently

Let’s say someone in your area needs their air conditioning unit repaired. When they search for “AC repair near me” or “AC repair” with their ZIP code, they’ll see the cards of “HVAC pros” at the top of the search results, along with a prompt to see more cards.  

The prospect can choose to call your phone number (by selecting the phone icon) or instantly book an appointment (by selecting the calendar icon, which is only available for businesses using an integration like ours).

When the prospect chooses to book an appointment online, they’ll be prompted to select the type of issue they need help with.

They will be notified of any upfront costs associated with getting an estimate and be prompted to select a time and date for a visit. 

Google Ads integrates with ServiceTitan to gauge your team’s capacity, so potential customers are only offered appointments at appropriate times. 

One handy feature for larger HVAC shops with more flexible capacity is that you can set the service to overbook to account for cancellations. Then, our software will adjust in real-time on the day of the visit to ensure that a tech covers the call.

To complete their booking, customers enter their name, address, and other personal information into the Google form, allowing you to bypass the time-consuming and potentially error-prone process of your team doing this manually during a phone call.

After they schedule their visit, your new customer will receive an automated confirmation email from Google. No additional actions are needed, but if you prefer, you can set ServiceTitan to send an automated email from your CSR team, or to prompt a CSR to follow up with the customer by phone to confirm. 

Behind the scenes, a record is automatically created in ServiceTitan with the customer’s details and the appointment is entered into your scheduling system

It’s a fast, seamless experience for the customer — and it saves time and helps ensure accuracy for your team, too.

Track Leads and Optimize Ad Spend

In addition to making the job booking process fast and frictionless for new customers generated by Google Local Services Ads, our Google integration lets you connect your Google Analytics account to ServiceTitan to get full analytics on how many leads came from which channels (including GLSA versus other ad channels or other traffic channels). 

Our software has two features that help you track leads through the entire customer journey and optimize ad spend so you can analyze the success of your ad campaigns and adjust accordingly.

Dynamic Call Tracking

You can monitor your click-through rates from your Google Ads via your Google Analytics account, but the difficulty in conversion tracking is knowing which campaigns to credit once someone lands on your website and also which calls can be attributed to your Google Ads — something Google Analytics cannot natively do for you. Typically, it’s up to CSRs to manually attribute calls to a campaign, which is time-consuming and often inaccurate. 

Our Dynamic Call Tracking feature lets you display a dedicated phone number on your website based on which ad your visitor clicked on. We automatically attribute the campaign source for you, so your CSRs don’t have to. 

ServiceTitan’s Dynamic Call Tracking can also track calls from your website in any situation, so you will always reliably know which marketing campaigns are driving calls, leads, and revenue to your HVAC business.

And, because all of the data is held within ServiceTitan, the customer's activity can be tracked through the entire workflow so you can tie campaign performance to booked jobs. 

ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro lets you view the entire marketing funnel from impression to revenue so you can monitor your ad campaigns’ performance with precision and fine tune your marketing plans to maximize revenue.

Ads Optimizer

Tracking and analyzing the performance metrics of your Google Ads is essential, and ServiceTitan takes ad optimization to the next level — helping lower your cost per lead while increasing the quantity + quality of those leads.

Our Ads Optimizer tool leverages audience and revenue data in ServiceTitan and automatically feeds it into Google Ads and other connected ad platforms. 

By enriching data used by these ad platforms, Ads Optimizer trains Google to target based on revenue, not just calls or form fills. 

Optimizer also looks at a company’s capacity and notifies the person managing that Google Ads account when the job board gets too full or isn’t full enough. Users can set thresholds so you don’t waste money on jobs you can’t fulfill or, if you don’t have enough jobs on the board, you will know when to increase ad spend.

Learn more about how to measure the impact of marketing performance here.

Boost Your HVAC Google Ads with ServiceTitan

From our experience of working with hundreds of HVAC business owners, Google Ads are a powerful marketing tool for lead generation. 

For small to large HVAC businesses, Google Local Services Ads provide a fast route for growth as they don’t require dedicated landing pages and charge only for leads rather than clicks. 

For HVAC companies wanting to scale, we recommend trying all three types of Google Ads discussed in this post to find a combination that works well for your specific business. 

Regardless of which Google Ads channels you use, manually managing them along with all of your other HVAC marketing channels can be challenging if you don’t have a solution like ServiceTitan. 

Our software integrates with Google Local Services Ads so you can bypass a cumbersome game of “phone tag” and get right to scheduling appointments with people who need your services. ServiceTitan also tracks leads and optimizes your ad spend so you get the most from your ad spend.

Ready to grow your residential or commercial HVAC business? Schedule a call to see how ServiceTitan can help you instantly book appointments from your Google Local Services Ads and improve efficiency throughout every aspect of your business.

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