Google Local Services Ads vs. Thumbtack: Which Should I Use?

Are you looking for ways to advertise your business to local leads?

If so, you’ve probably researched a couple of options and are wondering what’s best for you. With debates like Google Local Services Ads vs. Thumbtack or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising vs. Angie’s List, it’s hard to know which platforms will drive the best results for your business.

On this page, we’ll focus on the Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack debate. We’ll look at each platform and what they offer, then discuss which one gives your company the most value.


If you’d like to get started advertising your local businesscontact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist.

What are Google Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services ads are advertisements that appear at the top of search results and promote local service businesses in the area. When someone conducts a search looking for a service company in their area, they’ll see a section with three boxes listing nearby businesses relevant to their search.

These local ads appear above paid and organic listings. They’re the first thing users see when searching for a local professional in their area.

Google Local Services ads are a way for people to find helpful, qualified local pros fast. When you run these ads, searchers see helpful information about your business first.

Many Local Services ads include the following:

  • Name
  • Star rating (Google Reviews)
  • Service area
  • Phone number
  • Whether you’re currently open, closed, or operate 24/7

This information provides your audience with some background on your business, which guides them to check out the rest of your listing.

When a lead clicks on your ad, they’ll see additional information about your business.

Your audience will see an overview that details the type of jobs your business does, your license information, and if you passed Google’s background check. This page also includes a business bio, where leads can find important information about your company.

As you look at Local Services ad examples, you may notice that some have a green checkmark with the phrase “Google guaranteed” after it. This feature is known as the Google Guarantee badge, and it plays a fundamental role in building trust with your audience.

The Google Guarantee badge requires that you pass a background check and have your licensing information and proof of insurance verified. If your paperwork is in order, you’ll get a badge and start building trust with your audience.

This badge makes people more confident about choosing your business because Google backs you.

If a client isn’t happy with your work, they can submit a request and get up to $2000 from Google for their dissatisfaction with your work. If you do quality work for your clients, you won’t need to worry about people filing claims.

With Google Local Services ads, you have great potential to reach people searching for local pros like you. It will help you drive more local leads to your business.

What is Thumbtack?

Thumbtack is a website that allows people to find local pros in their area. From house cleaning to personal training, you can find all types of professionals for your needs. All you need to do is visit their website and type in what you’re seeking.

When users search for a business like yours, they’ll see a list of search results relevant to their search query.

When you use Thumbtack for local businesses, listings include information like:

  • Company name
  • Pricing
  • Star rating/reviews
  • Number of hires
  • Service area
  • Customer testimonial

This information helps users choose the business they think fits their needs. If your listing fits their needs best, they can click on your profile in the search results and visit your listing.

Your listing contains an abundance of information about your company, including:

  • A paragraph about your company and what you do
  • An overview of how many times you’ve been hired, how many employees you have, and more
  • Payment methods (cash, card, PayPal, etc.)
  • Social media (including links to those profiles)
  • Photos
  • Reviews
  • FAQ section

If someone likes your listing, they have the following options:

  • Message your company
  • Check appointment availability
  • Call your business

So, how do you get leads to your listing?

When you work with Thumbtack, you buy credits for leads. This system helps connect your business with people looking for your company. You’ll pay for these potential leads up front and use your credits when they contact you and you send them a quote for a project.

In addition to customers choosing your business, you can bid on projects you think are a good fit for your needs. If you’re a dog trainer and someone seeks services for leash training, you can bid on that job.

When you bid on a job, you pay to compete with other companies to win that job. When bidding, you state how much it will cost you to complete the person’s project. The bid amount varies, depending on the job.

Once you bid, the client looks at all the proposals and decides if your business fits their needs best. If you’re a good fit, you’ll win the job.

If you’re looking for a way to reach local leads, Thumbtack is an option. It’s one of the many professional sites you can use to reach people looking for local pros.

Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack: Which is better for my business?

Now that you know a little bit more about each local advertising option, it’s time to analyze Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack. Many local professionals wonder if local advertising services by Google are better or if advertising on Thumbtack will drive more success.

So, in the Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack debate, which one is best for your business?

If you want to obtain credible leads and spend your budget wisely, use Google Local Services ads.

Here’s why:

1. You get more credible leads

Local Service ads generate leads that grow your business.

When you run a Local Services ad, Google determines your business’s relevancy to the search query and puts your business in the search results if you fit. This process means your ad appears in front of leads looking for your services.

With Thumbtack, lead quality is questionable.

Many contractors and business owners complain that Thumbtack doesn’t deliver quality leads (some even accuse Thumbtack of using fake leads!). These leads contact the business, costing the business money, only to never respond when the company follows up with them.

This approach makes Thumbtack a dangerous pitfall. You may run into a scenario where you’re repeatedly paying for leads that don’t pan out, which forces you to spend more money to try and reach more leads that will turn into customers.

If you’re looking for a source of reliable and credible leads, Google Local Services ads are the best option.

2. You have a better payment system

Google Local Services ads’ payment system outranks Thumbtack’s system.

Let’s break it down into the three biggest differences between these payment systems.

Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack: When they charge you

One of the biggest perks of Local Services ads is you only pay when someone contacts your business.

You don’t pay any money for leads to see your ad, and you don’t pay when someone clicks on your ad to learn about your business. You’re only paying for people who contacted your company because they saw your listing and thought you could help them with their problem.

In comparison, Thumbtack makes you buy credits before you obtain leads. You must purchase credits so people can contact your business about potential jobs. Then, when someone reaches out to your business, you pay for that lead with your credits.

This system creates an issue because you’re paying for leads ahead of time without the guarantee that they will come. You may spend hundreds of dollars on credits, only to receive no leads. It’s risky and can end up costing your business more money than you’ll make.

Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack: How much they charge you

In the Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack debate, the biggest question surrounds pricing.

How much does it cost to get a lead from each of these advertising options?

With Google, the amount per contact will depend on the industry, location, and other factors.

Generally, however, the same types of businesses in the same area will pay about the same amount for a bid. So, if multiple plumbers in the Los Angeles area ran Local Services ads, they can expect to pay about the same amount as their competitors.

With Thumbtack, the pricing model varies. The amount you pay for a Thumbtack job depends on:

  • Industry
  • Job type
  • Job size
  • Number of pros in the area
  • And more

The price for a job varies, making it difficult to nail down exactly how much you’ll pay.

Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack: Where your money goes

When comparing Google Local Services ads vs. Thumbtack, it’s essential to understand where your money goes.

With Google, your money goes straight towards leads that contact your business. You’re only paying for leads that call or message you, which means your money goes towards qualified leads.

On Thumbtack, your money may go towards credible leads, but it also may go straight down the drain. If you’re bidding on a project, it costs you money. When you don’t win the project, you get no return on your investment.

This payment structure becomes an issue with generating leads, too. If you’re not attracting credible leads that get back to you about projects, you’re wasting credits on less credible leads. It’s difficult to dispute these non-credible leads with Thumbtack too.

If you want a reliable means for obtaining credible leads (and who doesn’t?), Google Local Services ads is a better option for your business. Google Local Services ads will be a more effective option for getting higher quality leads because 80% of local searches convert.

3. You don’t need to take extra steps to reach leads

With Google Local Services ads, users don’t need to take additional steps to find your ad. If someone conducts a search looking for a local plumber or electrician, your ad will appear right in the search results.

When you use Thumbtack, users must take the extra step of going to Thumbtack’s website.

If they’re searching on Google, they’ll see the Local Services ads before they see Thumbtack’s website (if it even appears at all). If someone doesn’t use Thumbtack by default, they’re less likely to find that listing in the search results compared to Local Services ads that appear at the top of search results.

Considering four in five consumers use search engines to find local information, it’s better to focus on using Google Local Services ads, where people are already searching.

4. You get more stability with your campaign

Local advertising services from Google adds stability to your campaign.

From the cost per lead to how much you spend on your campaign, Google keeps it consistent for your business. You know when your campaign is running, how much you’re paying, and that your ads keep running until you stop them or use up your budget.

With Thumbtack for local businesses, you won’t experience as much consistency. You may end up paying for leads that don’t pan out for your business. Thumbtack makes it difficult for you to know if your investment will work.

Additionally, Thumbtack reserves the right to terminate your account at any time, for any reason.

Something as small as a fake, poor review about a job you didn’t do can be enough to terminate your account. You could build up your profile there for years and garner dozens of positive reviews, only to have it taken away.

This lack of stability makes it difficult to trust the platform.

Since Google Local Services ads are more consistent, they’re a safer investment.

Invest in Google Local Services ads for your business today

If you want to help your business drive local leads, invest in Google Local Services ads. These ads will help you generate more valuable leads and get more with your budget. When you partner with a local advertising expert, like WebFX, you’ll get more leads and conversions for your business.

We’re a full-service digital marketing company that specializes in creating local advertising campaigns that grow your business. With our Google Local Services ads management packages, we’ll help you optimize your listing and ad campaign to drive more leads for your business.

Considering we’ve driven over 7.8 million leads for our clients in the past five years, you can count on us to help grow your business.

Ready to start reaching more local leads?

Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist!