After reaching out to Google for an update on the public post that was to contain additional detail on the reporting change, Google has informed us that they have decided against publishing a post on the topic. Instead, Google has provided the following message, which explains the spike more thoroughly:
We recently started tracking a new impression type in desktop Maps. Local Insights now show whenever a listing has been viewed — even if it’s on a list of businesses that the user sees and the user doesn’t directly click on the business listing.
So essentially, Google is now counting when a desktop user clicks through to Maps to see a different listing, and the business listing in question also displays in the Maps list.
Google My Business Insights began reporting a significant uptick in Views starting roughly August 1st. This spike affected this single metric alone; Photo Views and Click Actions (clicks to directions, clicks to website, clicks to call) remain steady. At first glance, the increase appeared to be a bug in Google’s reporting, given that Click Actions would be expected to increase with a legitimate increase in Views.
We reached out to Google to flag the reporting anomaly to them, and to request an explanation and received the following:
We recently started tracking a new impression type in desktop Maps. In the future we’ll try to communicate these changes better ahead of time.
Among allLocal clients, the largest jump was a 130% increase MoM from July to August, across approximately 2,300 locations. Most clients have seen at least a 50% increase MoM. The image below was taken from the allLocal reporting dashboard for an example client, which displays what a remarkable and suspicious increase it was.
The explanation provided by Google above does not yet confirm what kind of desktop Maps view is calculated in the total count, though we can speculate that the Views might be related to either map pin or list views.
Google has provided assurances that this change is permanent and that Views will be sustained at this level, so we can continue to track these reporting metrics accurately in future.
Additionally, it may be worth mentioning that the recent Google local algorithm update, named “Hawk” appears to be unrelated, though the timing of both updates going live in relatively short order make it more difficult to distinguish between a true uptick in performance due to Hawk and an increase due to this new desktop Maps View.
Google is currently working on a public post in response to the confusion, and we will update this post with Google’s public response once available – stay tuned.