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Understanding Insights in Your Google Business Account

The Google Business platform has grown exponentially over the past year or so. Yelp was very much the top dog for reviews, photos, and other features for businesses, but Google Business has really taken over the top spot, and rightly so! I think most businesses get very frustrated with Yelp, primarily because they allow reviews but if you get a 5 star review it can often be put in to the “filtered” section. They just say, “it’s part of our algorithm”. No rhyme or reason to it.

But as Google Business has grown, there are a lot of questions that are being asked from clients about the “Insights” portion. What do they mean? What are they telling us as a company trying to make better marketing decisions? Is it showing proper data analytics?

We will do our best to break down to the Google “Insights” to help explain what they mean.  We have used many references in this wonderful article from SterlingSky.

For an educational overview of Mobile vs Desktop breakdown and the displace to track website clicks, driving directions and bookings in Google Business, please review the 2021 Google Business Insights Update.

When Searching: How Customers and Users Find Your Business


This chart is only reporting on impressions (not clicks).

In essence, this data is people that are searching for your business by name or location. We typically attribute each impression as being derived from other marketing endeavors (traditional, social), because the user has already heard about you.

A majority of these impressions are most likely existing customers as well. Confirmation from Google that impressions count in this area when search results only list a single business listing.

This entails individuals that are searching generic categories and see your listing (chiropractor near me, pizza shop near me, and so on). We can safely attribute these impressions to SEO strategies and efforts.

These are simply searches for a particular brand that your business sells that returns results, competitors may sell the same brand, so you won’t be the only one listed. Example: The keyword “JLG Equipment” is a brand that numerous businesses use to sell or rent their products.

How Do Differentiate Between Direct and Branded Searches?

When sorting out the difference between direct vs branded searches, it can get a bit confusing. So let’s try and use some examples.  This is a car dealer that sells for Nissan (a brand) in Woodbridge, VA. When you are located near the dealership and you search “Nissan dealer near me”, you get a single result. This would be counted under direct.

direct gmb

On the flip side, if you move further away than your direct location and do the same search, you will get a 3-pack. This is counted as “branded”

dealer near me

Branded vs Discover Searches – What’s the Difference?

The best way to tell if Google characterizes a term as “branded” is to see if the maps 3 pack has an ABC label on it. Let’s use Botox for example, the term “botox” returns a standard 3-pack but “progressive insurance” returns a branded 3-pack that carries the ABC label.

To learn more about the different 3-pack types you can view a 3-pack article.

branded 3 pack

 BUT…. Since this only appears when business names sell or have a brand name being sold. It’s not always clear for businesses that carry products.  The question remains how does Google distinguish a branded term from a discovery term?

How do Customers View your Business on Google?