Google has decided that chains will be able to create Google Posts via the API on an ongoing basis. This feature will not disappear once Covid abates. It is now noted in the current documentation, which was updated today, that both small businesses and chains can access the API for posts.
From March, 2020 until yesterday the API documentation for Posts noted:
Prior to Covid, any business with more than 9 locations could not create Posts at scale. Google had long ago indicated that they would consider allowing them to do so but failed to ever allow it.
At the end of March,2020, in response to Covid, Google allowed chains to post via the API to encourage chain-wide health and safety posts. Shortly after that Google introduced a new, limited function Covid Post type to all businesses featured higher on the business profile.
Pre-Covid several companies, like DBA Platforms, had implemented work arounds to allow multi location businesses to have access to a scalable Post functionality. While individual locations were allowed to post for themseleves access to the API was restricted if the business was classified as a chain with more than 9 locations.
Why It Matters
Now, with the exception of hotel chains and the limit of the API not being able to create Product posts, local listing platforms and in-house teams will be able to create efficient tools for posting across many locations.
The ROI of Posts can be quite low and but with API access chains can now experiment to find an efficient, cost effective Post strategy.
Efficiency for the business is but one of the reasons that this feature should have always been available. Users should expect a similar experience across any business profile they visit. Having only some profiles with Posts limits the likelihood of users making a habit out of reading them. If Posts are ever to reach their potential, whatever that might be, they have to be widely available and widely used.
Businesses also need a consistent and predictable environment for their marketing. Having arbitrary rules preventing them from scaling or having to create one off workarounds, if they need the feature, creates a great deal of uncertainty. And once the API post feature was made available during Covid, uncertainty was made worse by Google threatening to remove the feature at some indefinite future point.
As we know, Google has historically been good at fostering uncertainty in their business products and often fails to see their own responsibility helping create that stability.
While late, this is a positive move on Google's part and will hopefully lead to broader uptake amongst multi-location chains.