Over the years, Google has been testing ad placement and location extensions within Google Maps, and they are not planning on quitting any time soon, especially since we are living in an age where no one is usually more than 10 feet from their mobile device.
During Google’s Performance Summit on May 24, it was announced that Google is testing the “next generation of local search ads” within the Google Maps app and the mobile web. This shift is said to bring a more “branded and customized experience” for marketers who are using Google Maps to promote their business.
Google is currently testing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” within the popular map app. Users will now be able to see branded pins along their inputted route or within a close proximity of their final destination. This type of promotion is going to sound familiar to those who use Mapquest frequently since they have been using this type of promoted location finder for a few years already.
This new ad format will also allow for more customization for marketers. Businesses will be able to upload a variety of content, depending on the service they provide. A great example of this new feature is if retailers have an inventory feed going to Google, they will be able to include local product inventory within the app. Markers are also able to promote discounts and special offers to encourage users to visit a particular location.
These new features within Google Maps are being tested in the hopes that it increases foot traffic and conversations. Google stated that ever since they launched the Store Visits metric within Adwords back in December 2014, the company has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” since its initial launch. As of now, the Store Visits metric has continued to be only available to large retailers and brands, but Google stated that they would like to make this data available to smaller businesses over time. Overall, it is a huge interest of Google’s to be able to provide more online-to-offline metrics to marketers of every size.
Markers who are interested in testing out this new map feature will need to use location extensions in order for the promoted pins to show up properly. However, Google made it clear that this new feature is still being tested, so it is very likely that marketers will still see a shift in its format over the next few months.