- Google quietly launched an ad campaign to promote its Maps feature as a way for small businesses to reach local customers. The hashtag #OnGoogleMaps is being used in social media mentions, according to Advertising Age.
- The Ads on Maps service lets consumers find businesses while searching online. Advertisers can place a brand logo on Maps or offer in-store promotions.
- Google Maps produces the "Get Location Detail" click type, which is a category of user responses seen in Google AdWords, the online ad service based partly on cookies and keywords determined by advertisers. The click type produced 7% of brand keyword ad clicks on smartphones in the most recent quarter, up from 5% in the prior quarter, according to Merkle's latest Digital Marketing Report.
Marketers and investors have said Google needs to figure out a way to monetize its Maps feature, where it started selling ads last year. Of course, Google has to balance the needs of users looking to find a specific address and the needs of small businesses that seek additional foot traffic by promoting their location.
Google seeks revenue sources beyond paid search, and location-based ads are one way to monetize searches for nearby businesses and services. Product Listing Ads have increased 31% from a year earlier, while text search ads have grown only 16%, according to the Merkle report.
This year, Google has taken major steps to provide more localized information, recognizing that a significant number of searches are geared toward finding nearby events, restaurants, stores, gas stations and entertainment venues. In May, the company updated its mobile app with more comprehensive guides to events and entertainment near the individual user, responding to research showing that nearly one-third of all mobile searches are for local products and services.
Last month, Google also overhauled its Local Guides, the feature in Maps that gives points to people who provide data and photo uploads of local venues, to incentivize users to contribute and beef up its feature. Guides who accumulate enough points to reach the fourth of the 10 total levels get three months of free access to Google Play Music and 75% off a movie rental in Google Play.