Google Maps Adds Advertising

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Google Maps Adds AdvertisingGoogle put advertising on the map. I don't mean this in the sense that Google was the first to make Internet advertising mainstream, rather I mean it in a literal sense. Google has created and recently launched a feature that will allow web-marketers the ability to place photos, logos, and possibly other advertising inside the balloons that pop up on Google maps.

Google Maps Adds Advertising

Google put advertising on the map. I don't mean this in the sense that Google was the first to make Internet advertising mainstream (actually they were probably hugely responsible for that as well), rather I mean it in a literal sense. Google is literally putting advertising on the map.

As I had anticipated for some time now, Google has created and recently launched a feature that will allow web-marketers the ability to place photos, logos, and possibly other advertising inside the balloons that pop up on Google maps. These balloons mark exactly where specific merchants are located, according to each relevant search, and will now allow businesses the chance to target customers based on geography.

A handful of advertisers, including Barnes & Noble and Ralph Lauren, have been testing this new Local Business Advertising system for a few weeks now. According to Google, these companies purchased several keywords such as "New York books" and "Ralph Lauren New York" which when searched allowed them an opportunity to plug a logo, website, and detailed store information, such as store hours and payment options.

With Local Business Ads, merchants bid on keywords and pay per click as they do for ads associated with Google AdWords, Google's primary advertising network. The ads show up on the maps as well as on Google's main search results page as regular text ads.

I did a quick search for "Barnes and Noble Books New York" and came across the following listing:

Google Maps Adds Advertising

Notice that this search, and many others, brought up a few icons on the map. In this case I clicked on the "shopping cart" icon which generated specific information about the merchant. A given icon might be a coffee cup, a shopping bag, a car or, in the case of Ralph Lauren, a flower. When someone clicks the icon, a balloon pops up containing more information about the merchant, including a logo or photo and maybe a link to the merchant's Web site.

My Thoughts

I spent some time messing around with this new feature and I absolutely love the fact that merchants can effectively and literally "brand" themselves on Google's mapping service. Let's face it, there's no bigger selling tool for large corporations than their own brand, whether it be their slogan or logo. The closest thing I can think of at this moment that maybe even comes close to being as big of a selling point as brand would be price, but even so there are a lot of people who'll gladly pay tons more to own a piece of the brand. We're all guilty of it.

It is for that reason I believe this new feature will succeed in building up the local search markets. Not only will merchants love the ability to plug their brand, but users will too. Users will be able to quickly scan the map and find exactly what it is they are looking for in matter of seconds. All in all, this is a great new feature.

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