Every #FAQ About Google’s Next-Gen Local Search Advertisements

By Martin Ashton

The recent Google Performance Summit saw a number of announcements being made by Google on upcoming changes in AdWords and Analytics with a special focus being accorded to mobile phones. Expanded Text ads were introduced, a sneak preview of the new interface of Google AdWords was given and sweeping changes to local search ads were revealed. Some answers to top questions on the new local search ads:

What’s the Change in Google Maps Local Search Ads?

The basic change is that now local businesses get a chance for added visibility when customers are performing online searches to shop or eat, especially on mobile devices. In the time to come, Google will be divulging a number of new formats of Maps advertisements as well as features specifically aimed to drive more traffic of searchers to physical locations. The ones that are already announced are Promoted Pins that include brand logos, business pages that can be customized, in-store promotions, and local inventory search for an online marketing company.

What Google really wants to achieve is an optimization of the experience of Google Maps so that users can see the advertisements on mobile screens without them becoming obtrusive and distracting even if they are involved in tasks that require concentration such as driving. As of now at least, there does not seem to be any plan of either audio or interstitials.

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Where Will the Advertisements Be Displayed?

The newly–announced local search advertisements will be displayed within Google Maps app on mobile devices, tablet, desktops, and even on Expanded Maps results on Google.com. According to Utah SEO experts, single advertisement featuring a purple label will be displayed on the top of organic results in the Google Maps app that has been downloaded by users more than 1 billion times. When a user is searching within Google Maps, there will be maximum two advertisements above the organic search results featuring the same purple labels. Users performing local searches on Expanded Maps will see on top a Google Maps advertisement with a yellow label when they click on the link ‘More places” that appears at the bottom of the Local 3-Pack.

What Is the Need for These Changes?

At the summit, Google revealed some truly outstanding facts that are very important for marketers to take note. According to Google, 90% of all sales will take place at physical stores as compared to online. A third of all searches conducted on mobiles will be location-related, and these type of searches are growing 50% faster that all mobile searches. There are more than a billion users of Maps, and more than 1.5 billion destinations are being provided to consumers over such searches. Of all consumers, 84% perform local searches and 75% of people searching for something close by on their mobile devices visit a physical store within just one day, and purchases are the outcome of 28% of all searches.

What Is the Concept of Promoted Pins?

Google Maps will soon feature Promoted Pins that are designed to make a business stand out to searchers who are nearby. For example, using a Promoted Pin, you could entice someone passing by your restaurant to come in for a bite, or even remind people to fill up at your gas station when they are driving by. Users searching for something specific will see a Promoted Pin of a relevant business in their proximity. Businesses will also have the opportunity to offer an incentive with a store promotion if they so wish.

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What Does Google Use to Choose Advertisements to Display?

The number of advertisement spots available will perhaps always be far less than the number of Promoted Pins; hence, Google uses a number of signals to select which advertisement it will show. These include the context of the query, location of the searcher, history of searches or browsing, past behavior, interests, time of the day as well as demographics. This kind of intelligence essentially ensures that you will not be bothered with Starbucks advertisements if you do not frequent Starbucks.

Author bio: Martin Ashton is a digital marketing consultant working for a Utah SEO company. Martin assists small businesses to strategize online and physical store presence for revenue maximization.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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