Google introduces local ads for Maps app

Ads can now appear at the bottom of the screen after a user performs a search

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 9, 2013
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Well, that was fun while it lasted.

I've been a strong supporter of the Google Maps app for iOS, ever since it went toe to toe with Apple Maps late last year (that mostly had to do with the public transportation directions I needed, and which Apple Maps did not provide). But Google has just pulled a move that may just kill the entire experience: the dreaded, and inevitable, advertisements.

Google has added a new feature for its Maps app on the iPhone, iPad and Android that will allow local advertisements to appear at the bottom of the screen, it was announced Thursday. 

"Over one billion people use Google Maps services every month. On the Google Maps app, these users are often searching for local businesses - from restaurants, to car dealerships, to dentists, and more," Salahuddin Choudhary, Product Manager at Google Maps, wrote.

"Relevant ads on the Google Maps app can now appear at the bottom of the screen after a user performs a search. They include a title, ad text, and a link to get directions. Users can tap or swipe upward to see more information — this is a new click type known as “Get location details” and results in a standard CPC charge."

Users have to click on the add to get location details. In addition, users will also get additional information, including the business’s address, phone number, photos, reviews and more.

For the advertisers, some user actions are free and some have to be paid for. Free actions include saving business information for later, sharing a business with a friend, or starting navigation. 

But in order to provide the initial 'get location details' click, get directions, click-to-call and clicks on the ad headline, the advertisers will have to pony up the dough.

Google also says that it will be providing reporting on both free and paid for clicks.

To get started, Google says, advertisers have to add location extensions to their search campaigns or create an ad with AdWords Express. If yothe ur campaign is not showing ads on mobile devices or on Google search partners, they will also need to change those settings.

Now, don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge this type of advertising. In fact, it makes a lot of sense for local businesses to get their ads up on the Google Maps app; I know there have been plenty of times when I have been in a new place and had to find a restaurant or some other type of business in the area.

But if I need simple directions to go to a specific place, the last thing I want is to be inundated with ads for other places I might want to go. As long as Google can incorporate them so that they aren't intrusive, that will be fine. If those ads start taking up too much of my screen, then that will become a problem.

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