Google has made some significant changes to its AdWords platform, beefing up its local search ad products. The search giant is bringing local search ads to Google Maps, allowing brands to surface their local search ads when a user searches for certain keywords in the Google Maps app or its web version. The company is also experimenting with a new ad unit called Promoted Pins (not to be confused with Pinterest’s ad product of the same name), which enables brands to put their logos on their store locations in Google Maps to make them easily identifiable among the generic map icons.
Besides these two major additions, Google also expanded the text preview of AdWords ads, enhanced ad image responsiveness, and tweaked its ad bidding process to allow advertisers to place bids for specific device types.
What Brands Need To Do
Altogether, these changes should make AdWords a more robust ad platform for brands. The two new additions to its local ads, in particular, should help retailers and quick-service restaurants drive more foot traffic to their stores. As Google remains a dominating force in the local search market, brands should be aware of the new products and changes Google unveils and take full advantage of them to reach consumers in moments that matter.
The latest update to the Google Maps Android app quietly added a new feature that lets users find places to stop along the current route. Now you can search for gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and more mid-route without leaving the navigation mode, and Google will show you results that are relatively close to the path you’re currently on.
What Brands Need To Do
With the addition of this new feature, Google is effectively adding hyperlocal search to in-car navigations, while also laying down the foundation for monetization opportunities, presumably in the form of sponsored pit stops. Local businesses could benefit greatly from this new feature, so it is important to get your store location and other relevant information properly indexed by Google.
Source: The Verge
Google has relaunched its old “Photo Sphere Camera” app as a new “Street View” app to further tap into user-generated 360-degree imagery to improve the overall Google Maps experience. The new app will allow users to create panoramic “photo spheres” and share them to Google Map as well as browsing through photo spheres shared by others.
What Brands Should Do
As Google continues to improves its Maps with more brand-friendly, hyperlocal features, brands would be smart to get on board so as to reach the consumers searching on mobile for local inquiries. One way that brands can use this new app, for instance, would be to create virtual tours of their storefronts to appeal to potential customers searching for store locations with an immersive experience.
Header image taken from Google Street View in App Store
Google has added more curated recommendations to the “Explore” tab of Google Maps mobile app, continuing its efforts to beef up its hyperlocal search offerings. Available now in NYC, San Francisco, and London, the update focuses primarily on restaurant recommendations, adding various filters that aim to help users quickly find nearby places to eat or drink. Back in July, the search giant also added direct hotel booking to its service.
What Brands Should Do
According to recent reports, search queries with local intent is taking up nearly half of all U.S. search volume, and half of them lead to store visit, something that local businesses and stores should capitalize on. This update brings Google Map into direct competition with others in the local discovery market such as Yelp and Foursquare. While the majority of the curations are created based on the algorithm, Google notes that, in specific neighborhoods, editorial insights will also be included to “highlight the local flavor.” This certainly leaves the door open for brands and local businesses to get on the front pages of Explore.
Though Google bought Waze – the social mapping, traffic, and navigation app – some time ago, the two are now sharing their respective features for the first time. The Google Maps app for iOS and Android will feature real-time incident reports from Waze users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. In the Waze app, Google Search will now feature prominently, and Google Street View is now accessible within the Waze Map Editor. As the two apps continue to fuse it will be interesting to see if they can combine to be greater than the sum of their parts.
Today, version 7 of Google maps was launched, boasting a new discovery feature, as well as enhanced navigation. The new update is cleaner and faster, and allows you to discover nearby places to eat, drink, and shop by simply tapping the search box. Enhanced navigation shows real-time traffic congestion, incidents ahead, and suggests alternate routes. Zagat is fully integrated into search results, with curated lists and rating systems. Though it’s not a radical shift in the direction of Maps, it’s certainly a step closer to the merging of maps and search. The update is presently available for Android devices, with an iOS build coming in the near future.
The crowd-sourced directions provider today proved that it’s showing Facebook exactly what it’s missing. Before, users had to sift through Facebook to find the event, copy and paste the data into Google maps, and follow Google’s direction. Now, if you RSVP to an event on Facebook and click the Facebook button on Waze, directions will appear 48 hours prior to the event. If there is no address listed in the event, other guests can input the correct address. Waze will also show you the locations and timing of other friends who have RSVP’d to the event, allowing you to track their progress. How this affects the three-way bidding war for the startup remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction; social driving just got a major upgrade.
Apple continued its mapping walk of shame yesterday as Google Maps rocketed to the top free app spot in the app store on its first night. The lesson to be learned here is that while you may want to crush your competitors and limit their real estate on your device, you better be able to back that up with a great equivalent product. If you don’t, it’s bound to backfire.