For a while now, Google has made its Google Map results front-and-center in search results, allowing searchers to immediately find nearby businesses that may fit their needs. Google has now started selling ad space for these coveted map listings. If you’re a business that relies onlocal customers, Google’s recent changes to Google Maps might have a big impact on the way you’re found online.
So What Changed?
When you load up Google Maps, you may now see special “promoted pins” that appear when you’re within a particular geographic area. Businesses target these particular areas with their ad campaigns, so you might see pins show up more prominently on the map when you cross into a geo-targeted area.
There’s no way for a mobile user to turn these ads off or make them optional, but it will be obvious that the promoted pins are ads – they appear in purple, rather than red, and their corresponding Google Maps listing will say “Ad” beneath it.
Right now, we know that the majority of searchers prefer organic links to paid ads in search engine results pages. Time will tell if that trend continues in Google Maps, or if users will be more likely to visit the businesses with promoted pins.
How Do You Get a Promoted Pin?
To buy ad space in Google Maps, you will need an up-to-date Google My Business listing and an AdWords account. You’ll need to specify the locations you’re targeting and provide a budget for the ad campaign. Prices will vary depending on the location and competition; getting premium listings in some highly competitive areas may become quite expensive.
How Will This Affect My Business?
If you’re already appearing in Google Maps, you may face new competition as other businesses in your niche and area start buying ad space. On the other hand, if you’re not yet ranking in Google Maps thanks to a newly opened business or brand new website, buying ad space here may be a smart investment. For businesses that rely on local customers, the geographically targeted ads may be highly effective.
Curious how all of this might affect your business and what we can do to keep you competitive in the ever-changing market of online search? Call us or send us an email! We’ll look into your specific rankings and situation and advise you on how to best take advantage of this Google Maps update.