7 March 2024

The Exciting Updates to Google’s Mobile Search on Maps

By Ronald Smith

Last week was super exciting for PPC marketers like me! Google made some awesome announcements during the Google Performance Summit about changes coming to AdWords and Analytics, and they’re all about mobile!

I was blown away by the mind-blowing mobile stats Google shared. They even introduced something called Expanded Text Ads and gave us a sneak peek of the snazzy new Google AdWords interface. Wowza!

But the cherry on top was the big change – what Google is calling the next generation of local search ads. So what exactly does this mean? What’s changing?

Well, my friends, I’ve got answers to the top 10 questions you are probably asking (or should be asking!) about these new local search ads on Google Maps.

1. How Exactly Are the Local Search Ads on Google Maps Changing?

The new Google Maps ads are here to help businesses get noticed when you’re looking online for somewhere to eat or shop, especially on your phone.

In the next few weeks and months, Google will be showing off some new ad formats and features on Maps. These changes are meant to bring more people to your physical store. There will be Promoted Pins with brand logos, special deals you can get in the store, customizable business pages, and even a way to see what products are in stock.

Google wants to make sure the ads on Maps are helpful, but not distracting or annoying. They don’t want anything to get in the way if you’re driving, so they won’t be showing big pop-up ads or playing sounds.

Google started putting ads on Maps back in 2013.

2. Where will the New Ads be Shown?

I’ve got some exciting news about Google maps to share with you. You know those ads you sometimes see when you search for something on Google? Well, now they’re going to show up on Google maps too! Pretty cool, right?

Here’s the best part – these new ads will appear in several different places. You can find them in the Google Maps app, on the Google Maps website, and even on Google.com when you search for location-related stuff.

If you use the Google Maps app, you’ll notice a special ad with a purple label right at the top. It’ll be right above all the regular search results. So, it’ll be hard to miss!

When you search for something on Google Maps, you might see up to two ads at the top of the search results. These ads will also have a purple label, so you’ll know they’re ads and not regular search results.

Now, here’s something interesting. On Google.com, when you click on the More places link at the bottom of the Local 3-Pack, you’ll see a special ad on top of the other map results. This ad will have a yellow label so you know it’s an ad.

3. Why is Google doing this?

I want to talk to you about the importance of physical stores in today’s world. Did you know that around 90 percent of all global sales actually happen in physical stores, rather than online? It’s amazing how much business is still done in person!

Now, let’s talk about the power of location-based searches. Have you ever noticed that almost a third of all mobile searches are related to location? People are always looking for things nearby, whether it’s a restaurant, a store, or even a gas station. In fact, location-related searches have been growing 50 percent faster than mobile searches overall in the past year. It’s clear that people value information about their surroundings.

One tool that has become essential for navigating the world is Maps. Did you know that over a billion people now use Maps? It’s a fantastic resource for finding your way and discovering new places. In fact, Google searches on Google.com and Maps guide consumers to 1.5 billion destinations every year. That’s a lot of exploring!

But it’s not just about finding the right place. It’s also about supporting local businesses. A whopping 84 percent of consumers conduct local searches. People want to know what’s available in their area and support their community. It’s a great way to discover new shops and services right in your own backyard.

And here’s some impressive statistics for you. Three out of every four people who search for something nearby using their smartphone actually end up visiting a store within a day. That’s a lot of foot traffic! And even more exciting, 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase. So, if you’re a business owner, it’s clear that being visible online and having a strong physical presence can really pay off.

So, let’s remember the value of physical stores and the importance of location-based searches. With the help of tools like Maps, we can find what we need and support our local businesses. Happy exploring!

If you have a physical store and want to grow, it’s super important that you make it really easy for people to find you online when they use their smartphone to search for what you sell.

4. What are Promoted Pins?

Google will soon introduce Promoted Pins to Maps. These special pins are designed to help your business stand out to people who are nearby or who will pass by your store. It’s your chance to be unique in a sea of similar businesses.

For instance, if you own a restaurant, your ad might convince someone walking by to grab a bite to eat. Or if you want people to stop at your gas station, your Promoted Pin could convince them to come in and fill up their tanks.

This is what Promoted Pins look like:

If you want to attract more customers to your business, a good promotion can do wonders.

Let me give you an example. Imagine you just successfully bought contact solution at Walgreens and you’re heading back home. There’s a Starbucks a few blocks away, and you’re a loyal customer. To entice you to stop by, Starbucks could use a special offer on Google Maps. They might show you a Promoted Pin that gives you $1 off any drink if you use your rewards card.

5. How Does Google Maps Decide Which Ads to Show?

With so many stores near your location, you might wonder how Google Maps chooses which ads to display. Well, Google claims that it uses a mix of different signals to determine the most relevant listings for each searcher. These signals include:

  • The context of your search query.
  • Your current location.
  • Your search and browsing history.
  • Your interests.
  • Your online behaviors.
  • The time of day.
  • Your demographics.

Guess what? Google Maps is actually doing something pretty cool that’s kinda similar to how they show ads on the Google Display Network.

Now, here’s the really interesting part. If Google knows that you don’t usually go to Starbucks, they won’t bother showing you any Starbucks ads on Google Maps. Pretty clever, right?

6. So, What Else is New with Google Maps?

Well, they’re giving local pages a whole new look, all with the goal of getting more people to visit your store.

When someone taps on a local search ad, they’ll be taken to a page that advertisers can customize. This page will have all the important info about your business, like store hours, phone number, address, and driving directions.

But wait, there’s more! Businesses can also showcase special offers that are only available at their promoted location, like 10% off an item. Plus, people will be able to search for items in your store’s inventory right on Google. Of course, Google will only show the inventory if it’s actually relevant to your business.

7. How Can I Show What Products Are Available in My Store?

Did you know that a lot of people avoid going to stores because they’re not sure if the thing they want is in stock? It’s true! That’s why it’s important to let people know what products you have available at your store. You can do this by adding a special section to your local page where people can search through your inventory.

But how do you actually show this information? Well, it’s pretty simple. All you have to do is give Google a list of the products you have in stock. They have some rules and guidelines that you can read about on their website.

8. How Much Will It Cost to Advertise My Business Locally?

  • Provide details about your location
  • Show people how to get to your store
  • Make it easy for them to call you

9. When Will I Be Able to Advertise My Business Locally?

10. What Should Location-Based Businesses Do?

While you’re waiting to access the new ads, there are a few things you can do right away.

First and foremost, you need to enable location extensions. Only ads with location extensions enabled will be eligible to appear. Location extensions have been proven to have a positive impact on your performance.

You can start advertising with local search ads on Google Maps immediately. Just make sure that all the information in your Google My Business is complete, accurate, and up to date. Any incorrect information will make it more difficult for people to find you when they are ready to make a purchase. And they might be ready right now.