Talking tech since 2003

Google has long displayed local ads in search results, but ads aren’t something we’ve seen popping up in the Google Maps apps for iOS and Android. Of course, once upon a time, Google Maps was the default maps application in iOS and that stripped down app couldn’t really show ads. Now that Google has an independent Maps app on Apple devices, it’s free to do what it wants, and that now includes showing local ads when a user conducts searches. In addition to ads in the iOS version of Google Maps, the Android version will also support local advertising through AdWords.

google-maps-adThe feature, which doesn’t appear to require any kind of update to the Google Maps app itself, works like this: launch Maps and type in the name of a business or a type of company you want to search for (ex: “pizza”). When Google Maps returns its results to you, you may see an ad at the bottom of the screen in place of what is usually the closest match to your current location. You can expand that ad to view more information on that particular business, much like you would a normal search result item. The difference being, of course, that the business being shown is advertising and certain actions you take could cost them money.

Which actions are those? Asking Google Maps for location details on the business, getting directions, click the “call” button or clicking on the main ad headline. If you’re a business, there are a couple of actions a user can take that won’t cost you anything, such as saving your company’s information for later or sharing it with a friend. Ads that utilize Google Maps can be created inside AdWords with a location extension, or through Google’s simplified version of AdWords, AdWords Express.

If you want to take a look for yourself and try to call up an ad, you can jump into the Google Maps app for iOS or Android right now and conduct a search. Businesses that are interested in learning more about how to advertise inside Google Maps can visit Google’s help document on the matter.

I’m very interested in seeing how users respond to these ads. From the looks of it, Google won’t be trying to cram a bunch of them onto the screen the way they do AdWords on search results pages, but someone who is looking for the closest search result to their current location may find the ads annoying.

We’d love to get your thoughts on the new Google Maps ads. Do you think they’ll get in your way or, as long as Google puts out a good Maps product, are you indifferent to the advertising? Drop us a line below.


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