Without question, Google Maps is one of the most widely used and highly regarded navigation apps in the industry, but an upcoming change might be enough to convince some users to give other apps a try.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Google revealed that it will begin experimenting with local search ads on Google Maps. Ads for nearby businesses will appear on both the desktop and mobile version of Google Maps, giving advertisers the ability to show off their stores when users search for goods or services they carry.
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Additionally, Google is testing out several ad formats in order to help businesses increase store visits from Maps users. One of these formats is known as a “promoted pin,” which shows up as a logo of the business on Google Maps. (You can see what that might look like in the header image with the Walgreens logo.)
Google is also upgrading pages for local business, giving users the option to explore the store from Google Maps. Product inventory, special offers and more can be added to the page to entice nearby shoppers to visit.
If you’ve ever used Yelp, you’re probably already familiar with the basic premise of Google’s latest advertising scheme — promoted restaurants appear above the standard results, carrying an “Ad” label to let you know someone paid for that spot. It’s relatively unobtrusive in Yelp, but as often as many of us use Google Maps, it’s hard to say whether or not ads crowding the screen will have users jumping ship.