Google Map Ads Leverage Location for Mobile Search

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-07-31

Google is looking to target ads to smartphone users who often use Google Maps to get directions and find businesses.  

The company July 29 introduced new AdWords location extensions that let advertisers put their businesses' location and phone number on an expandable map ad for mobile Websites and applications in Google's content network.

Google Maps users will see such ads surface as banner text ads with a business icon that expands to show the business location on a Google map along with the ad creative, click-to-call phone number and directions.

The ads will render on phones with full HTML browsers, such as Apple's iPhone and the Motorola Droid X.

While it might seem that a Google ad that leverages user location would leverage the GPS capabilities of handsets as well as Google's location servers, Google told Search Engine Land the ad is merely set up to track via IP address for now.

"By providing mobile consumers more options to connect with your business you can drive more traffic to your store, visits to your website or calls to your business," wrote Dai Pham, Google Mobile Ads Marketing Team member, in a blog post.

Pham added that business advertisers are not charged when users click to expand the map or get directions; advertisers are only charged when a user clicks to call the business or clicks to visit its Website.

Advertisers who want instructions on how to set up location extensions for mobile apps and Websites, go here.

The expandable map ads build on Google's January launch of its click-to-call location extensions for search ads.

Click-to-call ads let advertisers add local business numbers alongside their destination URLs in mobile search ads.

When smartphone users search for a local business from their mobile phone and see ads that have these numbers, they may simply click the number to call the business.

These ads have proved quite successful. Google AdSense partner Carnival Cruises increased bookings from mobile phones by 175 percent when it began offering click-to-call ads, said Google Senior Vice President of Product Management Jonathan Rosenberg.

Click-through rates are up 6 percent when Google provides a phone number and 8 percent when it offers a local address with ads.

Generally, Google has to feel great about its mobile ad prospects given that most users who search from their phones do so on Google.

A new count from Royal Pingdom July 29 shows Google racked up 98 percent of all searches through July.

It helps that Google is the default search engine on Apple's iPhone and that a cohort of more than 60 smartphones have been released to run on Google's Android platform.

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