Recently, Google announced that it would start allowing advertisers (that’s you, local business owners) to promote their businesses using “promoted pins” on Google maps.
Basically, this means that advertisers will be able to make their location show up to users when they are viewing Google maps for another purpose (such as getting driving directions from point A to point B).
Businesses will also be able to make their location show up at the top of search results when a search is done on Google maps for a local business.
You can read the full announcement on Google’s blog here.
It doesn’t provide a lot of details about how the program will work, and in my opinion actually raises more questions than it answers. The number one question on the mind of most local business owners about this announcement is probably “What does this mean for me?”
First of all, it appears that for the time being this advertising option is primarily designed for food and retail establishments with a relatively broad-based appeal. For example, coffee shops, hardware stores, gas stations, etc.–at least, these are the types of businesses Google uses as examples in their announcement. So, if you have a service-based business, for the time being you probably don’t need to worry about this news.
If you do have a food or retail business, on the other hand, you probably need to pay attention to this development and consider testing promoted pins as an advertising option. This doesn’t mean you need to jump in with both feet or even jump in at all, and I would actually advise that unless you are already using other pay-per-click advertising options successfully–such as search ads or re-targeting display ads–you should probably not dive right in to promoted pins.
However, what you should do is pay very close attention to how this new advertising option pans out, and monitor what your competitors are doing. The two things that are clear right now are that Google is committed to turning the increased use of mobile devices by consumers into increased advertising revenue, and that businesses who are not doing anything to get traffic from mobile device users will become increasingly irrelevant.
To learn more my take on what these new advertising options mean for your local business, listen to the latest episode of my podcast using the player below.