Marketing To Google’s New Map Format

Marketing & Google's New Map Formating

Google yesterday made a very interesting announcement. In Google Maps they will be seeking to provide information more relevant to the task the user is performing.  That is to say, the points of interest they display on a map will vary based on their understanding of what task the user it trying to complete.  For example, if a user is driving they may display gas stations and road closures whereas if the same user is walking they would be more likely to display a coffee shop.

Google has also introduced some new color-codes and icons they’ll be using to assist users in quickly identifying what’s around them. Here’s their cheat sheet:

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As it’s core this is all great stuff. As a user it will likely prove helpful that Google will cater my map to what I’m doing. I hardly need to know what parking is like if I’m walking around a new city for example however knowing where a local coffee shop is might just fit the bill. So – a win there.

What’s going to prove more interesting however is the win for marketers.

In reading about this enhancement I couldn’t help but think of two patents Google was granted earlier this year on helping users avoid errors and on guiding purchase decisions via smartphone. This new map format is a move towards the first in filtering out that information which is not relevant to make clearer that which is and presumably showing more of what’s relevant. Where it gets really interesting is the inevitable proliferation of advertising in this space.

Presently Google is in the early days of advertising within maps. With systems such as this however their understanding of a user’s interaction with the world is getting better and thus their understanding of how to target that user with an ad is also higher. Yes, there will be a lot of room for organic results in this space and for local SEOs this is probably one of the best things I’ve seen since the rollout of Google Places Google My Business. While this doesn’t have the impact on results that did it, does change the landscape those results are presented in, making it easier for users and more usable.

But the real win will be for paid search advertisers. Google understanding the intent and behavior of a user and having a palette catered to that will undoubtedly prove to be a boon for both marketers in targeting and users in interacting with the locations given knowing they’ll be relevant to their needs. Of course this second one also is a win for marketers.

This feature just rolled out and there’s obviously a lot of work to be done on the part of Google but I’m personally already thinking of ways to re-write ads in the context of knowing how the user is travelling (if they are) and different incentives extension uses that I’ll be looking at using. It’s still a bit off where I think it’s going but likely before next summer our targeting in local and on maps and the ads we can cater and likely to take a big step forward.

2 thoughts on “Marketing To Google’s New Map Format

  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the update. This post has made me understand the in and outs of the Update. let see how marketers run for it. 🙂

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