Now that the new Google Maps app has been made available for Apple devices (iPhone/iPad availability came shortly after the release for Android devices) Google has begun tinkering with the ad experience users see in the app. And they’ve released a new mobile ad format within the app.
The new mobile ad format comes on the heels of some other aggressive changes that came with the new Google Maps desktop view, such as a noticeable loss of a local SERP which was replaced with an expanded map view and a Local Carousel of images.
Similar to the new Google Maps desktop view where a single ad will appear in the top right-hand corner (info card) with an option just above it to click into a SERP list of relevant local businesses, the mobile view also displays a single business listing result. When a mobile ad is not available for the search term and designated location, Google will display a single organic result which is based on many relevant local ranking factors.
When an ad is eligible to appear Google will display that ad in place of the single organic result at the bottom of your mobile screen.
Google has integrated multiple trackable actions for the new local maps display ads. The metrics are broken out and downloadable from within your Adwords campaign and they include some actions that the advertiser is charged for and some that the advertiser is not charged for. For clarity on the paid vs. free distinctions Google broadly defines in the following manner:
A click is also an “ad interaction.” Any time a customer places their cursor over your ad, they are interacting with the ad, whether they click the ad or not. If they click on certain portions of the ad, and the ad is interactive, some of those interactions will be free. In those cases the interaction is considered a “free click.” For more details see Google Adwords Support
Based on this criterion, when a user taps or slides up the ad result, in order to get more information about the business, the advertiser will be charged for an initial click. Google calls this a new type of ad click a “Get location details” click and assigns a CPC charge to it.
Once users have clicked into the ad to view more details about the business there are a bevy of actions that can be taken. Actions that the advertiser is charged for include:
- Get Directions
- Ad Headline clicks
Free actions include the following:
- Saving Business Information
- Sharing a Business
- Beginning navigation
To setup the Google Maps app local ads you need to setup location extensions within your Adwords campaign and the campaigns must be opted into advertising with Google’s search partners.
Performance is yet to be determined but you can expect an update to this post in the near future outlining our early findings. One initial performance concern we have is that as users are still being conditioned to interact with the new Google Maps App they are fumbling through the navigation. That unfamiliarity will likely lead to these new ads receiving a lot of extraneous clicks for the new click type “Get location details” when users swipe upward looking for more results and are not really interested in seeing more details about the particular business being displayed in the ad. Since up-to-two actions can be charged per search user with the new ad format we could see some expensive cost results in comparison to costs delivered with other Adwords Ads, or even in comparison with Google Display Network ad costs. Essentially each qualified user will account for two clicks being charged to the advertiser and many unqualified users will still generate the initial click via an upward swipe at least until users become more familiar with the new ad format.
So, as with any other new ad format make sure to test cautiously in the early stages and optimize often. Have fun!