Local Search Ads on Google Maps

Martin Brinkmann
May 25, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google, Google Maps

Google Maps users may soon see a new form of advertising when they use the popular mapping service that displays local search ads when the product is being used.

The ads will be displayed on Google Maps for the desktop and for mobile. Desktop users, those who use a web browser on a desktop computer to access Google Maps, will see ads in two places according to Google.

First, within the search results list right underneath the search box as the first search result. The result is highlighted with a purple Ad icon underneath its title but that is the only difference when compared to the organic results.

google maps ads

The result is highlighted in purple on the map as well which distinguishes them from regular organic listings on the map.

Google notes that a click on the ad in the search box or on the pin on the map itself will show details about the business. The ad furthermore may have a directions button which uses Google Maps' Directions function to direct users to the location.

The new local ad listing on Google Maps will have an impact organic search results as fewer organic rankings are shown when users search on Google Maps.

It is also fact that the first listing receives the bulk of user actions, and since the ad is not really that distinguishable from regular listings, it is likely that this is the case here as well.

Local search ads on Google Maps for mobile work in pretty much the same fashion. When you search using the Google Maps application on a supported mobile device, an ad may be returned as the first result.

Its listing displays the purple ad icon, and its listing on the map itself is also highlighted in pink.

CBS News has some background information on the implementation. According to the company, Google will tailor ads to user interest based on past searches and other activities using Google services.

So, instead of just displaying matching ads to users when they search, a search for restaurant could push a local restaurant ad to the user, Google dives deeper by analyzing the user's past activity.

It is unclear how far this goes, but a scenario could look like this: Google notes that the user likes to eat at McDonalds, so when a search for restaurant is recorded, Google might push an ad for a nearby McDonalds over other restaurant businesses.

Now You: Which mapping service do you use and why?

Local Search Ads on Google Maps
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Local Search Ads on Google Maps
Google Maps users may soon see a new form of advertising when they use the popular mapping service that displays local search ads when the product is being used.
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  1. Adithya FRK said on June 1, 2016 at 5:03 am

    Off topic;
    Google is still stuck with Orkut

  2. Tom Hawack said on May 25, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    What sort of ad will a Gmail user get after having received an email from his girlfriend stating she’s putting an end to their relationship and then searching for “escort” around Paris or Bangkok?! Just wondering.

    So, remains a map service somewhere amid advertisement. Lesser organic results, difficulty to distinguish them from ads on the map. What a thrilling adventure.

    Google Maps and Google Images are the only two Google services I continue to use regularly. Also OpenStreetMap which is excellently done, Wikimapia which gathers maps from Google, OpenStreetMap and Bing, but most often GMaps because up to now it appears to me as the most complete. Also ‘Here’ though it’s far less valuable IMO. Bing Maps is bothering, too much wasted screen space, clumsy, slow compared to Google Maps and its ‘Bird’ view redraws the screen far too slowly when moving nswe. I don’t use Google Maps for finding businesses, only addresses so I’ll sit on their new ads (should they appear when I use uBlock origin) as I do in a bathroom.

    Nothing is irreplaceable, especially on the Web. Stand-by is my approach and, beyond dogmatism, I remain pragmatic : if fed-up I just move to another similar service. Being fed-up is not always rational, I guess they don’t always consider this when they modify a policy. Like people, sometimes they’ve done no harm but you just cannot bear them any longer, hard to explain. So if this happens with Google Maps or Google Images, I’ll just avoid them as I avoid Google Web search, not a problem.

  3. windows said on May 25, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I don’t know if it’s already reported here or not. I read somewhere that google images will contain ads too

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