Google continues to work hard in trying to bring a rich mobile search experience to its users, and new ad-units rolling out today are a perfect example of the evolution.
Back in July, we covered Google’s introduction of expandable ad-units that incorporate maps for click-to-call and other rich functionality. While it was a great first step towards driving calls and foot traffic to physical locations, the targeting of the ads were still attributed to IP addresses. While it works, it’s certainly not ideal. With today’s introduction, the same functionality is now available within Google Maps for mobile, bringing with it the enhanced targeting capabilities found in the mapping application — such as GPS and triangulation.
Google announced the new addition using Sprint stores as an example. A user initiates a search for “Sprint” and sees sponsored icons on the map, for instance. Clicking on the banner or any of the location icons sends you to a Google Place Page for Sprint, which then gives you the ability to call a store or get directions. It also integrates seamlessly with Google navigation. The ad can literally take users “from search to store.” For the retailer, Google won’t charge for the click on the map icon or banner, only for calls or clicks on a URL.