Google has been experimenting with adding more information and ads to Google Maps, driving online searches to in-store purchases. The new local search ads across Google Maps will use beacon technology to support targeted ads and information.
Consumers using Google Maps may begin to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving or walking route. Search results in maps will begin to serve prominent ads for nearby businesses.
When consumers type "coffee near me" into the Google Maps app search bar, a business that paid for an ad would appear first in the search results. Now Google will add beacon technology, with the ability for ads to serve on the phone based on location and proximity to a specific store and advertiser.
Tim Krozek, CEO at Boost Media, said the beacons that trigger advertisements based on location on Google Maps are great, when they work. Knowing the consumer is part of the challenge, and it has become obvious that the challenge becomes making certain the beacons trigger the correct advertisements to the correct person at the correct time.
"If I am looking for a cup of coffee and Google shows me a gas station, which might sell coffee, that’s annoying," he said. "Chances are I want a Starbucks or Philz, and not instant coffee from AMPM."
He said the technology and the results remain nascent. It sometimes works correctly -- and when it does it’s good, but when it doesn't, it's annoying.
Google estimates that monthly, people visit 1.5 billion destinations related to what they searched for on Google, and 30% of searches are related to locations.
Several leading U.S. retailers have deployed beacon networks, with Macy's installing more than 4,000 in its stores, according to Juniper Research. The research firm forecasts marketers will deliver nearly 1.6 billion coupons annually to consumers via beacon technology by 2020, up from just 11 million in 2016, as retailers seek to develop proximity marketing campaigns in and around their stores.