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15 May 18

Changes to Google Maps and What it Means for Your Business

Alice Khau | Digital Industry News

If you haven’t yet heard, Google Maps has announced that beginning on July 16th, 2018, that they’ll be introducing Google Maps Platform, the new frontier from Google Maps Business with a series of updates designed to make it easier for users to start taking advantage of new location-based features and products.

Since Google Maps opened their doors in 2013, Maps has transformed the way in which we get to work, look for the closest cafe and browse products and services online. Up until now, this has been a free service that businesses have been able to take advantage of to lure more business and create brand awareness.

Now, starting June 11, Google is simplifying their 18 individual APIs into three products: Maps, Routes, and Places and a new pay-as-you-go pricing plan will come into effect. However, this new plan gives advertisers more flexibility and control over how they use Google’s APIs.

So, what does that mean?

Firstly, no code changes are required. Google tells us these updates will work with your existing code.

Secondly, Google has merged their standard and premium plans to form one pay-as-you-go pricing plan for their core products. With this new plan, developers will receive the first $200 of monthly usage for free. For most, their monthly usage will fit snug into this offer. The added benefit too, is no annual, up-front commitments, termination fees or usage limits. And Google is even rolling out free customer support.

Thirdly, the changes to Google Maps Platform means advertisers will be integrated with Google Cloud Platform Console to make it easier for businesses to track usage, manage projects, and discover new innovative Cloud products.

And what about these new features?

The new Google Maps Platform ads are designed to bring greater visibility to businesses while assisting users in searches when they need them most. That means as users are searching in real time, they are greeted with real-time offers and promotions – particularly on a mobile device. The new Google Maps Platform has also ensured that while users see the ads, they also won’t bombard searches and directions, and nor will they become a distraction to drivers who use Maps for GPS purposes.

Let’s break down the new enhancements:

Promoted Pins

This new concept allows a business to drive higher foot traffic to a location physically. If a user searches for a cafe nearby, a promoted pin can display a logo, real-time directions, phone number and reviews as well as the time it will take to get to the location, allowing for a more significant selling tool for a business, and an enhanced experience for the user.
Google will also use a variety of logic to determine if your ad is the right type of advertisement for the user. For example, it will take into consideration the query context, location, search history, interests, behaviours, time of day and demographics to name a few. This means both the business and the user are both serving and being served relevant content.

In addition to the promoted pins, advertisers can add a promotion to help drive conversion, which brings us to our next point.

In-store Promotions

Across the board, in-store promotions can appear on promoted pins, business pages and local inventory searches. A fairly simple yet effective addition to assisting brand awareness and support an offer to potential customers.

Customisable business pages

Local pages are getting a facelift too and are designed in mind to drive greater foot traffic. This allows an advertiser to display essential business details such as store hours, phone number, address, and driving directions.

Local inventory search

This new feature allows a user to find out if a specific product they are after is available in store. Advertises can bring local inventory to their new customisable local page for this to be visible. Businesses can also create a promotion around their products in this space, too.

How do I update my Google Maps Platform?

According to Google, firstly, you’ll need to enable billing with your credit card and have a valid API key for all projects. This will give you the ability to scale easily with less downtime and fewer performance issues. If this is not done by the 11th June, Google Maps will not work on your website! Google have provided a guide for advanced users and those who are just getting started to help you understand the changes. Aside from retaining the Google Map to guide your users and customers, there’s also a couple other options up for considerations; you can replace the map with a photographic image of your location or even redesign a map with your customised branding.

Chromatix are on hand to help your business transition into the new phase of Google Maps Platform. Simply give us a call on (03) 9912 6403 and we can get the ball rolling.

Some Useful Links – 

Read more at Google

Permissions and Map Usage Rights