Google Takes Its Maps Into Local Ad Market

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Google's entrance into the local business ad market Friday is expected to benefit the overall local search advertising industry.


It launched local business ads in beta to let its AdWords advertisers in the United States, Canada and Britain promote their "location-based products and services." The ads are integrated into Google's maps.


"The market is so young now [that] any innovation by any of the players tends to raise the tide for the other major players," said Heath Clarke, chairman/CEO of Interchange Corp., Irvine, CA, which owns Local.com.


Matt Booth, vice president of interactive local media at The Kelsey Group, Princeton, NJ, agrees.


"Local.com and a lot of folks buy traffic from the large portals," he said. "It is good for everybody because there are more traffic opportunities."


Google launched the local business ads service after testing it for at least five months with large advertisers such as Barnes & Noble, Booth said.


He expects Google to monetize the service not only with the search engine's current AdWords' advertiser base but also with Verizon's client base. Because Verizon said last week that it is becoming an AdWords reseller, it may load up a "large base of advertisers" into Google's local business ad program, Booth predicted.


Google also offers something different in the local search ad market: ads integrated into maps.


"This is the first time anyone has integrated pay-per-performance elements onto a map," Booth said.


Ads appear as part of Google's maps on Google Local and in text-only format on Google.com and other sites in the Google network. When a Google Local user searches, up to three local business ads may appear as "sponsored links" below the search results. The highlighted listing includes the advertiser's business name, two description lines, its URL and the business's physical address, culled from Google Local's business listings.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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