Posted March 18, 2010 10:53 am by with 5 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Google is testing a new opportunity for companies to advertise in Google Maps. While the tests are only being run Down Under (Australia) it doesn’t mean that they are being secretive. The idea is a way to for companies to make their listings on Google Maps stand out a bit more thus increasing their exposure. While this would seem to be perfectly suited for mobile users it is currently only being rolled out on desktop and notebook environments.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports

Google has begun putting ads on its popular maps pages in Australia, a sign that the search engine giant wants to convert more of the high traffic to its websites into advertising dollars.

Logos for Bankwest, JB Hifi, LJ Hooker, NAB and Chemist Warehouse have started to appear on maps when users zoom in close.

Australia is the first country to trial display ads in maps which, if successful, will be rolled out across the world, the company said today.

The ads look like this

The article continues by reporting that the model will be impressions based for advertisers.

But, unlike Google’s usual advertising model where advertisers must bid for certain keywords for their ads to appear in paid for search listings, Google is reverting to a more traditional ad model of charging companies every time a web user sees their logo on the page.

And this being Google it is not as simple as a company paying for its logo to be on the maps. Advertisers must be ‘‘relevant’’ to be listed and for Google to allow their logos to appear on its maps pages.

Google is taking its usual approach by putting the user experience above all else, officially, but we all know that this is about money in the long run. This particular addition to maps could be a strong one though, because the visual cue of a logo that has relevance to a search could very well impact search behavior. People want to be led through the search process and anything that involves images speeds that process along more easily. Boy, that really says a lot about us search users doesn’t it?

Right now, there is nothing to report as to if this will ever be done outside of Australia. Of course, if there is even a modicum of success you can expect to see this on your maps in the US and elsewhere sooner than later.