If you search Google Maps right now, you’ll see little gray generic icons beside the names of businesses to denote their field. Dollar signs for banks, fork and spoon for an eatery, a tiny shopping bag for stores and something that looks like a snail shell for art galleries. (??)
In the quest to make every single pixel count, Google is going to change some of those generic icons to tiny logos for popular brands. According to a report by Brandweek, Google has been testing the idea in Australia and now it’s opening it up to US users. Bank of America, HSBC, Target and Public Storage are the first icons you’ll see on your maps. Right now, Google says they are only offering the option to large brand names with multiple locations and they aren’t sure if it’s a feature that will stick.
Advertisers will be paying for the tiny ad on a CPM basis and they say they’ll be providing stats detailing the number of impressions and unique users. Still, this seems like it’s going to be a hard one to measure. Public Storage says they see this as an added bonus for their clients because “convenience of location is a very important benefit for our consumers.”
The question is, will they have to pay if my mouse skims over their icon while I’m looking for the nearest McDonalds? The pop-ups do offer a link back to the company’s website, so you could measure success that way.
What do you think? Is having a tiny representation of your logo worth paying for on Google Maps? Guess we’ll find out, if and when they roll out the program to customers of every size in the US.