On Friday, Google posted the following on their Inside AdWords blog.
People use their mobile devices to discover and engage with the world around them. Searching for local information is one of the most common activities on mobile – in the US, 94% of respondents said they had done so, and nearly every surveyed country reported numbers over 80%. With Google Maps, they make informed decisions about places to see, shops to visit, meals to eat, and more.
To enable advertisers to better connect with potential customers via mobile search, we have redesigned our local ad formats for Google Maps for Mobile. These have produced measurable results – in initial tests, these redesigned formats increased click-through-rates by 100%. This visual redesign will be rolling out today to the newer versions of Android phones.
The difference is striking. Here is the before
VS the new
Now here is the problem. Whenever Apple announces something that will change with the iPhone there are few, if any, caveats that go along with it. If it is released for the iPhone then most every iPhone will be able to get it.
Not so much with Android. Could there be a more vague phrase than the one from Google which says “The visual redesign will be rolling out today to the newer versions of Android phones.” Any idea what that actually means? Which phone is considered newer these days? Is it by which version of the OS you are running, the actual newness of the phone itself? (UPDATE: We received this from a Google spokesperson regarding this very subject that said “To clarify, “newer versions of Android phones” refers to devices running Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich.” Since this correction is actually of Google’s own direct quote taken from their blog one wonders if anyone checks this stuff before the publish button gets pushed.)
This is one of the reasons that people get so frustrated with the whole Android fragmentation issue. It’s simply annoying to learn about a neat change in something but not being able to get it because you are not ‘current enough’ in what often seems to be a very arbitrary definition of what current even is. (Note, I was able to see an ad for a hotel which looked similar to this example on a Motorola DroidX running Gingerbread if that helps any).
As a marketer it would be nice to have an idea of just who can even see these ads as well. What percentage of current Android users will fit the profile of being a newer Android phone?
If you would like to learn more about the details of the ads please visit Google’s post. If you would like to see a case study from T-Mobile USA’s use of the service you can find it here.