Mobile devices have greatly changed the way consumers interact with information and retailers. Google has wisely invested a lot of resources into making the mobile experience better for consumers and business owners alike. Two recent changes from Google show that the company is still thinking of ways to make mobile better. Last week, a test and a policy change from Google shows new desktop and mobile opportunities for marketers.
Sometimes, people see things when searching from their desktop at home, but then the thing they were looking at slips their mind when they are out in public. Google is testing an ad feature that might help local advertisers use desktop PPC ads with greater success. Google Now users can now set reminders to visit a store the next time they’re in the vicinity, right from some AdWords ads.
The tests of the new “Remind me when I’m nearby” automated extension were seen in the ads of several large retailers, including Macy’s, on desktop search results. These were first spotted by Jennifer Slegg at The SEM Post .
Clicking or tapping on a location-based store reminder brings up a Google Now card that shows a reminder is set to trigger when the user is near one of the retailer’s stores. Right now, the reminder feature in ads has only been seen in desktop ads, the alerts will clearly go to mobile phones.
This feature will be extremely useful for local advertisers who are using desktop PPC ads. The reminders will give marketers a way to remind mobile consumers of something they showed interest in when they were in front of their desktop. Retailers can advertise their in-store specials on desktop and have customer set a reminder for themselves when they happen to be nearby.
Another mobile-friendly change involves the Local Guides (formerly City Experts) program that Google uses to incentivize reviewers. Google created the program in the mold of the Yelp Elite Squad two years ago with the hope of gaining more “high-quality” local business reviews.
Reviewers who meet certain quality guidelines gain points for each review they do. For example, under the old system, once a contributor wrote 50 reviews, they were able to join an exclusive club with all kinds of benefits. The revamped system now has points for various action and new rewards for the various levels of Local Guides.
According to the blog post announcing the changes to the program, Google says, “You can earn points and level up by writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, fixing outdated information, and answering simple questions. Each contribution type is worth one point, so you can earn up to five points per place.”
The rewards range from being entered into contests for Google-related prizes, such as new devices. Level 3 guides can have their Local Guide badge and information shown in the Google Maps app. And the highest level members will get a chance to go to Google’s headquarters.
This new system benefits consumers and business owners. By broadening the program, Google has enlisted the aid of reviewers in keeping information updated and accurate. This benefits mobile searchers greatly, who depend on the information from Google Maps and Reviews to determine where they will go.
Encouraging people to leave reviews is good for business owners. As has been covered in previous articles on this site, studies show that consumers trust the reviews they see online almost as much as the recommendations they receive from family and friends.
For more recent news on mobile marketing, read this article about Facebook’s plan to improve local ads.