Google Tests New Ad Features for Maps, Mobile and Local Search

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

googlelogo_color_284x96dpGoogle is constantly updating its services to make them better for the consumers and businesses who use them, or to make them more profitable for Google. It’s important for business owner and marketers to stay up to date on these tests, since they normally give indication on what official changes are on the way. Recently, marketers noticed three tests Google is currently conducting that may create new opportunities for marketers in the future.

The first test worth noting involves Google Maps. Though the exact purpose is unclear, Google is making the ads see in Map listings more prevalent. According to reports, Google is testing a purple “Ad” label in Maps that matches the purple pin noting the location of the advertiser on the map itself.

This may be an effort to make paid ads more prevalent in that the purple pin distinguishes it from the red organic pins. The new pins makes it easier to put an ad with a location, which is a benefit for the advertiser. However, the change also makes the fact that this is an ad more easy to see, which is something regulators are constantly watching for with Google.

The second recently discovered test involves Google’s local search for mobile devices. A SEO marketer named, Sergey Alakov captured the test and posted a screen shot of it on Twitter. From what can be told from the screenshots, Google is testing a new slimmed-down version of the local box results in the mobile interface.

Essentially, the screenshots show that in some local mobile search results, the information is presented without using the dropdown arrows. So instead of seeing click for more, most of the information is loaded on the slimmer box.

Not much is known about the reason for the change. The benefits may purely be aesthetic, or Google is thinking of ways to make the page less resource intensive for mobile devices.

“The slimmed-down version may only show in certain cases, maybe in a case where the user’s connection is poor, or maybe in a certain Google user interface A/B test,” mused Barry Schwartz in a post on Search Engine Land about the test.

The most important test right now involves ad headlines. Google is beginning to test a new format for text ads. These new Expanded Text Ads, which aren’t official yet, feature longer headlines along with changes to URL structures.

The big difference in this test is that the text ads will feature a double (extended) headline plus a longer-than-before 80-character count of description copy. The other change with this test is the display URL formatting. If the new format becomes available, advertisers will be able to add up to two paths or directories to the domain name for their ad.

Citing unnamed sources, Search Engine Land reported that “in the AdWords user interface, there will be a new field to enter the second headline, a single field for description copy and new fields for the Display URL paths”.

Keeping with tradition, Google has been relatively tight-lipped about any tests they are conducting. But if these tests become available products for all marketers, they could be big news for advertisers.

For more news about Google, read this article on Google’s expanded test for home services.

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