Google’s next big ad play: Maps and directions

Google has begun building out next phase of its advertising business around its ability to track users” location in real-time.

Driving the news: The company has begun publicly talking about its next big money-maker: Maps.

  • It toldAd Age last week, “We want to be able to highlight things that are around you and surface them nearby to you in a way that’s not disrupting your experience.»
  • Between the lines: It’s also beefing up the ads that it will serve via its real-time directions app Waze, which saidlast month it is teaming with ad giant WPP (via its ad-buying arm GroupM) to help it develop new ad formats.
  • In a pitch deck revealed to Digidaylast month, the company said it would sell ads that try to convince drivers to alter their routes by using things like «branded pins» that would guide drivers to nearby stores or restaurants.

Yes, but: «Scale and location is not just about real-time, it’s about receptivity,» says Andrew Essex, CEO of Plan A and and author of «The End of Advertising.»

  • For this reason, the out-of-home (billboard) industry has been able to champion real-time, location-based advertising as it moves into mobile ad-serving partnerships. These companies have for years used real-time location data to serve users ads that mimic the ones they see on billboards or subway posters.


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