We all know that Google makes several changes each month, and it can be hard to keep track of what’s coming and what’s going!
To make things a little easier, we want to recap some of the important changes that we’ve seen throughout the month.
Let’s get started!
1. Business Locations Appearing in Google Maps
If you are running local campaign ads, you have the option to appear in Google Maps!
Similar to ads on Google-owned Waze, you can have your business location appear when someone is getting directions in Maps.
So, how does it work? A pin will be displayed for your business if someone is taking a route that passes your business. The user will be able to tap the pin to see your ad/listing as well as click “Add Stop” to include the stop in their route.
Coffee shops, smoothie shops or any other quick restaurant could really benefit from utilizing this advertising strategy. This is another way to get in front of consumers at the right place and at the right time.
2. Incognito Mode for Google Maps
Google Maps saw many updates in November, so let me explain one more while it’s on our mind.
Google announced that Android and iOS users will be able to do incognito (private) searches within Google Maps. When a user utilizes incognito mode, they can navigate Google Maps without having their search information saved to their account (similar to how incognito mode works in web browsers).
When someone is using incognito mode, Google is unable to serve personalized recommendations because there is no previous search history.
While this may seem frustrating to businesses who work hard to improve their online presence, it’s a way to protect a user’s privacy while giving them more control. Businesses shouldn’t see incognito mode as a threat!
Overall, Google wants to create a balance for consumer privacy and ad personalization. Let consumers decide for themselves if they want to search publicly or privately.
Be on the lookout for our buzzwords blog next month to learn more about consent and privacy for users.
3. Google Maps Tests New Social Networking Feature
This is the last Google Maps update for this month, I promise!
Similar to other social networks, Google Maps will be testing a feature that allows people to follow Local Guides.
The following feature will allow users to easily discover new businesses, events and sales through the Local Guide program.
The pilot program for this feature currently includes London, Mexico City, New York and San Francisco to name a few. If all goes as planned, the feature will be released to even more markets.
One major caveat with this is that the information about businesses from the Local Guide program is from consumers, not professionals or the business itself.
Which means that some of the information from the reviews may be biased, incorrect or unhelpful to other users. However, Google doesn’t seem concerned with the potential problems this may cause.
Only time will tell!
4. Google My Business (GMB) Removes Toll-Free Phone Support
If you’ve ever had an issue with your GMB listing, it’s likely you’ve called their support line (we definitely called them a lot about client listings) to speak to a Google representative directly.
Well, that feature is now gone, but don’t panic! It may seem stressful at first, but Google has provided an alternative.
Moving forward, you’ll be asked to visit the Google My Business Help Center and fill out this form to request a call. You’ll still be able to talk to a Google representative, but you won’t be able to immediately speak to them.
As things continue, Google will most likely make adjustments and response times will pick back up.
When you work with a marketing partner like RevLocal, we can handle these problems so you don’t have to worry about getting a response back.
Overall, Google Maps made some major moves in November. Everything from promoted pins to a new social feature. I’m sure there will be more information about the Maps section to come next month, so stay tuned!
And let’s not forget about the Google toll-free support line going away. Just as many other changes that occur, we’ll slowly get used to this one.
These weren’t the only changes we saw with Google this month! Check out some of our blogs that cover the other updates in detail:
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