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Google AdWords Now Includes Automatic Location Extensions

Hitting the Location Extensions buttons in the Google Display and the separate Search Ad Network dashboards immediately provides store hours and images within AdWords placements.

Google is continuing to use mapping and digital presence management tools to connect the dots between its search marketing and display business with an AdWords feature that automatically adds a store’s vital information, directions, and images.

Google Location Extensions, which started to be offered to AdWords users in the Google Display Network this week, instantly places a store’s address, map/directions, business hours, within a paid placement.

The goal is to make AdWords placements “more useful to shoppers who are nearby or show interest in your business location,” Google says in a blog post (via MarketingLand).

In a larger sense, Google is bridging the kind of location-centric details available on AdWords in Google’s search ad network across to display ads. The Location Extension “button” appears in both the Google Search and Display networks.

In part, it’s a reflection of the expectation that ads should provide some direct utility for both both marketers and consumers, as opposed to general brand affinity.

Relevancy Is The Demand

For one thing, mobility has given rise to “micro-moments,” where smartphone users seek immediate answers that often lead to places near on-the-go consumers. On top of that, the rapid increase in the reliance of voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and the “Okay Google” spoken request has also led to a whole new set of expectations that a general ad placement can’t adequately satisfy.

Consumers now want direct answers that match exactly what they’re looking for in search, as opposed to a sea of choices represented web pages ranked by how many people clicked on a listed result.

Therefore, even static display ads need to offer more than an eye-catching image designed to inspire a “feeling” about a product or place. Now, display ads need to demonstrate practical information in order to spur a store visit and purchase.

Closing The Online/Offline, Search/Display Loop

To illustrate the value of the Location Extension in search ads, Google shows what a bakery owner who wants to draw foot traffic to her storefront might experience with Location Extensions.

When that feature is activated, people nearby who search on mobile for one of her keywords (“best bakery nearby” or “fresh bread”), they’ll not only see a query result, but they’ll also get

  • the distance to her location, and its city (mobile)
  • her location’s street address (computer)
  • a clickable “Call” button
  • a tappable or clickable access to a details page for her location—with information such as hours, phone number, photos, customer ratings, and directions

It works much the same way in display ads, as Google says, “Location extensions on Display help you close the loop between online ads and offline sales by driving foot traffic to stores.”