Digital marketers are abuzz with the release of a haul of new features, formats, and targeting options released by Google during their annual Keynote address.

Among the many features discussed were bid adjustments for all three types of devices, expanded character amounts in text ads, and updated Google Analytics options. However, one of the most prevalent updates released focuses on Google Maps, the often used application for navigation.

Google Maps is already part of the Google Search inventory, allowing advertisers to serve ads directly to users as they navigate maps looking for directions and locations. On May 24th, during the Google Ads & Analytics Innovations Keynote, Google announced the current testing of the next generation of advertising on Google Maps.

What Google has dubbed, “Promoted Pins”, are now in testing for Google Maps advertising. These promoted pins could be used to highlight an advertiser’s business to nearby users or along the route of users who are getting directions from Google Maps. Promoted Pins play perfectly into the micro-moments which Google has touted as the new way to target users who are searching on mobile.

As an integral aspect of the mobile user experience, Google is using the promoted pins as an opportunity to bring advertisers directly to Maps. For some users, maps play a more crucial role than search results.

Promoted pins highlighted in yellow along the user’s navigation path.

One example of the implementation of a promoted pin would be to show an ad to users who are navigating using Google Maps during a road trip. A fast food restaurant can use a promoted pin to highlight their location along that user’s route. In doing so, that restaurant would be able to capture the user’s attention at the moment they would be most likely to stop and make a purchase.

Rather than relying on traditional placements along travel routes, restaurants would have the ability to reach user’s directly within the map they are using to navigate, and your users will be able to see on the navigation that they’re approaching your business and could be more enticed to stop. 

While the above is just one example of how effect promoted pins can be, there are multiple applications which will allow users to better capture the micro-moments, which are so valuable to their digital marketing campaign on mobile devices.

Be alert as more information is released about this new feature, and know that ads that pop up during a route a user is taking will not be optional for consumers. Whether they want the feature or not, your brand will still be in front of their eyes.