Changes are coming to the AdWords business model, according to a new post from Google on its corporate blog.
Most notable among those changes from a consumer standpoint? Google Maps is changing and including ads of a sort. Local businesses will now have their own pins — decked out with branding information — so as to make it easily and immediately visible to consumers scanning a map.
Pins will now appear on logos provided by participating businesses. Walgreens is apparently a participant, and going forward, those looking at a Google Maps location with a Walgreens in its borders will now see the white, cursive W on a red circle marking its existence in the customer's local landscape.
From the blog:
"We’re also investing in more branded, customized experiences for businesses on Google Maps — geared towards helping you increase store visits. First, we’re experimenting with a variety of ad formats on Maps that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate the world around them. For example, Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving route. Local business pages are also getting a brand new look. To encourage consumers to explore your store before they even arrive, we’re adding new features, like special offers and the ability to browse product inventory."
By clicking on those promoted pins, consumers can also have an option to see dynamic and (reportedly) regularly updated text on the location's offerings, including specials and discounts on offer.