Google Adds ‘Sponsored Icons’ To Maps


Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has found a new way to monetize Google Maps: Advertisers can now pay to have their logos, rather than generic icons, show up adjacent to the names of their businesses when users zoom in on an area.

For now, Google says the program, which it is calling “sponsored map icons,” is only “being offered as a limited beta to companies in the U.S. with multiple locations and a well-known brand,” like Target and HSBC Bank. That makes sense, since, if it wasn’t limited, Google Maps could become a shopping mall of logos, especially considering that local businesses can already promote themselves on Google Maps with bright yellow tags.

A Google representative tells Ad Age, however, “that algorithms will anticipate what consumers are looking for and place logos accordingly, without letting them pile up.”

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