Google: Local Now 40 Percent Of Mobile, Physical Distance Becomes A Ranking Variable For AdWords

Today Google is introducing some new ad formats for mobile and announcing that it will now use location proximity as a scoring factor in deciding which AdWords to show the mobile user. Google’s Surojit Chatterjee also shared some mobile data in the context of announcing the new units and policy:

  • Click to Call is now driving “millions of calls per week” globally for Google. (This is a big contributor to Google’s $2.5 billion in mobile advertising.)
  • Google now officially says that 40% of mobile queries are related to location. (Microsoft has said this number is roughly 53 percent.)

Just as Google recently made the presence of a mobile-optimized landing page or site a factor in mobile ads quality scoring it is now doing the same with location proximity:

Today we’re announcing that the distance between a user and an advertiser’s business location is now a factor in mobile search ads ranking. This means an ad for a business with a physical location close to to a consumer may perform better in AdWords—driving more mobile traffic at a lower cost. The feature will be effective only when consumers opt in to share their device location for mobile searches.  

Marketers will need to use Location Extensions to take advantage of this, and the smartphone user will need to be opted-in to location for location proximity to kick in. But it’s another platform-specific ad scoring variable being introduced in mobile.

Beyond this, Google is debuting some new mobile ad formats:

  • Custom Search Ads for apps: will appear when users search within apps for content. Search ads now can be integrated into apps, which wasn’t available previously
  • Click to Download ads: will direct users to download areas in Android Market or iTunes app store.
  • Mobile App Extensions: these ads can direct people to specific apps or pages within apps already on their phones. Here’s Google’s example: “If someone searches for sneakers on a mobile device, they might see an ad that takes them directly into a cool shopping app they’ve installed on their phone.” It’s not clear what happens if the app isn’t on the user’s phone already.
  • Circulars (not limited to mobile): these are more graphically rich ads that contain product images, pricing and deals/offers. Google says, “When someone clicks on a search or display ad (on desktop, mobile or tablet devices), they may see these engaging ads which contain photos of relevant products and special offers.”

Google’s mobile business is really accelerating and these new ad formats and policies reflect that growth. There’s nothing comparable to this coming out of Microsoft or Yahoo right now.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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