AccuraCast reports seeing Google UK experimenting by placing a Google Maps “Plus Box” feature within Google sponsored results.
As you can see, there is a small plus sign followed by “Map and phone number” directly under the sponsored ad but still within the yellow sponsored results box:
By clicking on the plus sign, up comes a local result, with maps, address, driving directions and more.
AccuraCast has a quote from Google on this:
I’ve checked with our product support team and this is a very limited closed beta test. I’ve tried to find the ad on searches on “domino pizza london” but haven’t been able to repeat that search results which indicates this is a limited test.
I wonder if Google charges for clicking on that plus sign? If not, advertisers can save a lot of money with this feature.
Postscript: Statement from Google:
We did want to clarify that this Google Maps plusbox experiment is not a closed beta. It’s actually shown for all advertisers that provide a local address to Google. However, since this feature is an experiment, we are only showing this plusbox to a small fraction of our users. Also, advertisers are not charged for any clicks inside the plus box. We consider this experiment to be another example of how we are constantly looking for ways to improve our advertising offerings and provide additional benefit to both our users and advertisers.