Google’s secret weapon: Maps

Zach Epstein

Google Maps Geofence Ads
Google Maps Geofence Ads

Google is always on the hunt for new ways to boost revenue from search ads, the company’s primary money-maker, and it may have just begun to scratch the surface of a huge opportunity. Amid the numerous announcements made during Google I/O 2013, Google said that developers can now create geofenced ads that automatically display in Google Maps when a user is approaches a certain location. So, for example, a Starbucks ad with a coupon might pop up on the screen as a user walks or drives past a Starbucks coffee shop. According to industry watchers, this could end up being a huge deal.

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“If you can better target a customer and have a higher ROI (return on investment), then from an advertiser’s point of view the ad prices would certainly go up,” Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian told InvestorsBusinessDaily. He continued, ”Maps is the only application where advertisements seamlessly blend with content.”

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Google hasn’t yet made this new feature available on mobile versions of Google Maps such as Maps for Android and iOS, but it will. Google is also adding a slew of other features like Zagat integrations that will encourage consumers to use Maps more, and that will encourage more companies to build services that utilize Google Maps. According to Google, its mapping solution is now integrated into more than 1 million different websites and services.

As Google expands Maps’ capabilities and the service continues to proliferate, creative new ways to serve ads like Google’s new geofence solution have the potential to become key revenue drivers.

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