Starbucks, Walgreens use Promoted Places on Google Maps for holiday marketing

Dive Brief:

  • According to a Google blog post, brands are happy with early tests for a new Maps ad unit called Promoted Places that uses promotional email and geo-targeting to generate more foot traffic.   
  • Per Google, 70% of smartphone users who bought something in a store used their device for information before purchase and 25% used a map before making a transaction.
  • The post cites MAC cosmetics, Starbucks and Walgreens as brands taking advantage of Promoted Places. Starbucks Senior Marketing Manager Jamie McQuary said the brand is using the tactic to give users a “glimpse of our brand and coffeehouses before they even get there.” 

Dive Insight:

Making use of Promoted Places might be a great way to engage a mobile-first audience, especially during key moments like the holidays, but it’s worth making sure a brand's basic marketing assets are mobile-friendly before launching a Maps campaign.

"Staying top of mind, especially during the competitive holiday season, requires a mix of tried and true, including breakthrough strategies," Andrea Kaduk, director of SEM and social at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Promoted Places in Google Maps can help drive incremental store traffic and promote Walgreens as a go-to destination for small gifts."

Location-based targeting is a growing strength for mobile marketing, but simple page responsiveness in terms of load time is critical. Search engine response pages (SERPs) on Google and elsewhere will penalize slow loading pages and will result in a high bounce rate from users who don’t have time to wait for the page to load.

Features like Promoted Places arrive to match a growing need to tie together on- and offline shopping. The CMO Council reported just last week that nearly half of marketers still have trouble in this area, but being able to stake out Maps territory via branded pins might better translate digital promotions to tangible foot traffic and purchases. It could also raise a business's local identity, as Maps users will see the logo in-app and get a better sense for the in-store experience ahead of time.    

Filed Under: Mobile
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