As Google Maps continues to face headwind from competitors like OpenStreetMap, Google has to find new ways to entice developers to continue to use its mapping solution. Today, the company is launching new ad units for Google Maps that bring Google’s standard AdSense link units to its maps on third-party sites. These new ad formats join Google’s long-established Maps Ad Unit, which the company introduced back in 2009.
Link Units With A Twist
The new link units come in a number of different formats and look exactly like the standard link units Google currently offers through AdSense. There is a twist here, though. These ads, Google says, will “display a list of topics that are relevant to the content of your page.” That’s quite a bit different from Google’s usual AdSense link units. There, the links immediately take users to the advertiser’s site. When a user clicks on one of these topics on Google Maps, however, Google will show a page of related ads that looks a bit like a domain holding page.
With today’s update, Google is also now giving developers the option to customize the design of the ad units on their maps bu choosing custom colors for borders, links, text and URLs. This, says Google, now enabled developers to set a color scheme that fits the design of their sites.
As services like OpenStreetMap and Bing Maps have now become viable competitors to Google Maps, it only makes sense for Google to give developers new incentives to use its mapping service. Since Google introduced limits to how often developers could ping its Maps API and started charging developers who went over these limits, the company saw a number of high-profile defections. Google significantly reduced the cost of using its API since then, but while Google Maps was generally seen as the default for many developers before these changes, it is now just another option that has to compete with Bing Maps and OpenStreetMap.