Google Paid Listings Now Appear in iPhone Maps


Local search ads take mobile leap on iPhone.

Google Sponsored Listings have started to appear within the Maps application installed on every iPhone and iPod touch device. These paid listings appear alongside organic results when users perform relevant searches, helping local customers find appropriate businesses from their mobile phone.  PM Digital is working on getting more details on the specifics of this new program and how it relates to Google’s Local Business Ads program.

Sponsored listings appear both in the map view and list view after a user performs a search. In the Map view, sponsored listings use a custom pushpin icon rather than the traditional red one used for search results. Also, these paid listings are labeled “Sponsored Link” beneath the business name.  In the List view of the search results, paid listings are shaded yellow as they are in Google search results, with the favicon-like graphic used in the pushpin also present. Our testing has found sponsored listings to appear at the top and bottom of search results.

When users click on a sponsored listing to view more details, some brief ad copy is present at the top of the page. Otherwise, the page looks like a traditional organic listing, providing street address, phone number, URL and buttons to get directions to the brick-and-mortar location.

Apple’s Maps application is installed by default on every iPhone and iPod touch device. The application was built by Apple, but uses Google’s mapping and search technology. This marks the first time advertisements have appeared within a pre-installed iPhone app. It appears that sponsored listings in Maps is a feature of iPhone OS 3.1, the most recent version of the mobile operating system released in September 2009.

Anthony Avolio is Director of Web Analytics at PM Digital.

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