Advertising is everywhere in the 21st century. Almost. As much as advertising greases the wheels of commerce and e-commerce, there are some places where ads are not welcome. Yes, we have ads in apps, but Apple does not have ads in Mail. Or, Contacts. Or, FaceTime and Messages and Reminders.
One of Google’s most popular apps is Maps. Guess what’s missing? Ads. Guess what’s coming? Ads. Advertising is coming to Maps. Why?
What would ads in Maps entail? I see a handful of monetization options.
- Anything and everything nearby – even without a search on maps you’re already near to someone willing to pay for an ad to get your attention
- Personalized recommendations – Google knows more about you than your partner and parents, so who better to give you nearby recommendations?
- Business listings for specific destinations – if you search, Google knows where you’re going and can display ads that match your online profile to a destination
- Search results – who among us has not used Maps to search for a specific destination; that makes a perfect launch pad for specialized ads
By its very nature, advertising is intrusive so we should not be surprised that Google plans to dump ads into Maps. The app is more of a utility for smartphone and PC users, has been around for more than a dozen years, has a few billion members of humanity who use it and trust it every day, and Google has pumped billions of dollars into Maps and needs to recoup some of that investment.
Get ready for ads in Maps because the day will come.
What about the #1 Maps app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac? No, it’s not Google Maps. Even on iPhone, Apple’s Maps is the most used and Apple, too, has dropped billions of dollars into making the app more competitive with Google. What’s missing is what Google does best. Tracking and advertising. As long as Apple keeps Maps a built-in, table stakes utility that is free and devoid of ads, differentiation remains clear and obvious.
Are ads in Maps a bad idea? We’ll see. Personally, I think much of humanity has become desensitized to the manipulative abilities of many ads.