The paid feature is in beta with companies like HSBC, and will be available for mobile devices soon.
Google on Wednesday said it is allowing advertisers to brand the generic icons representing banks, restaurants, and other types of businesses on Google Maps. In the initial beta stage, a handful of brands including HSBC now feature their logos in place of the standardized images Google has been using when users zoom in closely on a map area.
According to a Google spokesperson, the branded map icons are sold on a CPM basis, and companies pay only when their icons are displayed. The "CPM rate varies for each advertiser based on the number of locations they have on the map, the popularity of these locations (i.e. how often they show in search results), prominence of the locations, and other factors," wrote the spokesperson in an e-mail sent to ClickZ News.
Like the generic gray icons dominating Google Maps - such as the fork-and-spoon symbol denoting eateries - the colored logos enable click-through, opening the establishment's Google Maps profile page.
According to the spokesperson, "The feature is only available to businesses that already appear on the map, and whose default gray logos can be swapped out for colored ones."
Google already enables this feature in other countries. For instance, logos from firms like 7-Eleven and McDonald's are splattered across online maps of Japan. Google plans to enable the ad offering for mobile devices "in the coming weeks," the company said.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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