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How to Use Geofencing and Other Features in Google Maps Ads

By Snap Agency April 3, 2020

Your options for digital marketing can seem limitless—the internet is a big place, after all—but  Snap is dedicated to helping you find the tactic(s) that will make the most of your budget. That means we look high and low for cutting-edge approaches to both paid and organic search tactics. Here’s one you may not be familiar with.

Google Maps is six times more popular than your standard navigation app, and with good reason. One huge perk is its nifty advertising features that have helped many a local business gain visibility. Let’s examine a number of these features in-depth. From there, we’ll take a look at how they compare to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, so that you can determine which form of marketing is right for you.


If you’ve been researching ways to market your business through Google Maps ads, you’ve likely come across the term geofencing. Essentially, a geofence is a virtual perimeter—i.e., a radius or set of boundaries around a real-life location. You might think of this in terms of a school zone or neighborhood.

Why Geofencing Is Important for Marketers

Marketers often utilize geofencing to catch the attention of in-market shoppers by providing a competitive store location. Think of it this way: a jeweler might create their virtual boundary some miles away from their store’s location, instead focusing on a wealthier neighborhood. That means the business spends less money on ads, investing in customers who have the financial means to spend at their store. In short, you’re appealing to the local (if slightly farther away) demographic that’s most likely to frequent your location and finding ways to grab their attention further.

Geofencing through Google Maps ads also allows you to identify where, exactly, a business’ ads will appear. Companies can then track which customers enter their business and make a purchase as a result of viewing their ad. Again, this is another smart way to allocate what may be a limited marketing budget.

Promoted Pins

Consider a sea of red pins, where each pin represents a local business. Now consider a purple pin that stands out from the sea of red. These pins have been promoted—in other words, they’re advertised locations on Google Maps. One tap of a purple pin means you have that business’ contact info and even their inventory at your fingertips.

In this digital age of convenience, it makes all the difference in the world to be able to access this purple-pinned information quickly (as opposed to an unclickable red pin). Simple as this may sound, there’s a reason companies invest money here—a well-informed shopper who didn’t have to work to find out more about your business could mean the difference between your latest customer and someone else’s.

Before you go after that coveted promoted pin, however, you’ll want to do a bit of housekeeping on your end. Make sure, for example, that your Google My Business listing is up to date, so that you qualify in Google’s eyes. You’ll also want to be sure you’re targeting relevant keywords in your area and have enabled location extensions in AdWords.

In-Store Promotions

Advertising on Google Maps means businesses can share in-store discounts right on the ads themselves. Think about it: if you have not only a business’ contact information and inventory readily available, but a purchase discount or two on top of that, why would you opt for another company that didn’t offer any incentives? This is all about making it easy for customers to find you—and even easier for them to give you their business.

How Do Google Maps Ads Compare to Standard PPC?

Similarly to Google Maps ads, PPC allows you to target a particular demographic with tailored ads. These ads can be adjusted to produce more substantial results (for example, through keyword research), depending on what your business needs.

There’s a lot of overlap when it comes to Google Maps ads and PPC, a key difference being the emphasis Google Maps places on, well, location. PPC ads don’t necessarily require you to put a location front and center (after all, you’re paying to get your company ads on the front page of Google’s search results), but it certainly doesn’t hurt. We’re fans of both methods, but we’re especially passionate about Google Maps ads when it comes to generating traffic for local businesses.

Drive Local Traffic Your Way With Snap

If you’re a local business with a small customer base, your livelihood may very well depend on foot traffic. And that foot traffic, more often than not, depends on a well-informed community. In other words, knowing how to utilize your location on the top advertising platform out there is crucial.

Ensure that you’re covering all your bases by contacting Snap today. We’re a digital marketing agency well-versed in both Google Maps ads and PPC campaigns, as well as SEO strategy, web development, social media marketing, and much more. Now let’s get you standing out from the crowd.