Using lesser-known celebs and eschewing a press rollout, Google has quietly begun an ad campaign promoting its Maps feature. It comes days before the company is set to release its latest earnings report, where investors will be seeking signs of new revenue growth from features like ads in Maps.
On Twitter, U.S. Soccer World Cup champion and Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press promotes various locations and businesses—which range from a so-called dog “beach” along a lake to chain athletic-retailer Footaction—with the hashtag #OnGoogleMaps.
“On days off, I follow my heart,” she writes. “Here’s my handy @GoogleMaps List to fit every mood.”
Broadway actor Jeremy Jordan is also pitching for Google’s latest ad push, promoting dessert shops in similar fashion.
Ads on Maps are meant for businesses that want to be more visible when consumers perform searches online. Advertisers can also place a brand logo on Maps or offer in-store promotions.
Marketers and investors long clamored for Google to make more money from its Maps feature until finally last year the company began selling ads there.
It’s a careful balancing act for Google, however, which has to provide relevant navigation and details for users while also showing them ads.
Google’s AdWords “Get Location Detail” click type, entirely produced by the Google Maps offering, accounted for nearly 7% of brand keyword ad clicks on phones in the most recent quarter, up from 5% when compared to the previous one, according to Merkle’s latest Digital Marketing Report.
Google is searching for additional revenue sources beyond its standard search. Product Listing Ads, for example, have become an explosive growth catagory for the search giant: Ad spend on the format has increased 31% year-over-year, compared to 16% for seach text ads, Merkle said.
Google’s next earnings call is slated for Monday.
Google meanwhile added the International Space Station to Street View on Wednesday.