Google Maps is a Google Adwords Search Partner

Yesterday I learned that if you want your ads to appear in Google Maps, then you have to choose to advertise in the Google Search Partners network. Did you know that?  I didn’t.

When advertising in a Google Adwords search campaign, you’re given a choice for the Google Search Network, to advertise with or without Google Search Partners.

Up until now, I always thought Google Maps was part of their regular search network, and *not* Google search partners, but it turns out that’s not true.

It’s not hard to find conflicting information on the Internet, and in fact this post at SEO Roundtable by Barry Schwartz and this one at Search Engine Land by Ginny Marvin, and even this page updated just last month at Wordstream all state that Google maps is no longer a part of the search partners network but apparently, that’s not the case.

Even Google Has it Wrong

Even from the help file inside of the new Google Adwords interface has it listed incorrectly, reading “They can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Maps, including the Maps app.

I looked a lttle further, and found this Google partner support page at Google says that Maps is a part of the Google Search sites group –

Even the consumer video here at YouTube has it wrong too, saying “The search network has those familiar text ads that appear above and besides Google search results on other sites like Maps and shopping”. and it’s even captioned that way –


But Apparently That’s all wrong!

This all came about because a client of mine noticed that his ads were not appearing in Google Maps, despite having his location extension in use. He phoned Google Adwords himself, and was told that it was because he wasn’t using the Google Search Partner network.  He said that he checked the box to include the Search Partner Network, and a few minutes later, he was back in Google Maps.

When he told me that, I was completely surprised, and in fact even skeptical, so I phoned Google myself to verify. Although the rep wasn’t 100% sure, and had to verify with others, he did phone me back to confirm, that yes Google Maps IS a part of the Google Search Partner network.

I explained to the Google rep that their documentation all states otherwise, so asked if he could confirm by e-mail and this is what he sent me:

I should note that while I was waiting for the call back, I did find a couple of sites that have it correct, stating that Google Maps is a part of the Google Search Partners network, and those are posts by Reach Local  and Spinutech but those were the only two I could find.

So – If you want to advertise on Google Maps, you have to do two things…

  1. Use your Google My Business Location extension for the campaign.
  2. Use the Google Search Partner Network

So… did you already know this, or were you just as surprised as I was?

Categories News
Scott Hendison:

View Comments (6)

  • Thanks! Question everything, even what the Google Lords say...just adding my first search partner-enabled campaign now...

  • Hey Scott,

    Thanks for the Spinutech mention and link.

    You're right. Information on this is not only conflicting – for some of the details, it's largely lacking.

    Something that seems to get very little mention is click type. By segmenting the click type it'll separate the type of Google Maps clicks, giving more insight to just what kind of clicks you're paying for (because not all of them end in a session on a landing page). You pay for these clicks too, and the average cost per click can differ dramatically:

    - Driving directions
    - Get location details
    - Mobile clicks-to-call

    I've suggested to AdWords that they should have a function to manage Google Maps separately, similar to Bing Ads with their search partners. People search more broadly on Maps and keywords should reflect accordingly. Also, who wants to bid as high for a "Get location details" click? They're clearly not equal clicks.

    I doubt it'll even happen, but it would be nice.

  • Hey Scott, great post! With this option I can activate my ad only in Google Maps, without activating my ad for the google search network? Thanks!

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