Google has been testing its new promoted pin ads, which is now being called Promoted Plaes (officially), in Google Maps with a small group of retailers.  The pilot is currently running in the Google Maps app on Android devices.

Promoted Places ads, which was announced publicly in March, can appear in the Google Maps app when users are looking at maps of the surrounding area.  Users won’t have to have searched for the retailer.  Promoted pins will appear with the retailer’s logo on the map instead of a general category icon.

Clicks on a branded pin pull up a banner at the bottom of the screen showing an “Ad” icon next to promotional text and an image. Users can click again to view the business’s place page.

Wallgreens and MAC Cosmetics and Starbuck are the retailers currently participating in the pilot

According to Laura Elkins, SVP of global marketing, MAC is testing the ads to promote new products.  Walgreens is using Promoted Places to promote the drug store as a destination for small gifts during the holdiay season.

Jamie McQuary, senior marketing manager at Starbucks told Google, “Having our logo on the map helps our locations jump out and promoting our favourite menu items gives people a reason to choose us.

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