Fascinating New Adwords Placement Test

Google announced on their LatLong (Maps) blog today that they’re experimenting with placing pricing for hotels directly next to the hotel listings in Google Maps.

At first glance, it looked like another Google-internal affiliate marketing initiative, but it’s actually quite clever.

Here’s the official sample screenshot – Look closely at the price listing drop-down box in Adwords yellow:

hotelad

If nothing else, it’s an innovative way to roll in Adwords results directly into the organic SERPs.

Paid Placement With a Twist

Interestingly, Google’s post points out explicitly that these listings are not traditional paid placements:

This new feature will not change the way that hotels are ranked in Google Maps. Google Maps ranks business listings based on their relevance to the search terms entered, along with geographic distance (where indicated) and other factors, regardless of whether there is an associated price.

So the blur between paid and organic continues it’s inevitable march forward.

It’s also of note that Google has chosen affiliate sites like Expedia and Priceline as their preferred advertiser testing partners for this experiment, not the hotels themselves…

It will be interesting to see how this progresses, and what other verticals it shows up in.

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6 comments “Fascinating New Adwords Placement Test”

I think Google went with the aggregators first because it was easy to implement (while claiming it was only a small beta test) and doesn’t upset the existing market flow. It also forces all the networks to send price data to Google, a wedge that can be used against them later :D

A couple years down the road I would expect Google to give hotels the option to sign up direct under “Google Travel” and drive out a lot of the duplication in the marketplace by replacing a few of the bigger travel aggregators with themselves.

Incredible. Your comment, Aaron, is right on the money. Ironically, this kind of killing the aggregators will leave many in travel returning to traditional value-add work (eg doing the leg work researching places).

It’s amazing to watch how Google unveils these powerful tools that WOW “the crowd”, and then after everyone starts getting used to using them and making them a part of their lives, THEN they start to sneak in the monetization.

Even in their superbowl commercials I saw no AdWords ads whatsoever.

As long as they are Google, there will always be some kind of monetization. That is pretty clear now.

Interesting. So straight away you can view the prices of
the hotels in a given area and find the cheapest hotel. For google,
they can earn some commision for directing traffic to those hotels.
Hopefully this feature can be turned off as sometimes too much info
can lead to no info!

Does anyone know whether this new method is working?


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