Google Has Filed A Patent for Location Extensions to Geographical Paid Ads
When a Google Patent uses the word “Content,” they often mean advertisements, rather than just the content on a website. That was true when I wrote about a Google patent about combining advertisements and organic results in the post Google to Offer Combined Content (Paid and Organic) Search Results
I don’t often write about paid search here, but sometimes I see something interesting enough to write about. We’ve been seeing some of the features from organic search appearing in paid search results, such as sitelink extensions, and Structured Snippets extensions. Google has written up extensions, which are ways of adding additional information to advertisements “to maximize the performance of text ads.”
One specific type of extension is are location extensions. Location Extensions can add information to an advertisement that you bid upon that can exhibit more information to your ad, such as:
Google Ads location extensions allow you to show your business address, phone number, and a map marker along with your ad text.
That geographic information isn’t shown to everyone but maybe shown to people within a threshold distance from an advertiser’s location. The location extensions page doesn’t provide much in the way of details as to when location extensions might be triggered, which is why I thought it helpful to write about this patent application that appears to cover location extensions.
A Google patent application was published this week about location augmented advertisements. The patent tells us about when a location extension that could be shown with an ad might be triggered to show:
The method includes receiving a request for content from a user device. The method further includes identifying a content item for delivery to the user device responsive to the request by one or more processors. The method further includes determining the location of the user device. The method further includes determining a threshold distance that a user is likely to travel when visiting a physical location associated with the content item or content sponsor. The method further includes identifying a bounding region associated with the location of the user device. The method further includes identifying one or more location extensions that are associated with the content item. The method further includes determining, by one or more processors, when one or more location extensions are included in the bounding region and when a distance between the location extension and the user’s current location is less than the determined threshold distance. The method further includes augmenting, based on determining when the distance is less than the determined threshold, the content item with the one location extension.
A Think with Google article on location extensions provides more information about ways to use location extensions.
The location extensions patent application provides more details on how location extensions work. It points out the following features:
- The content request can be associated with a search query, a map request, or a page request.
- The user device can be a mobile device, and location information for the user can be provided as part of the request.
- Determining the threshold distance can include evaluating requests from plural users and determining the threshold distance as a mathematical function derived from the evaluating.
- Evaluating can include evaluating driving direction requests received from users that terminate at a location associated with the one location extension.
- The mathematical function can be a numeric average, and the threshold distance can represent an average distance a user would drive to visit the location.
- The threshold distance can be determined based on a characterization associated with a sponsor of the content item.
- The characterization can be based on the sponsor’s type of product or service.
- Identifying one or more location extensions can include identifying plural location extensions included in the bounding region and selecting one of the plural regions.
- The selecting can be a random selection.
- Augmenting can include providing the one location extension for presentation in proximity to the content item displayed on the user device.
- Identifying a bounding region can include: identifying a first bounding region; determining that no location extensions for the content item are included in the first bounding region; identifying, based on determining that no location extensions for the content item are included in the first bounding region, a second larger bounding region; determining when one of the one or more location extensions is included in the second larger bounding region, and augmenting the content item with the one location extension.
The underlying purpose of this patent about location extensions is to show location information to searchers who are within a certain distance from an advertiser based upon travel time and what they are offering. The patent application is:
Determining Relevant Business Locations Based on Travel Distances
Inventors: Derek Coatney, Eric L. Lorenzo, Yi Zhu, Amin Charaniya, and Gaurav Ravindra Bhaya
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent Application: 20190180326
Published: June 13, 2019
Filed: February 19, 2019
Methods, systems, and apparatus include computer programs encoded on a computer-readable storage medium, including a method for providing the content. A content request is received from a user device. A content item is identified for delivery to the user device responsive to the request. The location of the user device is determined. A threshold distance is determined that a user is likely to travel when visiting a physical location associated with the content item or content sponsor. A bounding region associated with the location of the user device is identified. Location extensions are identified that are associated with the content item. A determination is made when one of the location extensions is included in the bounding region and when a distance between the location extension and the user’s current location is less than the determined threshold distance. The content item is augmented with the one location extension.
A query that triggers a location extension on an advertisement can be a query that includes a location such as [italian restaurants in Carlsbad, Ca.] or it could involve a query that doesn’t include a location such as [French food].
It appears that to have working location extensions as an advertiser, you need to register your location with Google My Business (and link that account with Adwords), and you have to set up location extensions in AdWords. You can have multiple locations displayed as well if you have those.
Location extensions look like they could help attract attention to local consumers who may be interested in what you offer on your site.
What might Google do with Location history? I wrote about some other patents that use location history. These are about patents from Google that use location history:
- Google’s Mobile Location History
- Google Tracking How Busy Places are by Looking at Location History
- Google Lifestreaming?
- Google Patents Identifying User Location Spam
- Google Patent Granted on Mobile Location Detection
- Location Extensions Augmented Advertisements
Last Updated June 25, 2019.