Why Google Maps ‘Areas Of Interest’ Are So Important For Marketers

Here’s what Google's summer update means for the local landscape.

Google Maps’ most recent update brought a few quiet changes, but one in particular has big implications for local businesses: Areas of Interest.

Areas of Interest? Well, as users explore the map on mobile, they can see areas shaded in orange that “represent… places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do,” Google said in a blog post. Once a user has found an orange-shaded area in the region they are exploring, they can zoom in to see more details about each business and receive information like address and hours.

“Whether you’re looking for a hotel in a hot spot or just trying to determine which way to go after exiting the subway in a new place,” the post explained, “‘areas of interest’ will help you find what you’re looking for with just a couple swipes and a zoom.”

 Location Update

At face value, this update is great for consumers and businesses alike. People can find local establishments more easily within the very app that they already use to navigate, and businesses can draw increased foot traffic — and sales — as they are discovered in areas of interest.

But that doesn’t mean local establishments can just sit back and relax. With the introduction of Areas of Interest, location management takes on an even greater level of importance: In order for a business to be included — and found — through the shaded map, its location data needs to be comprehensive and correct. Otherwise, Google Maps users will just be, well, lost.

Fortunately, the same July update that brought Areas of Interest made it easier for businesses to add additional details and attributes about their locations — but it bears repeating that they actually need to do so. As Yodle’s David Michala’s stressed at Yext’s Location Lounge earlier this summer, not all business locations are created equal, and including extra information that is relevant to a business’ category and its contextual location is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to winning the attention of on-the-go consumers.

“You have to use location and data in such a way that you understand what the customer is looking for,” Michala said. “What information someone wants about a [hotel] isn’t what they want about a restaurant.”


About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.