Google testing new look for local inventory ads in place of local pack

Google appears to be running a limited test for local inventory ads (LIA) on mobile that looks like a shopping ad-ification of the Local Pack.

Spotted on mobile by Mike Blumenthal on a search for “engagement rings Buffalo,” the result shows a map with a couple of LIAs below it where local pack results would typically show. I have been able to replicate the result in the Google mobile app. Here the ads are for two different rings at two different Kohl’s locations in the area, signified by the respective shopping icons on the map above the ads. Clicking on either ad takes the user to the local inventory ad landing page hosted by Google.

 

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For comparison, here’s the result I see using Safari on mobile for “engagement rings Rochester” (the same search with “Bufflalo” looked similar). The result shows an all-organic local pack with listings for three independent jewelry stores.

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When introducing new promoted places ads in Maps last spring, Google noted that local searches are growing 50 percent faster than overall mobile searches. It’s no surprise, then, that Google has been ramping up efforts to monetize all those local mobile searches in the past year. Other efforts have included featuring LIA data in Maps and Knowledge Panels with inventory search capabilities, showing in the Local Finder and including ads in the Local Pack.

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