Make Money with Maps Using Google's New Maps Ad Unit

It may seem like lately geo APIs and mashups are getting a lot of coverage here on ProgrammableWeb, and for due reason: the geo API providers have been busy. From the release of v3 of the Google Maps API to the release of Yahoo!'s Placemaker "geo-enrichment" Platform, there has been a lot of activity on the mapping front in the last few weeks.

One item that may have been overshadowed by other geo news in the past weeks is the availability of a new feature that will enable geo developers to generate advertising revenue from their Google Maps API implementations. The new Google Maps Ad Unit allows developers to place AdSense text adds directly on a Google Map, providing a new means to monetize on visits to a map mashup.

Maps Ad Unit

What makes the new Maps Ad Unit stand out from traditional use of AdSense ads on a mashup page, is that the ads are geo-targeted based on the map viewport. Thus, if a user is looking at Napa Valley, CA the text ads will likely display ads for wineries, hotels, and/or restaurants in that region. The ads update as the user zooms or pans around, providing a greater level of relevance for the ads seen on the map.

Integrating the new Maps Ad Unit with your map mashup is relatively straightforward. As the Google Geo Developers blog notes:

Adding the Maps Ad Unit to your site is easy. You simply need to create a GAdsManager of style 'adunit'. You will also need to link this Maps Ad Unit to an AdSense account. If you don't yet have an AdSense account, sign up for an account. Once you have done so (or if you already have an account) make sure you've also enabled the account with AdSense for Content.

So there you have it. A new way to get some revenue for your existing map mashup efforts and an incentive for developing high traffic map mashups using the Google Maps API. It's one more money making option to add to the the arsenal we've outlined earlier in Money, Ads, and Maps: Is Mapvertising the Key to Monetizing Mashups?. We'll be sure to stay tuned to see whether the other open mapping API providers provide a similar feature and incentive for developers who wish to capitalize on their map mashup development efforts.

Be sure to read the next Financial article: API Value Creation, Not Monetization