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Google Maps Now Lets iPhone-Owning Local Guides Post Videos — Here’s What It Means For Local Businesses

Going "direct to SMB" has become a bigger priority for Google and this new feature is yet another step in that direction, says Local SEO Guide's Andrew Shotland.

Almost a year after Google began allowing its Local Guides post videos to Google Maps, now iPhone members of that group of place-based reviewers can do the same.

With over 50 million global Local Guides, the addition of iPhone users is noteworthy.

Google didn’t provide many details in a Local Guides email sent out this week about the inclusion of iPhone users who can available themselves of the video upload feature. But it’s safe to say that giving iPhone owners use of this feature means more of these frequent, trusted  reviewers will be able to better showcase events and other highlights from venues, restaurants, hospitality, and pretty much any marketer whose business can benefit from images that provide sight, sound, and motion.

The video uploads are limited to 30 seconds, amounting to the length of a typical TV commercial. The fuller rollout of the video upload feature to Google Maps taps into the rise of Influencer Marketing, particularly as those users expand their output beyond Instagram to Google Maps.

“Google is constantly asking users to contribute as local guides. Ever search for a business and see the pop up asking if you know this place? They want you to add reviews, photos, videos, answers and more. They are pushing for more info, more users and more activity,” David “Rev” Ciancio, an influencer with over 40k Instagram followers and Director, Industry Insights, at Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here), told GeoMarketing‘s Lauryn Chamberlain. “So what happens when you add a great looking photo to a location on Google Maps? High quality photos get your attention. They draw clicks. They create engagement. Google wants to keep you on Google and to make your purchase decision without needing to leave Google until the very last minute, AKA, the bottom of the funnel.”

That same value of static images from Influencer may be even more true of video.

And for SMBs who cultivate Google Local Guides, the videos could help further level the marketing playing field.

“It’s pretty clear that over the past year that going “direct to SMB” has become a bigger priority for Google and this new feature is yet another step in that direction,” Andrew Shotland, founder and CEO of Local SEO Guide tells GeoMarketing. “The rollout of Google My Business Q&A, GMB Posts, GMB Product Posts, etc. all illustrate the increased attention ‘Local’ is getting inside of Google.

“And while I think Google is trying to make the experience of finding great local businesses easier for searchers, I ultimately think this is about growing revenue and trying to keep SMB advertisers locked in to Google’s system as much as possible,” Shotland adds. “Given the 30-40 percent markup many Google Adwords resellers with big SMB advertiser bases get, you can see how profitable it would be for Google to remove the middleman from the equation, so offering more free features on GMB is a way to do lure more SMBs in.”

Shotland also shared additional thoughts about what the addition of video to Google Maps means for local brands:

  • Businesses will be able to share these videos anywhere – it will be just like sharing a link to any other piece of GMB content
  • The immediate beneficiaries of these videos will be businesses with great reputations and great visual potential. I imagine we will see a lot of restaurant review videos with shots of food, people having fun, etc. I could see this doing well for auto dealers (test drives, showrooms, new models, etc.), gyms, tattoo parlors, pretty much any business
  • I don’t know if Google is doing anything in particular for event spaces, but there’s no reason why a space couldn’t claim their GMB and upload their own videos to show it off. I think it’s less likely a Google Local Guide would find an event space and make a video (unless the event space was paying them to of course 😉
About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.