Google is now testing new third-party ads on Google business listings. The ads display third-party ads from advertisers such as Groupon, Seamless, and Caviar. These advertisers are a group of whitelisted advertisers and only this group of whitelisted advertisers can participate in the current pilot program.


Businesses can’t opt-out on the ads. The good thing about that is that the ads are from the business themselves. For example, the food ordering ads in the screenshot above are for the restaurants that the ads are promoting.

According to a Google spokesperson, “this is currently a small pilot program. We are always working on new ways to improve the experience both for users and merchants.”

This new advertising placement will benefit and possibly create adverse impacts to businesses. Here are three impacts of the new advertising placement:

1. More sales

Showing a business’ coupon ads on its Google business listing will help the business drive more sales because coupon ads generally offer great incentives. Increasing more sales is definitely a major push businesses at large need right now because of the current economic situation.

2. Less profit margin

Displaying a business’ Groupon ad on the company’s Google business listing may direct shoppers to the Groupon website where customers could purchase a Groupon and buy a product or service at a discount from the company website instead of driving customers directly to the company’s website and urging customers to buy from the business at full price. This behaviour will reduce the company’s profit margin per product which can be detrimental during an economic crisis. More, business listing ads are only triggered when a customer searches for a company name on Google (e.g. a restaurant name) or perform a highly related query so it’s likely that the customer is specifically looking for the company’s product or service and is willing pay for the full amount for the company’s offering.

3. Less usage of third-party ads

If merchants or restaurants see thinner profit margins as a result of the new ad placement on Google listings, the merchants or restaurants may discontinue their third-party ads and focus on Google Ads local campaign to drive more foot traffic to its brick-and-mortar store and website traffic via local listing on Google search results and Google Maps listings.