I love Google Maps Street View. It’s up there in my list of top things, along with mojitos, guitars and warm summer nights. They’ve done a fantastic job for London, which has the benefit of being small enough to traverse in detail and densely populated enough to make it really interesting. The detail for Street View here is rendered exceptionally, in full screen and zoom. (It is arguably the best use of Flash on the web as well.)
Whilst looking up an address on street view, I noticed the impeccable level of detail for outdoor media on the street I was viewing and naturally the advertising opportunities that Street View can offer. It effectively recreates billboard real-estate in the real/virtual world hybrid that Street View provides. Imagine the possibilities for recruitment – advertise your jobs at a competitor’s address, for example. This gives a whole new dimension to geo-targeting.
Some interesting questions ensued. Would there be any argument over ownership of the media i.e. does it belong to Google or the original provider of the outdoor advertising space? Street View images are identified as copyright Google, but would the likes of CBS Outdoors or Titan, who are the big outdoor media providers here in the UK, have something to say about it? Their billboard ads are shown in great detail within Street View as it stands. So at the moment, some advertisers who use this media have benefitted from the Street View photo capture process in that whilst they may have only paid for a limited period of advertising on a particular piece of outdoor real estate, this has a much longer lifespan in Street View. Free advertising if you timed it just right!
The word on the grapevine is that Street View advertising is on the cards. How this manifests itself will be very interesting. Will new objects specifically for display advertising be inserted in the existing images? Will existing billboards be used as potential advertising areas? (These could be identified automatically as is currently the case with people’s faces and vehicle license plates.) Will it be a pay-per-click model? Or maybe it will be a simpler AdWords type area on the page (not so exciting, but easiest to roll out and can still be geo-targeted). However this manifests itself, there can be no doubt that it will enhance our arsenal of targeted online media possibilities for attracting both passive and active job seekers. Also, unlike actual outdoor media, it will be completely measureable out of the box. These are the things we love!