Google Maps could be the source of Google’s next billion-dollar ad business.
The company recently announced new types of ads within Maps that analysts at Morgan Stanley believe could help the business deliver $1.5 billion in incremental revenue in 2017.
The new Promoted Pins ads in Google Maps nudge people into visiting businesses, like restaurants or gas stations, that appear along their route. Google is also rolling out other new local search features, like letting advertisers list special offers or local product inventory search bars.
Google has never broken out how much money it makes from Maps specifically — it lumps the revenue from its core websites like Search, YouTube, and Maps together, totaling about ~80% of its ad revenue — but analysts see huge potential.
“In our view, Maps remains one of Google’s most under-monetized assets,” Morgan Stanley wrote in the note to investors on Wednesday.
Maps has more than 1 billion monthly users and Morgan Stanley analysts say that even if Google slowly ramps up its Maps ad load — increasing it by 50% in two years — it could hit $1.5 billion in incremental revenue in 2017: