In an effort to prioritize user privacy, Google Maps is introducing updates that provide users with more control over their location data storage and recent activity. These changes, while beneficial for users seeking enhanced privacy, may have implications for marketers relying on location-based analytics data.
Timeline Storage On Local Device: One notable update involves the Timeline feature in Google Maps, designed to help users recall places they’ve visited. In a privacy-oriented shift, users with Location History enabled will now have their Timeline stored directly on their devices instead of cloud servers. While this empowers users with greater control over their location data, marketers may face challenges due to potential limitations on available user location data for targeted advertising.
Impact on Marketers: The on-device storage and deletion tools could restrict the pool of user location data available for ad targeting, potentially affecting campaigns heavily reliant on location-based strategies.
Updated Location History Controls: Google Maps users can now activate the auto-delete function for Location History with a default three-month lifecycle, down from the previous default of 18 months. Users have the flexibility to customize this option to retain location data for a longer duration or turn off location tracking altogether.
Impact on Marketers: Users’ increased caution about sharing location data may alter search behavior, potentially affecting the effectiveness of location-based keywords and ad copy. Ads emphasizing user privacy and control could resonate better with users, especially those highlighting opt-in features for location sharing or transparent data usage policies.
Delete Recent Activity in Location History: Google Maps will soon introduce support for managing location information related to specific places directly within the app. The blue dot icon, symbolizing the user’s current location, will serve as a quick access point to location settings. This feature allows users to delete recent activities and control their digital footprint conveniently.
Impact on Marketers: If these changes result in reduced location data, contextual targeting based on user interests and online behavior may gain importance for marketers.
As these updates roll out gradually over the next year on Android and iOS, Google Maps reinforces its commitment to user privacy. Navigating these changes will be crucial for both users seeking enhanced control over their data and marketers adapting their strategies to evolving privacy measures.