Google Maps has now added events mark-up to its business information on Android and on its desktop setting, expanding the potential for its use in local search. This is a change that opens up lots of possibilities for businesses running events and for events venues themselves; it may even motivate some venues to start holding events for the first time.
Google is pulling some of its events information from sites such as Eventbrite and Eventful, but businesses can also add events directly. Titles are quite restricted and are not allowed to be promotional; however, events can be added to one of several categories, enabling users to search by category to see what is happening in their local areas.
This gives businesses the opportunity to use events to target and connect with particular demographics, either to appeal to the sort of people they already know are likely to find their products or services appealing or to expand their reach into new communities.
The additional local search potential generated by the extension to Android will be particularly important to the events venues themselves and makes it all the more important for such businesses to keep up with updates. Being visible on mobile is increasingly important in order to keep up with a population adjusting to making decisions at the last minute and – often – on the move, especially for places running lunchtime and late evening events when people are already likely to be out and about.
Many owners of small venues such as diners, bars and even youth-focused stores have discovered that putting on events or gigs from time to time increases trade. Now that such events are more widely and more immediately visible, there is an increased risk that places without events will miss out. It is becoming increasingly important to have something good to offer that is easy to evaluate online in order to compete.
Meanwhile, businesses that have never run events before might want to take advantage of this increasing connectivity and think about ways of reaching out to surrounding communities; in this way, next time they turn up in a local search they will benefit from greater name recognition and improved local reputations. Even those whose areas of trade do not directly lend themselves to social activity may find that they can benefit from sponsoring events and getting their names in the event details section so that their support is visible not only to actual attendees but also to online passers-by.