Sponsored features are included with local biz listings.
Google has been testing a new local ad feature. You know when you search something local on Google and it presents a map with local businesses listed to the right? Well, the new feature is hanging out in there.
Look at the screenshot below, from the Google LatLong blog. You'll notice one of the listings has a yellow box with the words "View Photos" next to it. The word "Sponsored" appears at the end, indicating the presence of an ad.
So far, this new ad feature has been tested in San Jose and Houston. There's a flat fee of $25 a month in the Local Business Center dashboard to access the feature.
Google says that purchasing these ads has no influence on rankings, despite their inclusion right along there with them. The feature will be rolled out to additional cities, but there is no timeline planned. Enhanced ads can link to photos, video, coupons, directions, reservation sign-ups, or menus.