Strengthen Your Local Listing with Google Street View
Google Maps is the most popular map and navigation application in the world. As of 2016, Google Maps averages nearly 105 million unique smartphone visitors in the United States alone (according to comScore). Nearly four million individual websites employ embedded Google Map functionality.
But Google Maps is about more than searching for what’s nearby, checking business hours, getting from point A to point B and avoiding traffic snarls in the process. Since introducing the service in 2005, Google has continued to invest in its Maps product, adding new features and working with various communities and clientele on innovative customization through the integration of data beyond longitude and latitude. Among the most powerful and useful of these innovations is Google Street View.
Formerly branded as Google Business View, Google Street View converts professionally shot panoramic photographs into interactive, 360-degree “virtual tours” of your business interior. These views are fully integrated into Google Maps. Users can simply click a link on a location’s landing page to “See inside” and begin their tour. These virtual tours are interoperable across all platforms, mobile as well as desktop. Further, Google Street View is also available via a standalone app, which allows users to upload their own panoramic photos of locations to Google’s servers.
Benefits of Using Google Street View
If your business is in the hospitality, restaurant, and healthcare/wellness industries, Google Street View is a natural fit for your digital strategy. Ambiance and décor are essential elements of the customer experience for such businesses. Google Street View offers owners the ability to show off these unique features without requiring users to interrupt their browsing and research.
Specialty retailers can also benefit from giving remote users a preview of what to expect should they choose to visit their establishment. For example, Curiosities Antiques in Dallas’ shabby chic Lakewood neighborhood provides just a glimpse of its wild inventory — fossil specimens, vintage clothing, folk art, local memorabilia and much more — available from its 20-plus vendors with Google Street View.
According to a July 2015 market research study financed by Google and conducted by an independent firm, users who view a business listing that includes a virtual tour are twice as likely to take additional action like making a booking, contacting a business with a request for additional information or even popping in. Further, more than 65 percent of Google users surveyed have expressed a desire to engage with more businesses via virtual tours. (Caveat: In Google’s own words, in the above-cited study, “the impact of virtual tours on increasing consumers’ interest in local businesses” was limited “specifically [to consumers interested] in booking a reservation at a hotel or restaurant.”)
How to Get Google Street View for Your Business
If you’re looking to get Google Street View to document the sense of space and the style of your business, you will need to contract a professional photographer or agency. Google has certain guidelines, certification process, and basic technical requirements for photos that are uploaded to the Street View platform. It’s important that you find a Google Street View Trusted photographer. You can start with a search in the Google-hosted directory of trained and certified Street View Trusted providers. These trusted providers work closely with Google on quality assurance measures related to image resolution, quality (for example, business shoots must take place while the premises are vacant), consistency and usability.
At Belo Media Group, we too are a Google Street View Trusted Agency. We have a professional photographer on hand to help you branch out into the world of virtual tours and enhance your Google business listing.
Along with scheduling your photo shoot and polishing your photos, the marketing experts at Belo Media Group can help you create a presentation that wows, upload personalized content while making it discoverable via the Google portfolio and much more. We got you covered on all things digital! Contact Belo Media Group today.