Google announced they will begin charging AdWords advertisers for clicks on the directions link within the search ads on Google.com and Google mobile.
Google began charging for clicks on the phone numbers within the location extensions a while back. But they have just announced they will begin charging AdWords advertisers for people clicking on the directions link.
If you do not want to be charged, then you need to remove your location extensions. It just makes you wonder, how many of the other location extensions that are free now will cost money in the future?
Do you think it is fair?
A WebmasterWorld thread has advertisers who think this is a bad move. They are calling Google money hungry and other things. One ventured a sarcastic, I hope, guess:
We have observed that the display of your websites URL in Adwords Ads is benefical to your users. Many of them type the address directly in their browsers address bar instead of clicking on the ads. Therefore we have decided to charge you every time a user types your URL in the address bar.
Google posted some FAQs about this change, they include:
Where will I see performance metrics for clicks on directions?
You can see the number of clicks on directions in the same place as your other click metrics (select Segment, then Click type from your summary tables). You can review the performance of these clicks to determine if they're helping you meet your marketing goals.
How will directions appear in ads on desktop and mobile devices?
For AdWords campaigns with location extensions enabled, a “Directions” link will be eligible to appear in your ads and sponsored Google Maps info windows on desktops.
On mobile search ads, a “Get directions using Google Maps?” pop-up will appear when the user clicks on the expandable map. Clicking on “OK” in the pop-up allows users to get directions to your business.
Where can I see the past performance of clicks on directions?
For a report, select the Free clicks view within the Dimensions tab of your AdWords account. If you don't see the Dimensions tab in your account, click on the arrow button next to the existing tabs above your performance table, and select it in the dropdown menu.
I don't want to pay for clicks on directions. How can I opt out?
You can do this by removing the location extensions associated with your campaign. However, location extensions provide valuable information to local customers about your business, so we encourage you to carefully analyze your campaign performance before doing so.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.