How does it work?
People search for products or services and the information about your business or organisation you’ve put into your Google+ Local page comes up in the results in Google Search, Google Maps, or Google+.
If you have a Google Maps Business View virtual tour linked to your Google+ Local page or embedded in your website, your result comes out higher* in the results and the user can click through via the “See Inside” box in the result on the right, or Google Place Card in Google Maps, to go into your virtual tour in the Google Maps Street View® layer. *Your overall ranking will obviously depend on other SEO factors too.
Why would I want it?
It will allow potential and existing customers to walk around your business to see all the reasons why they’d want to visit you in real life.
They will get a sense of what it’s like to be there and what you stock, but through posed elements and signs you can also show them how you serve customers and any facilities you have which can’t be photographed e.g. free wi-fi.
The other benefits of a Google Business View tour are:
- Users also spend an average 5 min longer on your website after you embed your tour.
- It gives you an engaging presence on Google+.
- It provides frictionless ‘walk-through’ browsing using a familiar interface.
Can the tour be shared on social media?
Yes, someone viewing your tour can create a link to your tour when viewed in Classic Google Maps or just copy and paste the URL (Web address) into a social media post.
How much does it cost?
Each Google Trusted Photographer sets their own pricing based on the Google UK RRP as Google gets no money from this. The UK RRP for the Basic Package of 3 panoramic shots plus 10 ‘Points of Interest’ photos is £250.
The Basic Package covers the ’10-4-4′ sequence of panoramic pictures (which link to Street View® and bring the viewer 4ft inside your front door) plus up to 30 ‘Points of Interest’ photos – which capture interesting and informative details of the interior of your business. We also offer better value for tours beyond 10 panoramics, and for businesses/organisations ordering tours of more than one location. Contact us for details.
Beyond the 4ft inside point panoramic steps can be added to take the tour to the areas you want featured, at a set charge of £60 per step.
For a bespoke quote to fit your exact needs, contact us by email on email@example.com
Is there an annual fee or hosting fee?
No, not for the tour in Google Maps. However, should your stock or décor change you may wish to update your tour content – we give varying degrees of discount on ‘refresh shoots’, depending on how often you have them.
If you opt to augment your tour when embedded with TourDash®, there is a separate fee – contact us for options and prices.
Does it work with smartphones?
Almost any device that can view Google Maps on the Web can view a Google Business View tour.
N.B. TourDash is an external service, and operates its own browser support rules – TourDash tours operate on a “best effort” policy towards earlier versions of browsers.
Can I embed it in my website?
Yes. Take a look at some examples of our tours embedded in our clients’ websites:
- Perfect Manors – our themed tours of their five-star lodges.
- Crieff Hydro – the biggest tour in Scotland, and the first in the world to use ‘Pool View‘ to allow you to swim a length of the pool!
Can I add it to my Facebook page?
Yes, you can add it as an extra tab using a free app. Here’s an example.
Does Google own the photos of my business?
Just the tour in Google Maps. Google only retains the right to use them unless you decide to remove your tour. The Points of Interest photos become your copyright.
Can I use the Points of Interest photos elsewhere in my marketing?
Yes. They’re hi-res professional photos (printable at photo quality up to A1 size or poster at lower resolution) and you can use them as you wish. It’s almost like getting a free photo shoot!
What about the privacy of my staff and customers?
We can do the shoot with your premises empty if you wish, but according to Google rules, the faces of anyone seen in the tour have to be blurred unless they’re covered by something like a mask or turned away. You can still tell if someone is smiling though!
What about security? Won’t burglars see where my security cameras and alarm sensors are?
No, we can blur those (and anything else sensitive or valuable) at your request. They’d see more by visiting your premises.
How is it done?
The Google Trusted Photographer shoots a series of 360 degree panoramic images, starting 10ft outside your front door and moving inside, up to 15ft apart, and links them together to create the virtual tour. He also shoots a series of ‘Point of Interest’ photos. They’re conventional photographs of things you’d like featured – as well as useful things for potential customers which Google insists we do e.g. a business card, menu, wide view from the front & back, shopfront, methods of payment etc.
Can it be done any time?
Almost. We can’t shoot in rain, sleet, or snow as any precipitation falling on the camera lens distorts the image and will cause the tour to fail Google’s Quality Control. We arrange tour shoots around your availability and the weather forecast. Night shoots near roads aren’t recommended as we can’t have light trails from headlights. If that’s essential, we can arrange to do it at a time when few vehicles will be around.
Can I customise it?
Yes, you can decide on some of the Points Of Interest photos as well as create your own distinctive ‘pose shoot’ with members of staff demonstrating what they can do for customers. You could also set a competition based on your tour by asking visitors to look around it for things you’ve placed or hidden.
Additionally, if you choose to use TourDash®, you can add hyperlinks to go to other websites, download links to files like brochures, and display text, photos, and videos. N.B. TourDash is only visible in the tour when embedded in your website or Facebook page – if users go directly to your tour on Google Maps, they don’t see it.
What if I sell my business?
You or the new owner can retain the tour or ask for it to be taken down at any time.
Is this just for businesses?
No, most organisations can have a tour done, but there are some which Google rules say we can’t do — such as somewhere someone currently lives. Contact us if you’re not sure.
It’s an especially good marketing tool for public sector bodies or charities who want to be more transparent about how they do their work and reduce the fear factor for anyone thinking of approaching them for help. This allows them to see where they’ll go, so when they do they have some familiarity with it.
An example is the MS Therapy Centre in Dundee.
Any other questions?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.