Advanced Google Markers: A Guide for Website Owners in 2024

  • Updated on: February 12, 2024

One of the first elements you notice when you open an online map is the markers. These little icons are small but perform a HUGE task, which is to indicate what is where. Moreover, without markers or pins, a map is almost rendered useless because people will not know where a certain location is. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine a map without pins because of how important they are. Therefore, to take map cons to the next level, a software giant has recently announced the introduction of Advanced Google Markers.

Advanced Google Markers for the Maps JavaScript API aims to take the humble map marker and make it more interesting and exciting for both map creators and map viewers. 

In this article, we will be looking at what exactly are Google’s new advanced map pins, what new things they bring to the table (map), and how you can implement them on your maps if you have a WordPress site, then you are lucky that you can install Google Advanced Markers to your WordPress site, as our plugin supports Advanced Markers with 5 unique highly interactive & customizable HTML based markers.

What are Advanced Google Markers for Google Maps?

A large red marker against a map layout.

Google Maps has been used for years as a navigation tool. In addition, it can also be used by businesses to mark their locations so that customers can easily find them. Furthermore, if you want to mark your location on the map, you will need an icon to do so.

The problem is that the regular icons are similar for all business owners, even though they differ depending on what type of business you have. For example, all restaurants have an orange, “knife and fork” icon. Moreover, Advanced Google Markers solves the issue of business owners having similar location icons.

Google’s latest pins are a new version of traditional pins that offer a lot of extra options for map developers and business owners alike. 

The two main features of the Advanced Markers are faster loading speeds and higher customizability. With these two features, the icons on your map will provide your users with a better experience when it comes to viewing maps. As a result, you will be able to promote your stores/brand in a much better way, all the while saving time and resources.

How are Advanced Google Markers Different from Regular Google Markers?

Large red marker with a briefcase icon against a map layout.

You might be thinking what makes these so-called advanced markers a big deal? Well, the fact is that Google wouldn’t have released them if they were similar to regular pins or icons. Obviously, there must be something different and special about them.

Let’s take a closer look at what new things the new pins offer that regular ones don’t or can’t do.

1- Customizability of the Regular Markers

One of the biggest and most noticeable changes with Advanced Google Markers is the ability to customize the pin icons.

New customization options include: 

  1. Add Title Text
  2. Pin Scaling
  3. Change Border Color
  4. Change Background Color
  5. Change Glyph Color
  6. Hide the Glyph

Each of these customization options presents a great opportunity for map developers and business owners to make their businesses stand out on a map by customizing markers with different colors, shapes, and text.

For example, retail stores can change the color of the icons and borders to reflect the brand colors. Furthermore, stores can have different types of glyphs and colors that reflect what they are selling. So hardware stores can show a hammer symbol, grocery stores can have a green icon with a glyph of a fruit basket, and restaurants can show a glyph of a knife and fork.

By having different colors and glyphs on map icons, your customers will easily be able to identify and recognize the place of business they are searching for. Moreover, map developers will be able to let their customers (business owners) have more marker customization options, which will improve the experience for business owners.

2- Faster Loading Speed and Marker Performance

The next big feature of the new icons is loading speed.

Google claims that advanced markers can load 66% faster than regular ones. In addition, these icons provide faster zooming and panning. Furthermore, the fast loading time is even active when there are many icons to load.

A faster loading marker(s) with improved performance is surely a boon for many business owners because these provide a much better experience for potential customers.

After opening a map, the longer a potential customer waits for a marker to load, the more likely they will lose interest in the location they are searching for. As a result, this particular customer might look for alternative locations, which could mean a potential lost sale for the original location.

Faster loading and performing markers can minimize the risk of losing a customer’s interest by quickly loading the location for potential customers before they lose interest or get distracted by something else. As a result, once the advanced icon loads, the customer will be able to continue with his/her search.

This feature is especially useful for business owners who use store locator plugins, such as Agile Store Locator, to guide customers to their physical store from their website. 

3- Usage of PNGs and SVGs for Marker Images

Users of Advanced Google Markers can add their preferred image or icon to them.

Image formats that are supported by HTML, such as PNGs and SVGs can be used to create images or icons on advanced pins. Users can also use CSS to further dynamically style and/or animate the advanced pins.

By using the ability to add dynamic images or icons to advanced pins, a business might be able to attract more customers. This is because a unique image on your icon will allow a potential customer might spot your business location more easily if the icon had a unique image.

Using the new icons will allow you to customize each of your location pins with a different image/icon, color, opacity, size, and much more. Therefore, for a business with multiple specialized stores, it will be possible to have markers with icons and color that reflects what each particular store sells. For example, you can have a store icon with the following indicators:

  1. A furniture store pin could be brown with a “sofa” icon or image
  2. An antique store marker can be gold with a “clock” icon or image
  3. A bakery store location can be white with a “bread” icon or image

Having customizable indicators will allow you to accurately “tell” potential customers which location offers what kind of business and products. As a result, your customers will know exactly what to find and what to expect when they search or browse for your location on a map.

4- Enable Markers to Show a Small Info-Window

The last feature we will be looking at is one where a cursor is placed over an advanced marker, it opens a small info window that shows a summary of what that icon offers.

With Google’s new map pins, you will be able to create markers with any custom HTML element that responds to user interaction. Furthermore, these icons can further be styled and animated using CSS.

So you will be able to create unique and interactive markers that display a small info window that gives more information about that specific location. For example, you can design a pin that shows a hotel, and hovering over the icon will show an info window that shows:

  1. Price per night
  2. Vacancies
  3. Amenities
  4. Etc.

5- Control Marker Collision, Elevation, and Visibility

Another thing that Advanced Google Markers allow you to do is to control how the map icons behave when they overlap each other once the map is zoomed out. Furthermore, you can set icon collision behavior to do one of the following things:

  1. Always display icons regardless of collision
  2. Display icons only if they don’t overlap with others, and if they do overlap the one with the higher “zIndex” is shown
  3. Display a pin regardless of collision, and hide other pins if they overlap with the original pin

The altitude for advanced icons can also be set to make the marker appear accurately in 3D space. This feature is useful to mark locations that are at different altitudes. For example, if your location is on the top floor of a tower, you can set the advanced pin to show exactly how high your location is, this will prevent potential visitors from looking for your location on the ground floor.

Lastly, with advanced markers, you can also control their visibility. This refers to when or at what level a map pin disappears from view. Using this feature, you will be able to control which icons appear at what zoom levels. For example, you can have advanced icons for your most important location visible at higher altitudes (lower zoom level), while locations that do not have so much significance can be set to be revealed at lower altitudes (higher zoom levels).

For more details on how to apply any of the above changes (color, image, altitude, visibility, etc.) to advanced markers on a map, please refer to the following documentation. The preceding link will guide you on how to apply the various changes using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

How to Get Started With Advanced Google Markers

1-4 numbers connected with arrows.

Now let’s take a look at how you can begin using advanced icons.

To use Advanced Google Markers, please follow the below steps:

  1. Set up a Cloud Project, with a billing account and Map JavaScript API enabled, using the Cloud Console. For more information on how to set up a Google Cloud Console project, please refer to this article.
  2. Create a new map ID using the Cloud Platform
  3. Set the “Map Type” option to “JavaScript”
  4. Choose either the “Vector” or “Raster” option
  5. Update your map initializing code using the newly created Map ID
  6. Once your new Map ID is recognized, the advanced icons will be able to be loaded

Now, to add advanced icons to your map, you will simply need to create a new “AdvancedMarkerView” code snippet and add latitude and longitude values using JavaScript.

For a more detailed explanation of how to get started using Google Advanced Markers and how to create advanced them, please see the below links:

  1. How to start using Google Advanced Markers
  2. How to create a new advanced marker

The Benefit of Advanced Google Markers

Large red marker with a briefcase and money icon against a map layout.

No doubt, you may be convinced that Google’s latest map pins are very useful and that they will certainly make your locations stand out from the already overcrowded Google Maps. After all, in today’s competitive environment, you will most certainly need an edge to make your locations (businesses) stand out.

With the advanced map pins, you do not need to worry about anyone else using the same feature, because they are designed so that they are different from each other. 

The advanced markers take the shape and color of how you want them to be from a huge selection of options. Therefore, it is next to impossible for two separate entities(companies, businesses, etc.) to have the same icon due to the huge combinations of options you have to customize your icons.

Once you have an advanced marker placed on a map with a unique color, size, and image combination, you will have provided your customers with a unique identifier for your locations. Now, potential customers who are searching for your location will be able to zero in on your location, because you have marked it with an image that shows the color and image of your brand. 

In summary, you will have the following benefits by using advanced markers:

  1. The ability to create a unique pin design that is different from other pins
  2. Fewer people get distracted while searching for your location
  3. More customers come to your physical locations
  4. Increased sales from increased frequency of customer visits
  5. People get aware of your brand faster

For a more in-depth Google Maps guide, please see the following article.

Use Cases for Advanced Google Markers

Multiple size red Google Advanced Markers witha "star" icon spread across a map layout.

Businesses in all industries are sure to benefit from using advanced markers. From restaurants to hospitals to car wash stations, any business that has one or more physical locations that can be placed on a map will benefit from the use of advanced pins.

One strategy to bring more customers to your locations is to use Advanced Google Markers in combination with a store locator plugin. A store locator plugin, such as Agile Store Locator, allows you to create a page on your website that lists all your physical locations on a map. Therefore, you are able to provide customers with accurate information (location, address, timings, directions, etc.) on how to get to your store using a store locator.

By using Advanced Google Markers on your store locator page, you will be able to create more beautiful and engaging images that will most likely draw more people to your physical location. As a result, you will most likely see an increase in traffic sales.

If you would like to learn about marketing strategies on Google Maps, you can give the following article a read: The Best Google Maps Marketing Demo To Make More Sales In 2024

Conclusion

The word "Conclusion" against a map layout

Advanced Google Markers have come at a time when Google Maps has been saturated with multiple regular icons that mark all manner of locations.

For someone looking to appear different on Google Maps, these pins are an excellent way to get easily noticed by potential customers.