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20.05.2016

How to Use Interactive Maps in Your Marketing

Street View Trek El Capitan: climbing up The Nose with Lynn Hill (Source: Ubilabs) Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg on a customized interactive map (Source: bit.ly/1PaVtB0) DB Mobil engages its readers to create Mein Liebstes Stück Deutschland (Source: Ubilabs) Enjoy your Surprise Drive with Kia (Source: bit.ly/1U4nzAr)

How can businesses reach their target groups or inspire a broader audience in times of media overkill and rising customer expectations? Here you can get a bunch of ideas about how to engage your customers by using interactive maps.

Content and Context: Storytelling with maps

How can companies stand out in times of media overkill? Traditional campaigns have short-term effects. Better provide added value for your customers. Build trust and loyalty with a little extra, for example with interactive maps that make content tangible. Most data have a geographical reference. You add a photo to your Instagram account? Pin it to your photo map. Are your products available in different stores? Locate them on a map. And there are way more options to use location information.

Storytelling on a map: inspiration for travel & leisure

There are lots of fascinating spots in the world that are worth seeing. But a lot of them are in remote areas or you need special skills to reach them (for instance, climbing). Wouldn’t it be wonderful to provide access to those places for a worldwide audience? That’s the aim of the Google Street View Treks. Ubilabs has developed four Google Street View Treks in the last two years.

Google Street View Treks: visit remote areas and unseen worlds

One of the Street View Treks unintentionally became a historic document: The Google Street View Trek Khumbu, a region close to the Mount Everest, that got devastated by an earthquake in April 2015. In the year 2014, Google mapped and photographed the region, created new Street View images and improved its maps in order to develop this Street View Trek. In addition, videos and interviews have been taken to ensure a holistic experience. Users can visit a German Bakery and listen to its owner about how to run a business in this region. They can follow a small plane landing at the Lukla airport at a steep airstrip, which is the first of many adventures for visitors to the region. 

Interactive features liven up websites of renowned brands

Treks like this can also be used by businesses in the tourism and leisure sector to inspire customers. Each trek is developed individually – and imply different challenges: For example, the trek to the top of El Capitan has been the first vertical trek, which is a much greater technical feat than standard horizontal treks. This meant that new ways had to be found for taking the photos and for programming. In order to improve the user experience, very high-resolution Street View photos were put to use. Versions of this microsite have been used by The New York Times and Patagonia to enhance their websites with a high-quality, interactive feature. The well-known Google Street View Trek Miniatur Wunderland was the most challenging Trek until now: we needed a lot of special techniques and hardware to take pictures in these small dimensions. The effort has paid off: With a range of more than 2 billion, this unique project inspired people on five continents – and recently won the Webby People's Voice Award 2016.

Inspire your customers: Kia Surprise Drive

For the relaunch of the Kia cee’d in fall 2015, the automotive company started a new campaign according to the claim “The surprising machine”. To inspire their spontaneous and curious customers, a new application has been developed: The Kia Surprise Drive. It’s the first online experience ever that creates an interesting route with surprising places along the trip. Users can enter preferences based on information from Tripadvisor and start their journey.

DB Mobil: Mapping Germany’s most beautiful places

Another way to create an interactive map to inspire customers is the interactive photographic guide, Mein liebstes Stück Deutschland from DB MOBIL, that allows readers an opportunity to share their favorite images. A graphically appealing map of Germany gives users an initial overview and whets their appetite to discover the various regions. Posts come from both DB MOBIL readers and DB MOBIL editors. As a special extra, the site features contributions from celebrities, who present their favorite places in the virtual guide. All entries can be found via a map of Germany and by using the menu option “In meiner Nähe”. The site is compatible with smartphones and enables users to access places in their immediate vicinity.