Apple Maps - What it is, why it is important and how it works.
Apple Maps, as the name suggests, is the map service provided by Apple and is the default map on all IOS devices. It enables users to receive turn-by-turn directions and can be used for local search, for example you can type in “pizza” and receive info about pizza places nearby. Let’s get you through the the application!
Why it is important
It’s estimated that three out of four IOS users use Apple Maps on their IOS devices, and Apple claims in early 2019 that there are around 900 million active iPhones and 500 million other devices including Macs, iPads, Apple Watches etc. In 2018 it was estimated that Apple Maps had approximately 11% market share of mapping services globally. Apple Maps is especially important for map search in markets where Apple has a significant share of the device market, ie US, UK or in Northern Europe, for example 53% smartphone owners use IOS in Sweden.
Navigation and directions
Apple Maps is used on IOS devices for turn-to-turn navigation. The user has the possibility to type the name of the business they want to visit and when doing so, Apple Maps will check the data available for that location and direct the customer to the address. Unlike many others, Apple does not use any third party data, they use their own. For your company this creates a potential risk, if your business information is not correct, especially address and coordinates, your customer will struggle to find your business. Worst case scenario, they will not get there at all.
Another feature in Apple Maps is local search, meaning when customers search for keywords on Apple Maps he or she will receive information on businesses in the neighborhood in that category. For example, if you are a pizza baker and your customer types “Pizza” in Apple Maps and your business is set up correctly, your business will show up on the map with information such as addresses, opening hours and phone number. Hence, if your business relies on physical locations, it is important that your information on Apple Maps is optimized for local search. Note that data used for local search originates from Apple, not from Google. So being set up correctly on Google My Business is not enough if you want to be displayed correctly on Apple Maps!
DuckDuckGo, a fast growing search engine with special focus on protecting user privacy, is partnered with Apple since earlier this year and bases all their mapping services on location data from Apple. DuckDuckGo estimates that they have 25 million monthly users, meaning you not only risk missing out on the 23.3 million IOS users if your information is incorrect on Apple Maps, you also risk the 25 million potential customers using DuckDuckGo
First hand data
In the past, Apple maps relied on third party data from geo data brokers like TomTom, OpenStreetMap and others. This showed to be problematic and Apple has since started to build Apple maps on first hand data collected from Iphones and Apple's own mapping cars. The updated, first hand, maps were launched in San Francisco and the Bay Area with IOS 12 and will progressively be made available in the rest of the world. Reviews are collected from multiple sources, including Yelp, Foursquare and others. Apple's decision to build their own map has consequences for your business, it means the only way to make sure you have correct business information is by setting up all your locations directly in Apple Maps.
How it works
After convincing you of the importance of having correct business information on Apple Maps, one question still stands: How do I do it?
While the answer is quite simple, the process is rather messy. Apple has made it possible for businesses to create a business account where you can handle all your locations, similar to Google’s Google My Business. However, if you have a multi location company with less than 10 000 locations there is a major problem, Apple will not accept bulk uploads, and you must handle every location one by one and it is not possible to handle your locations from more than one account. That might work out if you have one or two locations, but the hassle becomes hard to handle when you have to take care of for let's say 100 locations. And that is why we are here to help you.