Apple Launches ‘Business Connect’ As Google Business Profile Competitor

Apple Launches ‘Business Connect’ As Google Business Profile Competitor

In the words of Middle-earth’s most sought-after local SEO expert, Galadriel:

The (local search) world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.

At least, that’s what Apple wants you to think. They’ve announced the launch of Apple Business Connect (or ‘ABC’, if you love an easy-to-remember initialism). It’s worth noting that while they appear to be spinning it as a completely new product, it’s actually a bit of a re-launch of the older ‘Apple Maps Connect’ released nearly a decade ago.

That sounds great on paper, but what does that actually mean for your business and clients, and is it something you’re going to need to spend time tinkering with?

Apple Business Connect Launch

Source: Apple

Right off the back of the news, we’re going to run you through everything you need to know about Apple Business Connect today.

What is Apple Business Connect?

In Apple’s own words, Apple Business Connect lets you “put your business on the map”. If that sounds a bit too vague, they go on to say that this “free tool allows businesses of all sizes to customize the way their information appears across Apple apps.”

Essentially, it’s Google Business Profile (GBP) but for Apple Maps, something that many businesses will welcome.

When Apple Maps Connect was initially released, it wasn’t quite as feature-rich or useful to businesses as its direct competitor, now known as Google Business Profile. It offered a much more basic product that essentially just let you list your business and appear on Apple Maps.

As you can see from Apple’s screenshot below, though, there’s a lot more to this new iteration:

Abc Example 1

Source: Apple

What does Apple Business Connect include?

This new Apple Business Connect includes features such as:

Fully customizable Place Cards

These include:

  • The ability to add photos, header images, logos, and more
  • Easily manageable opening hours, with a simple and user-friendly interface

Showcases

This new feature is a way to help businesses promote timely offers and announcements, much like Google Posts. Showcases can all be managed through Business Connect, and for those in the US, you’ll start seeing these from today, before the feature rolls out globally in the coming months. 

Customer call-to-action buttons

These show on each Place Card, where applicable, and where set up by the business. These include:

  • Appointment booking
  • Call or chat with the business
  • Ordering food or groceries through Instacart
  • Making a reservation through OpenTable
  • Booking a hotel through Booking.com 
  • Buying tickets, and more!

​​Abc Call To Actions

Source: Apple

Insights

Apple Business Connect also offers insights within the app, which means a better understanding of your customer, so you can improve your offering on the platform. You’ll be able to see what people searched before tapping into your location, as well as insights about your Place Card.

This could be particularly valuable to businesses and agencies managing listings, especially as Google seems to be removing (and moving) its own Insights functionality, rather than developing it further.

Abc Insights

Source: Apple

What does it mean for local business owners and marketers?

At the very least, it means you need to spend a few minutes updating your Apple Business Connect, if you already had one. And if not, then you should go get one! It’s free real estate on an app that’s used by more people than you may realise.

Apple Maps is becoming more and more popular, and it makes sense for you to register and maintain your business properly and accurately on the Apple Maps ecosystem.” explains Barry Schwartz.

Claim Your Apple Business Connect Now

You can claim your ABC at businessconnect.apple.com and we’d advise you to do so if you haven’t already.

You can easily claim and manage your Apple Business Connect listing, along with hundreds of other business listings, with BrightLocal’s Citation Builder service.

If you need help claiming your Apple Business Connect manually, we have a guide for that. Once you have, we’d recommend starting to show it the same care and attention you’ve been showing your GBP. Make sure you claim it and that all the basic information is up-to-date and correct.

At the very most, however, this is an exciting opportunity for agencies and local SEOs to add another string of expertise to their bow. Apple Maps is no longer a second-rate platform, so it’s worth spending time with it learning to understand how Apple prioritizes businesses in Maps, and how you might be able to impact its visibility via the features that Apple Business Connect now provides.

For anyone working on a multi-location business, there is now API functionality to manage multiple listings on Apple Maps

This update could provide some serious competition for Google Business Profile, with an offering almost on par with theirs. It could also have a major impact on consumers searching for local businesses on Apple devices, without the need to switch to Google.

For local marketers, gaining more insights about customers on Apple could prove that that’s where the audience is, so it’ll be interesting to see whether any shift their focus based on the stats they’re seeing. 

And, while we aren’t picking a side, Apple has certainly made this refresh look pretty great. It looks and feels a little slicker than Google’s business profiles.

How is the industry reacting?

While it may not feel seismic (after all, it’s technically an update of a nearly-decade-old service rather than a new product), it’s certainly garnered a bit of a buzz across the local search industry.

The new UI is getting some particularly positive reviews, especially as it’s easier to use than what we’re used to seeing with Google Business Profile.

David Mihm, Local SEO Consultant, and Co-founder of Near Media says:

Additionally, Mark Gurman, reporter for Bloomberg Business, explains that this may be preparation for Search Ads coming to Apple Maps.

 

While it might in the long run be a way to increase revenue for Apple, the opportunities for local businesses to reach and engage more audiences across Apple devices, without relying solely on Google, are profound 

How can I optimize my Apple Business Connect?

For now, you can follow similar steps to how you optimize your Google Business Profile, especially as a lot of the features are similar to that.

We’ll be coming back to you with a complete guide on optimizing your Apple Business Connect shortly, to help you absolutely smash your Apple Maps marketing in 2023.

In summary: what’s happened and what comes next

TL;DR?

  • Apple has updated its old listing functionality for Apple Maps, which was called Apple Maps Connect
  • This new product is called Apple Business Connect
  • Business Connect will allow you to manage your presence in Apple Maps
  • There’s a host of new features like images, insights, and customizable call-to-action buttons
  • You should claim your Business Connect and make sure the information is accurate

While this launch is very exciting, it’s also new territory. As such, there’ll be more to come. We’ll be keeping you updated with any further stories on Apple Business Connect and how you can get the most out of it.

Updating your Apple Business Connect? It could also be the perfect time to check over your Google Business Profile, too. Running a Google Business Profile Audit could give you insights into what you need to change, and even give you something to consider for your ABC.

Mike Hawkes
About the author
Mike is BrightLocal's Senior Content Marketing Manager. With over seven years of experience in digital marketing, he is responsible for devising and executing our content strategy and delivering a host of local SEO insights to our audience.

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