- 58% of businesses have not claimed their Apple Maps listing.
- 59% of businesses are unaware of Apple Business Connect's features.
- 88% of people use Google Maps, compared to just 12% using Apple Maps.
- Just 16% of business are making use of Apple Business Connect.
It was meant to be the big rival to Google Maps. And yet, right off the bat in 2012, Apple Maps fell short of expectations: using mapping data from TomTom, providing incorrect directions, misspelled place names, and even omitting some places altogether.
When its first iteration of business listings, Apple Maps Connect, was released in 2014, the news flew somewhat under the radar. In fact, many of the tweaks Apple has made to its maps product have.
Skip forward to January 2023. A big announcement came from Apple: they were re-releasing their listings service as Apple Business Connect, and local marketers were intrigued. Finally, it looked pretty good. Finally, Apple users might consider switching to their device’s native maps app. And, importantly, it was a new(ish) platform for local business discovery.
So, where are we five months in? Are more users adopting Apple Maps now, and are businesses making use of Apple Business Connect?
What is Apple Business Connect?
Apple Business Connect was introduced in January 2023, announcing new tools for businesses to optimize their listings, similar to those we’re familiar with in Google Business Profile. You can now update photos and logos, add promotions through ‘Showcase’ cards, and create custom actions, such as making hotel bookings or restaurant reservations.
This followed the rollout of an overhauled Apple Maps interface in 2021 and 2022, with better iconography to identify different location and place types, as well as improved map detail and navigation.
Apple Maps vs Google Maps: who uses what?
In terms of device preference, global market share data from StatCounter shows that Android’s operating system takes the lion’s share, with an impressive 72% of the global market in Q1 2023 and iOS at around 27%.
Historically, though, Apple devices and iOS operating systems have been heavily preferred by consumers in the US. I distinctly remember listening to an episode of The Vergecast a few years back and being astounded by the “blue bubble” phenomenon. If you’re an iOS user, you’ll understand what I mean—but for all of us Android (or other) users: essentially, Apple users hate us and our stupid green bubbles.
As of 2023, market research highlights that Apple’s iOS takes between 55-57% of the US market share, with Android claiming between 42-45% (ranges use data from both Financial Times and Statista research). But does that mean all of those iOS users automatically side with Apple Maps? Not necessarily.
While Apple Maps is exclusive to iOS devices, any user can download Google Maps. We polled our social communities across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to find out their overall preference, as consumers, between Apple Maps and Google Maps.
- 88% of people use Google Maps, compared to 12% who use Apple Maps.
It’s important to note that our social communities cover mostly US, Canadian, UK, and Australian audiences, so there will be a broader representation of Android users. But the results are staggeringly clear—Google Maps is the clear victor!
As for delving into the reasoning behind their choices, some of our community volunteered their thoughts:
Obviously very biased to Google Maps and as an android user it’s my default for everything anyway. My wife, Debi, plans all our trips via Google maps (using saved lists) even though she is an Apple user. Debi just finds Apple maps frustrating compared to what she can do with G…
— Andy Simpson 🇬🇧 (@ndyjsimpson) May 18, 2023
When researching places to go, I like to use Google Maps since it’s connected to Google reviews whereas Apple is connected to Yelp.
— Andrew Prince (@AndrewPrince16) May 18, 2023
“As a consumer, my phone is Android so I use Google Maps for my GPS. Also, when friends use Apple Maps to navigate to our house it always sends them to the wrong place. We always have to tell them to use Google Maps or they won’t make it. Google is simply a better, more accurate product at this time.”
It’s clear that, even after many improvements to Apple Maps in recent years, users see Google Maps in a much more favorable light, whether due to better location accuracy, a more enjoyable interface, or familiarity and trust in its linked Google Reviews.
Are Businesses Using Apple Maps?
Either way you look at it, Apple has previously stated that Apple Maps has hundreds of millions of users.
When you spend so much of your working day in Chrome browsers (and generally at the behest of Google’s guidelines) it can be easy to forget about claiming and optimizing an Apple Maps listing. But if your business isn’t correctly listed, you’ve got a lot of people to potentially annoy–and many that won’t find you altogether!
“It’s important to make sure your business details are correct as Apple Maps is the default map app for all iOS devices, plus you need to keep in mind that Apple Maps data is used in various other places, such as the DuckDuckGo search engine.”
Who’s claimed their Apple Maps business listing?
We wanted to find out how many businesses are making use of the listing service, so we polled our customer base to find out 1) if they have claimed their listing on Apple Maps and 2) whether this was claimed before or after Apple Business Connect was released.
- 58% of businesses have not claimed their Apple Maps business listing.
- Just 18% of businesses have claimed their Apple Maps listing since new features were released.
Although this is along the lines of what we expected, it’s quite shocking to see that almost two-thirds of businesses are missing out on their Apple business listings altogether. In its most basic form for businesses, Apple Maps is a credible and important platform for ensuring your name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistency. Additionally, as Claire highlights above, it’s also really important to consider what other services may be relying on Apple Maps, such as DuckDuckGo.
“Claiming and optimizing an Apple Maps listing is always one of the foundational pieces that I suggest when starting work with a new client. At present there aren’t as many ‘moving parts’ to ABC as GBP – but make sure you get the basics right at the outset – name, address, phone number, map pin, and any other fields that are available in the interface.”
Do Businesses know about Apple Business Connect?
We also wanted to explore the awareness levels of Apple Business Connect among businesses and whether those that have claimed their listings were actively using the tools. While January’s announcement was covered in local SEO and digital marketing news, we know that some of these can fly under the radar—particularly as far as Apple Maps is concerned. Has this knowledge reached the audience who arguably need it most: small businesses?
Again, we polled our customer base and highlighted several of Apple Business Connect’s features, announced in January 2023, to measure their awareness.
- 59% of businesses are not aware of the tools available via Apple Business Connect.
- Only 16% of businesses say they are using Apple Business Connect features.
Unsurprisingly, it’s a similar picture, with just as many businesses who haven’t claimed their listings on Apple Maps also completely unaware of the newer listings tools.
With 8% of businesses saying they are unsure, it suggests that they are probably unaware of the listings tools available, although it’s also possible that their listings are managed and optimized by an agency or consulting partner.
The bottom line is: awareness of Apple Business Connect is low. This means missed opportunities for optimizing your business listing with engaging content, such as professional and inspiring imagery, or raising awareness of unique offers with custom Showcase cards.
What should marketers do with this data?
First of all, if you haven’t already: claim your Apple Maps business listing! Whether you’re a local marketer working with clients or a small business managing your local SEO, you should consider claiming your business listings across prominent platforms as a foundational element.
Next, ensure your key business information is displayed and correct, such as your NAP, opening hours, website, and any other crucial information (think restaurant menus, payments accepted etc).
Take your efforts up a notch by optimizing your listing with Apple Business Connect’s tools. If you’re a marketing consultant or agency, speak to your clients and ensure you’re not missing out on any key offers or updates. Aim to educate them in the power of these tools and encourage good communication so they stay up to date. While they’re likely (hopefully!) aware of the importance of their Google Business Profile, remember that potentially millions of people use Apple Maps as a default, or may visit alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo.
So, are you surprised by these results? Has this information made you more likely to consider spending time on your Apple Maps listings? We hope you found it useful and that it’s given you something to think about for your business(es) or clients! Please feel free to share your thoughts on the topic with us over at The Local Pack or via our Twitter.
Our consumer poll “Do you use Apple Maps or Google Maps?” was conducted across Twitter, within BrightLocal’s Facebook Group The Local Pack, on Instagram stories, and on LinkedIn. A total of 143 votes were received. It’s important to acknowledge the small sample size and likely limitations around demographics here, but it helps us to form an overall picture of the current appetite for Apple Maps within the local marketing world.
The BrightLocal customer poll was conducted within our tool platform and received 384 responses from local SEO consultants, agencies, single-location businesses, and multi-location businesses.