Apple Maps is a mapping and navigation application developed by Apple Inc. for its iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS operating systems. The app was first introduced in 2012 as a replacement for the built-in Google Maps app on iOS devices. It faced challenges with its launch, such as inaccurate landmark placement, poor search results, and erroneous navigation. Despite these early issues, Apple has continued to invest in and improve its mapping app, making it an increasingly valuable alternative to Google Maps.
One of the most significant updates to Apple Maps is the recent launch of Apple Business Connect. This free tool gives business owners control over their Apple Map listings, similar to what Google has been doing for years. Like Google’s platform, business owners can update and manage their information on Apple Maps.
This is a game-changer for businesses looking to increase their visibility and drive more customers to their business.
While Google Maps is more popular, Apple Maps should not be ignored. It is the default navigation app for over 100 million mobile devices in the United States. With an increasing number of people using voice search, it is worth noting that Siri, Apple's voice assistant, uses Apple Maps for its data. This means that if a customer uses Siri to search for a business it will pull up the listing from Apple Maps, not Google Maps, making it essential for businesses to have an accurate and up-to-date listing on Apple Maps.
Let's talk about what's actually available in Apple Business Connect. Much like its Google counterpart, Apple Business Connect allows businesses to update hours and add images, logos, and business categories. This gives business owners the ability to ensure that their listing is accurate and up-to-date, which is crucial for customers who are searching for a business. Additionally, while Apple Maps will also have traditional action buttons for driving directions, phone calls, and visiting your website, businesses can also add "custom actions" like "book a reservation," "order food," or "purchase ticket," to name a couple of the options. This gives businesses the power to meet customers' needs directly within the listing and make it more convenient for customers to take action. This can help increase conversions and drive more customers to their business.
Another feature of Apple Business Connect is the ability to add timely announcements directly to your listing. This allows businesses to speak directly to their potential customers as they search for them. This feature can be used to promote special offers, events, or any other information that is relevant to customers. For example, a restaurant could use this feature to promote a daily special, or a store could use it to announce a sale.
Apple Business Connect also includes a new insights dashboard, which will show businesses how their listing is performing. This dashboard provides insights like the number of clicks to your business’s website, and information about what people searched for when they found you. This information can help businesses better understand their customers and optimize their listings accordingly. For example, if a business sees that a lot of customers are searching for "vegan options," they may want to highlight their vegan menu items more prominently on their listing.
While Apple Business Connect is a powerful tool, it is not without its limitations. One of the main limitations is the review system. Currently, reviews are aggregated from a couple of sources, primarily Yelp. This makes a review marketing strategy on Apple Maps a little more complicated, as businesses will need to manage their reviews on multiple platforms. Additionally, there are no 3rd party integrations for data reporting. Businesses will need to manually track and analyze the data from their Apple Maps listing within the platform, which can be time-consuming. However, as Apple continues to iterate on its platform, it is likely that they will address these issues and improve the review system and data reporting capabilities.
Another limitation of Apple Business Connect is that it is currently only available to business owners directly. This means that agencies or third-party companies that manage listings for multiple businesses will not be able to access the platform and update listings on behalf of their clients. While Apple has promised this functionality in the future, it is a limitation that businesses should be aware of.
Apple Business Connect is a game changer for business owners who want to take control of their Apple Map listings. It is a powerful tool that will help businesses optimize their listings, better understand their customers, and increase their visibility on the platform. Businesses should take this change seriously and start taking advantage of this new feature to increase their visibility and drive more customers to their business. While the platform has some limitations, it is still a valuable tool that can help businesses reach more customers and grow their business.
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