Gone are the days of printing out maps and step-by-step directions to a new destination. With the advanced integration of navigation apps, drivers today simply have to type in the address on their phone and hit the road. With several different navigation apps available for consumers, what should businesses know about how they work and how their listings are displayed? Keep reading to learn more!
Navigating The Most Popular Map Apps
Navigating the world among us has never been easier than it is today. With a smartphone in your hand, the possibilities are endless. There are quite a few different mapping applications available for users from Google Maps, to Apple Maps, and Waze. Unfortunately, as a business, you don’t have a choice over which mapping application your customers use. That means you need to keep your listings updated on every mapping application in order to keep your brand optimized for local search.
We get asked a ton of questions about the difference between these navigation apps. We thought we should take the time to give you a basic overview of the differences between these major mapping applications. Any brand looking to optimize their listings on mapping applications needs to understand how they work and what powers the listings on each map. Here is a look at some of the most popular mapping applications, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.
There is no dispute that Google Maps is the most used mapping application in the nation. At over 154 million monthly users as of April 2018, Google is the clear leader in mapping tools.
The Google Maps Interface
The overall look and feel of Google Maps is very clean. Compared to Apple maps it has much fewer icons on the map when you first open it up. However, as you zoom in closer, there is much more location information available for the user to interact with. Different icons for location types give the user quick at-a-glance information.
- Default map
- Satellite map
- Terrain map
- Transit details
- Traffic details
- Biking details
- Rideshare pricing (Lyft and Uber)
- Street view
- Location markers
- Alternate routes
- Parking information
- Indoor maps, ex: malls and airports
- Download offline map
- Google Assistant integration
- And much more
Google Maps Features
Google Maps is designed for local search. When you open up the map you’re greeted by the “Explore Nearby” tab. This tab encourages users to find local restaurants, coffee shops, events, and other businesses located nearby. This is just one of many features found on the Google Maps application. From things like commute routes, creating lists, customized restaurant recommendations, and much more, the Google Maps application is packed to the brim with features compared to Apple Maps.
Google Maps Business Listings
Google Maps has a clear advantage over every mapping application when it comes to business listings. Google My Business (GMB) profiles are the #1 source for local business information. Because of this, GMB listings have a ton of information available to consumers about each and every business location. It goes beyond just getting directions for a business, consumers are using Google Maps to research and plan their outings. This keeps users on the app longer and establishes it as a go-to source for local search.
Over 23 million monthly users turn to Apple Maps for their navigation needs. Exclusive to iOS devices, this mapping application is the default navigation tool for iPhone users.
The Apple Maps Interface
Apple Maps, although just as clean, shows much more map information upfront than Google Maps. However, when you zoom in, it clearly lacks in location information compared to Google Maps. On a positive note, Apple Maps is in the middle of a complete rebuild which has already shown to have better location information and features (as seen in Northern California in cities like San Francisco).
- 2D and 3D view
- Standard map
- Transit map
- Satellite map
- Location markers
- Flyover (in major cities)
- City tours (in major cities)
- Rideshare pricing (Uber only)
- Indoor maps (limited)
- Siri integration
Coming soon to apple maps:
- Better road networks
- Pedestrian information for walkable spaces
- Better representation of park and terrain areas
- Improvements to building shapes and sizes
- Front door guidance to businesses
- Improved search results
- Spotting road construction
- Accurate 3D renderings
- AR integration
- Visual redesign
Apple Maps Features
Apple Maps is much more focused on building an accurate map than it is on packing in user features. This being said, it does have some unique features that Google Maps does not have. One of those features is something called Flyover. Flyover lets the user get an aerial interactive 3D view by moving their phone. This feature is only available in some major cities for now. Another unique feature is its ability to list out all the stores within a mall. Although Google maps has better indoor maps, it does not provide a list as Apple does.
Apple Maps Indoor Map Mall Stores
Apple Maps Business Listings
Apple listings are currently powered by Yelp and Foursquare. In 2016, Apple released Maps Connect to give business owners a better way of updating their Apple Maps listing information directly. It still pulls information from Yelp and Foursquare to support your listing but it does give businesses a way of taking control of their information directly. Unfortunately, unless you’re a multi-location business with over 1,000 locations, there is no option for bulk updating your listings, unless you work with a service.
Here’s the listing information a business can provide in Maps Connect.
- Business name
- Phone number (verified)
- Business category
- Business location (Place the location marker closest to the entrance of your business to improve the quality of Apple Maps)
- Business hours
- Social media and other relevant accounts
As you can see, this is much less information than provided in a GMB listing which would have about sections, booking and reservations, posts, photos, Q & A, messaging, and more. This is just one more reason why businesses need to keep their Yelp listings updated.
Honorable Mentions: Waze
Waze, which was purchased by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is the second most used mapping application in the US with over 25 million monthly users. This crowd-sourced application has some seriously loyal fans which is why it remains so popular with consumers. However, unlike Google and Apple Maps, their listing information is much less detailed, which is why I’m only giving it an honorable mention.
The Waze Interface
The Waze map is pretty busy. Much of this is due to real-time alerts crowdsourced from the public. It has a ton of features which can be distracting at times but the navigation app prides itself on creating the best alternate routes for its users. Because of this, Waze has a lot of unique settings that help the map to navigate for the user specifically.
- Vehicle types
- Record or change voice instructions
- Download maps
- Police, accident, road hazard notifications
- Gas prices
- Updating routes
Waze has a ton of features, maybe too many. Custom profiles, messaging between users, music integration, carpooling, calendar connections, and even homes for sale are just some of the features available to users.
Waze Places Listing Google Listing on Waze
Waze Business Listings
There are two types of listings on Waze. Listing information can either be pulled from Google or from Waze Places. Waze Places are listings that have information added by community editors. Anyone can become a community editor, but there are levels (6 levels) required in order to increase your status and make changes to businesses without needing approval. The listings that are pulled from Google include a lot less information than those that are Waze Places. Google listings on Waze only include the name, address, phone number, and website. Waze also caters to advertisers fairly well which may be a helpful alternative for brands that don’t have the time to become a community editor. Of course, that means you’re paying advertising rates to get your listings seen.
How Multi-Location Brands Manage Their Listings Across Every Mapping Application
As you can see, each mapping application offers unique features for their users. Although Google is the most popular mapping application, it doesn’t mean it’s the only application you should focus your listing strategy on. If you’re a multi-location business you have to ensure accurate listings across every map, review site, and other directories, this can take an incredible amount of time and effort to keep them all updated.
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