- We analyzed 100 business profiles on all four channels for views and actions over six months and then compared the results.
- Google Business Profile was #1; Apple Business Connect was the #2 most impactful channel, ahead of Bing Places and Yelp.
- Apple Generates ~50% of the volume of actions like Direction requests when compared to Google.
- Try comparing your own data to see if you find the same results!
In Part 2 of this series, we take a closer look at how Apple Business Connect stacks up compared to Google Business Profile. If you missed Part 1, where we take a deep dive into Google Business Profile vs. Bing Places, you can find it here.
As a reminder, we collected this data over the course of six months (October 2022 – March 2023) and compared the same metrics across Google Business Profile, Bing Places, Apple Business Connect, and Yelp.
Also, the businesses we compared are ALL in the restaurant and hospitality industry. These portfolios have a mix of quick-service restaurants, casual dining, and fine dining.
Look for subsequent future research for businesses in other industries and updated research periodically throughout the coming years. For now, we picked restaurants because they are one of the highest volume businesses on search, and typically, sites like Yelp claim that they are the leaders in this industry, making some seriously bold claims in their marketing and sales about being bigger and reaching more people than Google (not true).
Part 3 of this series will dive deeper into Google vs. Yelp. Be on the lookout for that article in the coming days.
In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of the overall data across all four platforms. For those of you who might not be statisticians (like me), for every 100% difference, that equates to 1x.
The New Apple Business Connect
The 2012 launch of Apple Maps will probably go down in textbooks as one of the worst product launches in history for a major tech company. Over a decade later, it’s still used to compare other failed product launches throughout the industry. If your product launch is called “Apple Maps bad,” then you really messed up.
Apple’s goal was to go head-to-head with Google and rival Google Maps by making Apple Maps the default on iOS devices. Right out of the gate, Apple Maps was mocked for giving users incorrect directions due to bad GPS data from TomTom, misspelled place names, and missing notable businesses and landmarks altogether.
Then in 2014, in an attempt to get the information on Maps corrected, Apple launched “Maps Connect,” where businesses could finally claim their profiles and provide much-needed updates to its database to improve the information on Apple Maps.
Through Maps Connect, you could provide your:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Standard Hours
- Website URL
- Facebook and Twitter URL
- Yelp URL
- App store URL
The remainder of your profile on Apple Maps pulled content from other sites like Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc, for reviews and images.
Since that launch in 2014, though, not much has changed, until recently. Earlier this year, Apple relaunched “Maps Connect” and renamed it to “Business Connect.” With that relaunch, Apple rolled out some new features that I have been eagerly awaiting for years.
Fortunately, Apple has been studying Google and stole a few pages from their playbook. With the relaunch, they FINALLY introduced important features like:
- Analytics (Impressions, Views and Actions)
- Photos and Logos
- Showcase (Similar to Google Posts)
- Call to action button
- Special Hours
Privately, I have been pleading for Apple to step it up and become more relevant when it comes to providing businesses with tools to update and manage their profiles on Apple Maps, so this update was very exciting.
As the default Mapping application on iOS devices, they have millions of default users that businesses can tap into. Until this update, though, it was impossible to measure the size of the channel.
As exciting as this update from Apple Maps was, I was quickly brought back to reality when I started using the platform. Although the new tools and features are a major upgrade from what was offered previously, it’s obvious that they are still well behind Google. In fact, much of their interface and new features are reminiscent of what Google had 5 years ago.
One of the most surprising revelations on the new Apple Business Connect is that you can see a heat map of where users visit your business from (based on direction requests). Yes, Apple, the “privacy company,” is showing businesses the (approximate) physical location where users requested directions to businesses. Keep in mind that Google was doing this 5 years ago and has since removed that data due to privacy concerns. The irony here is astounding. It’s incredible that Google would do something for users’ privacy, and then Apple introduces that feature a few years later.
Heat map of where people requested directions from on Apple Maps
Yes, Apple, the “privacy company”, is showing businesses the (approximate) physical location where users requested directions to businesses.
Either way, easily the biggest upgrade to Apple Business Connect is the ability to see comparable metrics on Apple maps, like views of the business profile and actions from customers. Prior to February of 2023, these metrics were unavailable.
Apple Business Connect customer actions
With that being said, I couldn’t be more excited about the recent uptick in competition on search and local directories. Both Bing and Apple are making things much more exciting than things were just a year ago!
Google Business Profile vs. Apple Business Connect
When comparing Google Business Profile to Apple Business Connect, Google generated:
Probably the most exciting discovery in this research was that Apple generated almost as many direction requests as Google. It’s likely that since Apple is the default on iOS, a lot of navigation requests occur on Apple that may have originated from another search engine like Google or Bing. It’s also likely that Apple Maps users might already know where they want to go and are just using Apple Maps for navigation, not for discovering new businesses.
Apple generated almost as many direction requests as Google.
In the new Apple Business Connect, we can again see metrics that used to be available on Google but have since been deprecated. For example, Apple shows how people found your ‘place card’ (profile). Google used to show us “direct” vs. “discovery” breakdowns but has since replaced that with a more robust and detailed report of specific keywords that users used to discover the business.
In this one example, we can see that nearly 70% of the searches on Apple were, in fact, for the name or brand of the business. This was pretty consistent for the businesses we evaluated. So that is likely why we see such a small gap between things like direction requests (intent to visit is very high when the search is for a business name or brand) but a much bigger gap on things like Phone calls and Website visits, which are more likely to be the result of a non-branded search.
Here’s another side-by-side of Google vs. Apple for just one location included in this research:
Customer Actions on Google Business Profile (April 2023)
Profile views on Google Business Profile (April 2023)
Customer Actions on Apple Business Connect (April 2023)
Profile views on Apple Business Connect (April 2023)
Apple vs. Yelp and Bing
As mentioned, we were excited to see how much bigger Apple maps are than Yelp and Bing. The numbers don’t lie. Apple is firmly in position #2 when it comes to local search impact.
When comparing Apple Business Connect to Yelp, Apple generated:
When comparing Apple Business Connect to Bing Places, Apple generated:
As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I’m not 100% sure what Bing calls a “view” is the same thing as Google, Apple, or Yelp. If it truly is the same thing, then the click-through and conversion rate on Bing is abysmal. Remember that we sync our Google profiles with Bing and have imported content like photos so that the listings are as attractive as possible. We’re not cutting corners here to make Bing look bad. Furthermore, much third-party content comes from the same sources on Apple and Bing, like reviews, links to reserve a table, etc.
We’re not cutting corners here just to make Bing look bad.
If you’re a local business, here’s where you should focus your energy and efforts in order of priority:
- Google Business Profile
- Apple Business Connect
- Bing Places
I hope this was helpful and that you’ll apply these ideas to your business.
Reach out if you have any questions. I love a good conversation and am eager to see if more businesses are experiencing the same results as our clients.