Driving Directions Apps, Who’s Winning?
More and more frequently, your customers are finding you on their smartphones, and taking driving directions from them as well. As local digital marketers, we think it’s important to ask where those driving directions are coming from. According to a study by trusted local search expert Mike Blumenthal, it’s too close to call on iPhones.
The results of his survey found that 39.5 percent were using Google Maps, and 35.2 were using Apple Maps. The margin of error in his survey, however, was about 6 percent. It’s simply too close to call. Apple and Google Maps are in a statistical tie, though they have a clear lead on Mapquest and all the other alternatives.
In a broader study, Blumenthal still found Google Maps in a clear lead over the other options when consumers were simply asked “What product or service do you normally use to get driving directions?” Google Maps on the computer or android device was the clear winner with 30.3 percent. Mapquest, Bing, and Yahoo were far behind at 22.7 percent, and iPhones (Apple or Google) were at 16.4 percent.
The overall conclusion of the study is clear: Google Maps is still the clear winner. Investing in local search strategies centered around Google’s local search and maps technologies are still the safest bet. Since most of the alternatives use the same technology, local SEO strategy is unlikely to change dramatically in the near future.
Still, it’s clear that mobile has introduced some volatility and competition into the driving directions market, and it will be interesting to see how this changes the landscape in the years ahead.
The increasing fragmentation in this market also makes it clear that it’s not enough to check for accuracy in Google Maps. Google may be the leader, but it only makes up a third of your target audience. Throw Apple into the mix and you still only reach 50 percent. At minimum, these seven sources should be investigated for accuracy:
- Google Maps
- Apple Maps
Marketers and small businesses should also keep in mind that map behaviors are “sticky” and don’t change easily. Ages 54 and up are still more likely to use Mapquest that Google Maps, and ages 18 and under are almost as likely to use Apple maps as Google maps. This information is especially important if you’re buying pay-per-click ads on map channels.
The market for maps may be volatile, but a sound local search strategy is not. Sound SEO strategy is built on a platform of digital marketing that transcends the quirks of any algorithm. The focus is always on building long term results based on the three pillars of community building, outreach, and data analysis.