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January 24, 2023

Apple Business Connect // Local Marketing Insider #051

Last week Apple launched its refreshed local business profile tool, Apple Business Connect. Learn what's new and what's not.

Last week Apple launched its refreshed local business profile tool, Apple Business Connect.

The tool is free and allows businesses to create a custom listing card that appears for a billion+ Apple users in Apple Maps, Messages, Wallet, Siri and a few more.

“We created Business Connect to provide Apple users around the world with the most accurate information for places to eat, shop, travel, and more,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “Apple Business Connect gives every business owner the tools they need to connect with customers more directly, and take more control over the way billions of people see and engage with their products and services every day.”

Promoted as a new product launch, I think it's more sensible to call it a rebrand with some feature enhancements. Earlier versions of the product went by Apple Places (2021) and Apple Maps Connect (2014). So this version isn’t anything wildly new - your business likely already has a business listing through Apple. However, there are some fun new features available that power a more visual and branded experience for your business.

What’s New

New customizable information: logo, cover image, attributes, business description. I think it looks nice. In fact, the ability for businesses to make their listing cards branded and visually appealing is better now through Apple than Google.

Showcases: A new special promo tool is a fun spot to feature key items; seasonal menu items, product discounts, events, new product releases, etc. At the moment this feature is available in the US, and international markets coming later.

Credit: Apple

Direct actions: order food/groceries via Instacart, make reservations via Opentable, scan showtimes, buy tickets, browse menus, chat, visit the website, call.

Credit: Apple

Insights: Get data on impressions, clicks and what people searched for before tapping on your location. What I find particularly interesting is the data on how people found your listing, be it a brand search, category search, or location/area-based search. Tracking this data over time is a great way to identify changes in your listing visibility (i.e. rankings) and brand recognition in your local market.

Credit: Apple

API: With the Business Connect API multi-location businesses can push up-to-date profile information at scale via listings management services.

Yelp and TripAdvisor Still Provide Reviews

In recent years, there has been speculation of Apple sunsetting its Yelp and TripAdvisor integrations in favor of a proprietary reviews and ratings system in the same vein as Google, but that did not happen with this launch.

For the majority of businesses, Apple Maps is still heavily integrated with Yelp, displaying TripAdvisor reviews primarily for hospitality businesses.

Apple is slowly rolling out a proprietary rating system within Maps, but anecdotally, it's still early days. Not much has changed since I wrote an article about it almost two years ago. With Apple’s rating system, you can rate businesses with a thumbs up or down for a few different categories and add photos, but that is about it - no space to add commentary.

No Departmental Listings are Available

Unlike Google, Apple does not offer departmental listings. With this, local businesses are limited to a single primary category. I’ve gone into more detail in a previous LMI about the merits of a departmental business listing strategy, so hopefully Apple catches up in that regard.

How to Access Your Profile

Access the backend to customize your business’s page at businessconnect.apple.com.

All in all, it’s important to be on top of Apple Business Connect, as with any multifaceted business listing strategy. With hundreds of millions of users, Apple Maps and its related products are an important source of information for local shoppers. It’s best to be prepared to optimize the customer experience and help them get in the door of your business. 

Something fun to end this LMI - TikTok squashing any doubt it's coming after Google...


See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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