Apple Business Connect: what it is and how it will work
Great news from Apple for all businesses!
Apple Maps, today, is incorporating a new tool that will enable the now widely used map service to compete even better with Google. The new entry will allow business owners to add, manage and update their information on the platform, including key details such as business hours and location, photos, offers and promotions, and much more. To do this, the company is launching a new web portal called Apple Business Connect, which allows businesses to manage their presence on 1.5 billion Apple devices from a single dashboard.
The service has been in the works for a long time at Apple. Although it was first launched back in 2012, Apple Maps relied for years on a simplified system called Apple Business Register, a program created to update Maps listings with the business information of various businesses. The pivotal problem with this system was that it relied totally on third-party data provided by partners such as Foursquare, Yelp and Tripadvisor.
Apple Business Connect: the steps to adopt it
For several years now, Apple has accustomed us to procedures that are as straightforward as they are devoted to the security of our personal data, and again it will be no different.
After going through a verification process, business owners will be able to update the business card with basic information such as office hours, phone numbers, address and more, including being able to insert a free template "information" page. Of course, not left out of this enrichment is the ability to also freely insert one's own logo and internal and external photos of one's business.
For the very first time, you will also be able to update/change the activity category and even add pre-entered subcategories to help Apple Maps users find your activity when searching.
Great changes on Geolocation as well. If the geographic location on one's page is incorrect, the owner will be able to independently move the placeholder on the map to the correct location.
Another major innovation will be on the integration of the infamous "Call to Action" button. While not widespread, some businesses on Apple Maps feature an "Action" button that allows a customer to take some sort of initiative such as booking a hotel room with Booking.com or similar platforms. With Apple Business Connect, the business owner will now be able to add "custom actions" completely independently.
For sales businesses, the news will also be from a marketing standpoint. Business and store pages will be able to be customized by showcasing "special offers" and "discounts of various kinds." These "storefronts," can include explanatory text, photos and even a personalized Call to Action that customers can take.
Apple Business Connect: a truly User Friendly system
After verification of their activity, owners will be able to designate other team members who will be allowed to update their information and configure their account to update multiple locations, if any.
Because it is a highly User Friendly system, before any changes are confirmed, owners will be able to see an on-screen preview of the new changes, so they know how their listing will look before it is published on both desktop and mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets.
Apple Business Connect: performance and tables galore
Although keeping business information up-to-date is the main reason for interacting with Apple Business Connect, the platform will also offer very detailed insights that will provide insight into the performance of the business page in real time. This information will be able to be displayed in an in-depth dashboard where one can find out how customers find the selected business and how they interact with the geolocation placeholder, for example by showing what navigation software they will use to get there.
Apple Business Connect: the paid marketing that "isn't there"
Regarding the ability to advertise one's business on the Business Connect platform, Apple says that, to date, it has no plans to monetize this system to allow owners of various businesses to showcase their listings prominently. So no ads for now, although the Business Connect platform seems to be setting the stage for some sort of future effort in that area of interest.
Apple in recent years has shown a growing interest in the digital advertising market and has broken the Google-Facebook duopoly by entering the industry head-on. Therefore, it would not be strange to see Apple consider integrating paid systems for the search ad market on its new Business platform. Apple Business Connect was launched in all countries worldwide on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, for now in the following languages: English, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, Finnish, German, French, Polish, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish.
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