A consumer survey has revealed that Google Maps is by far the most popular entry point when it comes to searching for local businesses.
According to a Brandify study, 77% of users turn to Google Maps to learn about businesses near them, which is way above the closest competitors Facebook (38%) and Yelp (35%), and even further ahead of rival map tools like Apple Maps (16%) and Bing (10%).
While the revelation that Google Maps is the most popular port of call will not be a surprise to anyone, the study emphasises the huge disparity between it and any other similar tool, and drives home the importance of having a visible and up-to-date presence on the online mapping service.
What makes this even more the case is that more than half of the respondents (56%) said they were most likely to pay a personal visit to the business, compared to the 36% who would make a phone call and the 13% likely to contact it online.
Two major myths busted
Notably, the study dispels two common misconceptions about the internet and online marketing.
The first is that having an online presence is solely about making online sales. While e-retail is important to many businesses, the fact so many users are likely to visit businesses they find on Google Maps shows that a listing can be just as important for the likes of pubs, restaurants, newsagents, greengrocers and any other business that relies mostly on over-the-counter sales. What’s more, with 54% of those planning a personal visit saying they would do it on the same day, the conversation can be almost as instant as with an online sale.
Secondly, the study challenges the presumption that most smartphone owners are using the internet while “out and about”. In fact, 59% of local business smartphone searchers are doing it in their own homes.
What’s as clear as ever is the importance of setting up a Google My Business listing to ensure you appear on Google Maps and are being found by people searching for what you offer. If you need assistance with this, contact the Engage Web team.