A new feature is coming to Apple Maps that allows users to post ratings and pictures of businesses and points of interest.
Maps users who tap the icon of a place they have physically visited can recommend the location with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” rating.
What are Apple Maps Ratings?
The new Apple rating system lets visitors and customers recommend places and business locations.
The system will distinguish relevant categories, so users can rate different aspects of the customer experience. For example, your business might receive a “thumbs up” rating for your product but a “thumbs down” for your service.
The Apple Maps app uses built-in machine learning to detect when a user has visited a place several times. To curb abuse, Apple will only request and accept ratings from users who have physically visited the location or business.
With an estimated 23.3 million users in the U.S., Apple Maps represents a significant consumer base that will generate a new stream of business reviews and ratings. The new feature is expected to launch this fall, so marketers need to start preparing now.
Here’s what we know so far about Apple Maps ratings.
How do Apple Ratings Work?
Clicking on an Apple Maps placemaker currently brings up reviews from third-party partners like Yelp, Foursquare and TripAdvisor. Clicking on the reviews to read more will direct the user to the App Store to download the partner’s app.
Soon, users will see a “Rate and Add Photos” option near the bottom of a business location’s profile. Clicking the button brings up a menu to rate that location.
The “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” format is similar to Facebook’s “yes” or “no” recommendations. However, ratings for specific categories regarding a location will offer more feedback data than a binary recommendation.
Meanwhile, Apple is adding a new “Add Photos to Maps” option where users can upload pictures directly to Maps. Previously, users would need to submit images and reviews to third-party apps for them to appear on Apple Maps.
Photos will only be available to users over 13 years old, and they will be reviewed by humans before displaying on the app.
Where are Apple Maps Ratings Available?
The new ratings feature for Apple Maps first appeared Aug. 28, and first reported by 9 to 5 Mac. It was included in the release of the sixth beta of iOS 14 – the most recent iPhone software update test.
Apple is in the early stages of implementing the feature, but ratings and images likely will go live for all iOS 14 users this fall. For now, the feature is only visible for a few points of interest on Maps. Digital Information World reports some users in the U.S. and Australia are seeing the option.
For managing reviews, Apple does plan to have strong spam detection. Along with geolocation requirements, ratings and photos will be linked to users’ Apple ID. If you see a rating or photo of your business that seems out of place, alert Apple through the Report a Problem feature.
To try out the new feature with your developer, you can download Apple’s latest beta build.
Impact on Reputation Management
Binary Fountain is closely watching developments around Apple Maps ratings as more details arise. It’s immediately clear, though, that the new feature will have an impact on your reputation management initiatives.
The new change aims to decrease Apple’s reliance on third-party platforms like Foursquare and Yelp as sources of reviews and photos. Those integrations may change or disappear as Apple builds its own database of customer feedback. Moreover, in the future, Maps users likely won’t be redirected to the App Store when trying to leave a business review or post an image.
The company’s foray into reviews has implications for the Local SEO community as well. Ratings and reviews are becoming the most important aspect of local search. And if Apple builds its rumored search engine, Maps ratings surely will weigh heavily on search rankings.
Another review platform means another opportunity to influence your online reputation and build your customer base. Binary Fountain can distribute your location data to hundreds of platforms, optimize your listings for local search, and manage customer reviews across all your facilities.
Schedule a free, 30-minute demo to learn more.
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist