Google Maps Is The Latest Super App Getting Monetized

Ad revenue is expected to grow by 64% in 2020 and reach $11 billion by 2023.

Google Maps is my #1 resource (my personal Super App) when it comes to all of my routine day-to-day activities. I use it to check out restaurants, stores, galleries and all kinds of events. I look for opening hours, reviews, interior photos, e.g., if I’m planning to visit a restaurant on my own, I want to see if there is bar seating and what it looks like, will I be comfortable there? What’s the vibe? I use it to plot my route around town, e.g., should I walk or take a subway or a car. And, of course, Google Maps is absolutely essential when I am planning my travels both domestically and internationally.

Google Maps has a few shortcomings, e.g., its subway directions in NYC are abysmal compared to Citymapper.

Overall, however, it’s an app I can’t imagine living without – which is why I’ve become such an active contributor. I’m a Level 7 Guide – and with over a billion Google Maps users globally (154 million in the USA), I get why any photo I post can end up with 2 million views. And that also explains why businesses especially in hospitality or retail, are clamoring to get on board to reach those millions of users. The “near me” feature is going to be a game-changer for advertisers.

Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps

Apple Maps was the default on my phone but it was so lousy I deleted it and switched to Google Maps years ago.

In checking back in on Apple Maps this weekend, I see it hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, I’m appalled they rely on Yelp for their restaurant reviews. Lame!

Apple is still playing catch-up. Search has never been their thing.

However, search is what Google was built on and it’s what gives it its edge. The Google Maps database is so much more robust and up-to-date than anything else out there. Apple doesn’t stand a chance.

Another amazingly useful aspect of Google Maps is that it lets users download portions of maps to be used offline. This was incredibly helpful on my recent road trip through remote parts of Utah where cell phone service was non-existent.

Read on below for more on Google Maps’ Monetization plans.

From Skift and Morgan Stanley:

“With 1 billion-plus users, Google Maps is a utility-like service (similar to Search) and in our view, remains the most under-monetized asset that we cover.”

Brian Nowack, Morgan Stanley Analyst

Google Maps officially launched in the United States — its first market — in 2005, and now offers navigation services in more than 240 countries and territories; it’s an almost indispensable tool for Western consumers.

Skift estimates that Google Maps will become an all-encompassing utility for navigation, mass transit options, and “near me” searches for hotels, restaurants, spas, and retail outlets.

Besides sponsored listings, Google Maps will offer promoted pins, augmented reality features, and new travel products.

Bottom Line.

Serious monetization is coming to Google Maps. Hopefully, this will not mess up the app’s integrity and usefulness.

Keeping my fingers crossed those monetization efforts will make Google Maps better, more robust and even more accurate.

Listen up Google! Do not ruin Maps by cluttering it up with a mess of ads like Facebook and Instagram have done on their sites.

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