Last September, Apple gave local customers a new way to leave feedback about the stores, restaurants, and other businesses they visited with the launch of the Apple Maps rating system.
Local consumers could give a thumbs up or down, as well as share photos to help others understand the type of experience they might expect to have at that location.
Now, we’re seeing that Apple has added a secondary level to its review functionality by enabling customers to leave a thumbs up or down for specific aspects of the experience. The options available vary by business category and include:
- Customer service
- Services Offered
Here’s an example from the MacRumors blog:
What Enhanced Apple Maps Reviews Mean for Brands
Overall, Apple’s take on local reviews is a very minimal product. It gives people the ability to understand positive and negative sentiment much in the same way as a Facebook Like, without the additional context of a text review.
It’s also not as specific as the feedback you’ll get from Google My Business, where customers can leave 1-to-5-star ratings in addition to their text review and photos.
Brands cannot respond to Apple Maps reviews, and Apple does not give brands a way to pull these ratings into reporting dashboards.
The flip side of this reduced functionality is that there is less immediacy in monitoring reviews on this platform, as customers are not looking for an answer from the brand.
What’s more, a customer who may score a business low on a 1-5 star scale on GMB has the opportunity to give their review more nuance on Apple. They can give whatever aspect of the experience failed them the thumbs down while rating the other elements favorably, giving future searchers who see aggregate ratings for that specific aspect a more accurate picture.
What You Need to Know About Apple Maps Reviews
“It’s a great social addition for people searching for businesses on this platform,” says Brian Smith, Director of Data Partnerships & Local Strategy here at Rio SEO. “It provides social proof for those consumers looking for information to help them make a decision.”
Ryan Weber, Director of Client Success, notes that Apple also pulls in Yelp reviews to help give a more robust view of user sentiment — but this may indicate that could be changing.
Apple is asking for enhanced, higher resolution images of your products, services, and locations, he says. Weber adds, “Apple is now giving brands some control over uploading photos, which will complement Yelp’s mostly user-generated content from both reviews and photos. Embellishing the listing as much as possible helps people understand the experience on offer at that location. And it shouldn’t just be a logo; they want actual store imagery.”
Mick Wilson, our VP of Customer Success, shares his wish list of features for Apple Maps reviews. “Apple is minimizing the barrier to entry as far as leaving reviews,” he says. “You don’t have to sign in and leave a lengthy review; simply leave a thumbs up or down. All of these interactions are anonymized, so it aligns with Apple’s emphasis on user privacy. Still, it would be helpful for Apple to provide a way for brands to see aggregate performance by attribute and pull that into their existing reporting solution.”
Encourage Local Customers to Share Reviews
The more people interact with the listing, the more it may show for relevant terms. Help customers find your Apple Maps listing in order to leave a review and share photos that will fuel those positive interaction signals for the platform, as well as giving prospective customers the social proof they crave.
- Update in-store signage and use QR codes or shortened URLs to point customers to your Apple Maps listing.
- If you are using an email or SMS program to solicit reviews after an in-store visit or purchase, give Apple Maps as an option.
- Encourage customers to leave a review in follow-up surveys, on receipts, and at other post-transaction touchpoints.
Remember, offering discounts/free product or otherwise incentivizing reviews is against the terms of service of most platforms. Instead, focus on helping customers find their way to leave an authentic review on their own.
Apple Maps reviews are now available in over 60 countries including the U.S., U.K., Australia, much (if not all) of Europe, and more. See the full list here.