Apple launches Business Connect, names partners as advertising ambitions intensify


    • Apple launched Apple Business Connect, a new feature that allows businesses to customize the way their information appears across apps including Apple Maps, Messages, Wallet and Siri, according to a company announcement.
    • To enhance the feature, Apple has forged partnerships with several listing management agencies including Reputation, Rio SEO, Uberall and Yext to integrate the tool with their applications.
    • Business Connect launched last week in the U.S. and will roll out globally in the coming weeks. The move sees Apple continuing to step up its advertising capabilities in a bid to marketers while also battling to stay relevant against Google.

    Apple is upping its efforts to deliver stronger advertising capabilities to marketers, with its latest addition offering more control over how basic information like store hours, deals and location details is presented to consumers across its iOS platform, most notably within Maps.

    To use the tool, business owners must register through the Business Connect website using either an existing Apple ID or by creating a new one. Once registered and verified by Apple, owners can personalize their Apple Maps place card with photos, logos and basic information for free. Businesses can also use the new tools to connect with booking, ordering, and delivery services, enabling customers to transact directly from Apple Maps. A new feature, called Showcases, lets businesses provide consumers with offers and incentives, such as seasonal menu items and product discounts.

    The functionality of Apple Maps has historically lagged behind those offered through Google. This latest update could help the company catch up while offering a stronger appeal to brands. Accordingly, Apple has worked with partners like Yext, SOCi and Rio SEO to integrate Apple Business Connect’s API to their platforms to emphasize seamless updating capabilities — an asset that could prove critical. 

    “From our own research, we’ve found 84% of U.S. consumers say they use Apple Maps to search for business information,” said Joel Headley, vice president of product management at Rio SEO, in a release, also noting that 20% of consumers say they will not visit a business with incorrect or missing information. 

    Yext noted that it worked with several blue-chip brands, including McDonald’s, Panera Bread, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, to test the integration in advance of the official Business Connect release. According to Yext, the companies were pleased with the data accuracy and operational efficiency the new tools afforded for businesses with large location footprints. 

    “Yext’s integration with the Apple Business Connect API allows us to optimize IHG Hotels & Resorts’ 6,000+ global hotel listings, providing our guests with a more seamless and personalized hotel booking experience,” said Jolie Fleming, senior vice president of guest products and platforms at IHG Hotels & Resorts, in a statement. 

    The launch of Apple Business Connect dovetails with the company’s recent efforts to grow its advertising business. Last fall, the company expanded its App Store revenue streams by adding more capabilities for advertisers to market themselves on the service, including ad slots within the Today tab and on individual product pages. The company is also reportedly exploring ad placements in its Apple TV+ programming.


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