Maps and Navigation Apps: Discovery, Exploration Features Open Up Ad Opportunities
Maps and Navigation Apps: Discovery, Exploration Features Open Up Ad Opportunities

Maps and Navigation Apps: Discovery, Exploration Features Open Up Ad Opportunities

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WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report looks at advertising and marketing opportunities in the major map and navigation apps.

Maps and navigation apps have been a central feature of smartphones since the first iPhone, but new advertising options and map integrations have made them more prominent to consumers and accessible to advertisers. Marketers have a range of options for using maps and navigation platforms to promote discovery or a better user experience.


  • We estimate that about two-thirds of US smartphone owners will use map and navigation maps at least once per month this year. Other studies show that more than 90% of US consumers ages 50 and younger use map apps.
  • Google Maps has over 154 million US users, more than six times the amount of Apple Maps users. Most but not all of these users use Google Maps in their smartphones. Even among iOS users, Google Maps is the preferred map app.
  • Alphabet has introduced a variety of advertising formats within Google Maps and Waze. Roughly 6% of Google mobile search clicks for brand queries occur in Google Maps. Even so, monetization of map apps is still in its early days.
  • Google redesigned Google Maps to make it better for discovery and exploration. In doing so, it’s taking some cues from social media companies, such as Snapchat and Instagram, which have used maps or location tags to help users discover and explore locally relevant posts.
  • Map optimization is important because of the limited advertising opportunities. Accurate and complete place information as well as high ratings and/or social media exposure are essential for businesses that want to maximize exposure in apps.
  • Developers can also include maps within apps to increase engagement levels and better direct users to services.


  1. Maps Are Fundamental to the Smartphone Experience
  2. Major Map Advertising Formats
  3. Marketing and Maps
  4. Maps in the Advertising Background
  5. Key Takeaways
  6. eMarketer Interviews
  7. Read Next
  8. Sources
  9. Media Gallery

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