Hitwise’s press release late last month regarding online maps was, amusingly, grasping for a story hook.
Playing off the sterotype of men adamantly refusing to ask for directions, it touted the fact that we are prefectly happy to ask websites for directions. And I quote: “According to Hitwise…nearly half (49.1 percent) of visitors to mapping Web sites were male for the four-week period ending July 16, 2005.”
Meaning what, exactly? That women make up the other half of the visitors? That the percentage of each gender using online maps is roughly the same percentage that exist in the real world?
So where’s the news? The news is not, as the headline of the press release implies, that more men use online maps than do women, but that more men than women prefer MSN TerraServer (65%) and Google Maps (55%). Not as interesting, I know.
In the same press release, Hitwise ranks the most popular Internet map sites. The market share for the top five are:
Local Intenet Advertising With Online Maps
Online map sites are a unique avenue for local Intenet advertising. There are few things we can assume about the visitors to these sites:
- They plan to travel to a specific location and
- based upon their input, the web site knows exactly where they want to go.
Presumably, then, you should be able to buy advertising at map sites based upon user input so you can target potential customers who will happen to be in your specific geographic location.
By advertising to them during their trip-planning session, you may be able to suggest that they visit your store while they are in the neighborhood. This method of advertising will obviously be more effective for some types of businesses than for others, restaurants and dry cleaners, I imagine would have more success than a search engine marketer.
Based on the Hitwise data, we know which sites attract the most traffic and we also know which sites to use if our target audience is men on the go. Of the top five map sites, only the beta Google Maps does not have advertising.