Some Surprising Map Demographics

Everybody assumes that among the big engines and their related properties Google’s users are the youngest, right? No so says Heather Hopkins at Hitwise. She says in fact that Google Maps users are older than those of MapQuest. This is completely counter-intuitive, but here’s the data:

[Hitwise] data shows that in the four weeks to 9th February 2007, US visitors to Google Maps were OLDER than those on MapQuest. This surprised me too – so I did some digging. In the past four weeks, nearly one quarter (24.19%) of US visitors to Google Maps were over the age of 55. Google Maps users were 10% more likely to be over the age of 55 than average for the US online population. The age group accounting for the largest share of visits to Google Maps was 55+.

Compare this to MapQuest where those aged 35-44 comprise the largest share of visits, accounting for 21.99% of US visits in the past four weeks. Close behind were those aged 25-34 year olds making up 21.80% of visits followed by those aged 55+ at 21.76%. US Internet users aged 25-44 are more likely to be on MapQuest than average for the online population.

She’s going to do a follow-up post with further detail. But these findings are very interesting because it upends the conventional wisdom about Google and MapQuest and is positive news for the latter in terms of the strength and “elasticity” of the brand.

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Related: Google is making Maps into more and more of a social platform:

Over the past 11 months [since the introduction of My Maps], people have created more than 9 million My Maps, encompassing a total of 40 million placemarks. That’s an impressive 1 new placemark created every second!

Microsoft has done this too (and did it before Google) but not as aggressively. The strategy has numerous benefits for Google and local data.

2 Responses to “Some Surprising Map Demographics”

  1. Perry Says:

    Here’s another way to look at this – Google’s power is search centric, the young demo- esp. teen/college age crowds view search as a homework tool first and an occasional use too for some shopping secondarily. Their life centers on a network of social and shopping sites that have little connectivity to google (ex YouTube).

    The busier you get and the more “spending experience” you have, the more search becomes valued (“it saved me money and/or time”). Then your reliance on the Google borg kicks in and, well you just can’t s e e m t o s t o p…

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Plausible theory. Very interesting.

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