Apple Maps was so bad that people refused to upgrade to iOS 6 until they could get Google Maps, says data from massive mobile ad exchange MoPub. The 12,000 apps it supports saw a 29 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users in the five days after Google Maps for iOS was released. Chitika reported just 0.2 percent growth immediately after the launch but it seems people waited for the weekend to do the long install.
[Update: One fact that may confound this data is that roughly 2 million iPhone 5s went online in China over the say timespan as the study analyzed, and they may have contributed to the increased iOS 6 traffic data. However, those phones aren't likely enough to account for the entire boost in iOS 6 traffic to MoPub-partnered apps.]
MoPub monitors over 1 billion ad impressions a day across more than 12,000 apps and a dozen ad networks, making its data set more reliable than individual ad network Chitika. MoPub provided TechCrunch with data showing a 13 percent increase in iOS 6 users just from Monday to Wednesday, indicating many people switched to the newest Apple mobile firmware as soon as Google Maps’ standalone app arrived in the App Store.
The remaining increase was likely delayed until the weekend and therefore not seen in Chitika’s data because people wanted to wait for positive reviews of Google Maps for iOS 6, or they didn’t have time to do the lengthy OS update and stare at a loading bar during the work week.
MoPub’s CEO laid it out for me, explaining “we observed since the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 a 30 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users, and we think it’s related to Google Maps. It verifies the hypothesis that people were actually holding back to upgrade until Google Maps was available.”
That was in fact my hypothesis last week after seeing one friend tell others that Google Maps had arrived, and then watching them all sit down and immediately upgrade to iOS 6 and download Google Maps — which itself racked up over 10 million installs in the first 48 hours after launch. Google will probably never release this data, but I bet it saw a massive drop-off in traffic to the iOS 5 Maps app it powered that people clung to instead of switching to iOS 6.
The whole situation has been a bit embarrassing for Apple. Still, developers, advertisers, users, and Apple all benefit from Google Maps getting people onto iOS 6. More people are probably now willing to buy an iPhone 5 which comes pre-installed with iOS 6. More people on the operating system means more people using and helping improve the latest version of Siri. iOS 6 adoption reduces fragmentation for developers.
And finally, iOS 6 comes with IdentifierForAdvertising (IFA), which replaces UDID, a flawed user identifier system that lacked proper privacy protection or an ad-tracking opt out. Advertisers could assemble data about someone by linking it to their UDID.
The new IFA system can be reset so users can clear such a profile or opt out of tracking. For advertisers, it allows for conversion tracking so they can see if a user with a particular IFA who was shown an ad later bought what the ad advertised. Meanwhile, developers can use IFA to partner with mobile app discovery services and pay per install when they’re delivered instead of per click.
So it looks like the rebirth of Google Maps for iOS brought benefits to iOS 6 and everyone else, not the least of which is that you won’t have to worry about Apple Maps directing you to a barren wasteland of doom.
[Image Credit: Nik Cubrilovic]