I work in advertising, in an area called digital strategy. As part of my work, I try to understand people’s drivers to interact with media and technology; to gain a deeper knowledge of the way in which people relate with brands, family, friends, colleagues, and strangers through technology; and to come up with novel ideas that creatively engage the audience beyond technology.

One of the many tools I use to inform my strategies is called comScore: an online audience measurement tool which combines behavioral and survey insights to report web and mobile usage.

I thought on running some comScore reports for the “Maps” category, to learn more about usage and engagement with online mapping platforms.

Below you will find some highlights on the category, and a list of sites that receive most traffic.

[Reported data: September 2010.  Scope: Internet usage on computer-based platforms. Target: US online consumers – all demographics, and all locations].

  • 96.3 million US Internet users have visited online maps destinations the past September (compared to 76.7 million users in September 2009) – This represents 45.2% of the total US population who accessed the Net in September 2010.
  • The 26% improvement in traffic to maps websites among US consumers is remarkable, particularly, when considering that the total traffic to the Internet has only increased 7% during the same period.
  • Some explanations for this growth may include, but are not limited to: improved navigation and user experiences, new and enhanced features, new integration opportunities between maps and people’s websites and social networking profiles, growing interest in mapping fueled by the latest developments in GPS and other location-aware technologies, better experiences on certain kinds of maps observed in larger sizes of screens (PC vs. mobile), increased publicity of mapping platforms from their producers, and so forth.
  • Top visited destinations mostly offer locator tools, driving directions, and traffic information. Still, there are other maps destinations that capture the attention to thousands of visitors, and offer a variety of different things:
  • WikiMapia.org (984 thousand unique visitors) “…combines Google Maps with a wiki system, allowing users to add information, in the form of a note, to any location on Earth” (definition from Wikipedia).
  • WalkScore (595 thousand unique visitors) calculates the “walkability” of any address and helps people find a “walkable” place to live.
  • MapLandia (355 thousand unique visitors) “…provides the searchable world gazetteer based on Google Maps”.
  • MapQuest Gas Prices (It was launched only an year ago, and got 273 thousand visitors in September 2010) – “Allows you to input your trip length, gas price from the station you’re going to fill up at and the miles per gallon your car gets. Once you do that you receive an estimate of what a trip will cost you in terms of fuel”. The platform also maps alternative fuel locations, gas and diesel prices, etc.
  • WeedMaps (202 thousand unique visitors) “…is a place where medical marijuana patients can connect with other medical marijuana patients to freely review local cannabis dispensaries”.
  • Mappery (198 thousand unique visitors) “…is a diverse collection of real life maps contributed by map lovers worldwide”.

Some of the reports I can pull from comScore include: demographics (traffic to a particular site or category, reported by age, gender, and household income), and change in trend (this report compares traffic trends for up to 15 months). The kind if data I can pull for each report includes: unique visitors to a site or category, daily visitors, average visits per month, time spent on the site, pages visited, and more. If you are interested in a particular website, and the website is reported, please let me know. I’d be happy to pull the data you may need and walk you through the reports.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!