Switching to Mapbox: Is Google Maps API too Expensive?

Alliance  ·  April 10, 2020

Google Maps made some updates to its billing platform and products in late 2018, requiring all users to incorporate a billing platform regardless of whether or not map services are used. This 2018 change updated Google Maps to the Google Maps Platform. We will review what the costs are for use of Google Maps Platform, how the changes affect your business, and whether an alternative solution may be better for you.

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What is the Google Maps Platform?

The Google Maps Platform is a series of API Keys that allow web developers to integrate Google Maps into website and mobile pages, as well as retrieve data from the results of these pages. The cost of Google Maps and it’s Alternatives Google Maps Platform has been separated into three categories of 18 different API Keys: Maps, Routes and Places.

Some businesses that used Google Maps before its update will have their own unique API key associated to each website they have. If you are new to the Google Maps platform or signed up after 2018, you will need to register an API key with your website.

A business may use one or a combination of these API categories depending on their needs. For assistance determining which API keys are best suited to your business, you can use the API Picker, located on the Google Maps website.

Some common API keys often used on Google Maps include:

  • adding a map to a web/mobile page
  • drawing a route
  • getting directions
  • data visualization throughout different regions
  • adding images, traffic conditions or transportation methods to an existing map.

How Much does the Google Maps Platform Cost?

Google has adjusted its billing methods for using the Maps platform based on the API keys chosen for integration or data collection. Google now offers a pay as you go billing structure, and each website is given a $200 monthly credit. The pay-as-you-go program also gives more flexibility on your account, allowing you to only use as much or little as you need. Any usage exceeding this amount is charged to your account.

Google Maps Pricing Change

How Do I Sign Up for Google Maps?

There are two ways to sign up for Google maps:

  • Through Google Maps Directly (charged immediately and can only pay via credit card)
  • Through a Google Maps Partner (can be billed through a monthly invoice)

What are the benefits of using a Google Maps Partner?

  • Can advise on where to incorporate maps on website
  • Can provide analysis and sales strategy based on data collection
  • Full service agency can implement a digital marketing campaign to help drive business growth based on location data
  • Can provide managed support on transitioning your existing Google Maps account, integrating a map on your website, or providing technical expertise for any Google Maps related issues
  • Flexible billing through invoicing

Mapbox Solution CompanyMapbox the Google Maps Alternative

The recent price changes within the Google Maps platform may make the costs too high for smaller businesses and organizations. Some businesses also may not use the maximum allotted 28,000 API calls per month, but still will have to pay more to take advantage of any of the more dynamic features throughout the Maps Platform.

Map Box Pricing

Mapbox is an alternative solution that also uses a map and data platform and similar features as Google Maps, but on a different pricing scale. Mapbox also offers features for market clustering and the ability to create custom markers on the map itself. It also offers the ability to create completely customizable maps through the Mapbox Studio feature. The pricing for Mapbox is comparatively less expensive than the Google Maps Platform.

Cost of Mapbox:

  • 50,000/loads per month is free
  • Every 1,000 web map views after that is .50

Cost of Google Maps:

  • 28,000/loads per month is free
  • Every 1,000 web map views after that is 7.00
  • Every 1,000 web map views after 100,000 is 5.60

Comparatively, Mapbox is a less expensive alternative that can be a great option for smaller businesses that may not get a large amount of traffic each month. It offers a great level of functionality and is also relatively easy to make the switch from Google Maps Platform with the help of an expert here.

Alliance Interactive is a full service digital agency offering Google Maps Platform and Mapbox integrations, account management, and support. For assistance or to learn more contact us.