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How To Avoid Paying for Google Maps on Your Real Estate Website

If you are in the real estate space, you’ve probably heard about Google’s decision to change Google Maps pricing structure.  Last month, we gave a run down of the new pay-as-you-go model and what it means for your real estate website.  If you’re like most real estate professionals, learning about API’s, dynamic map loads, and other Google developer language probably falls outside your comfort zone.  But when some real estate leaders are estimating a $5,ooo/mo. increase for high-traffic sites, it’s worth taking a minute to review the work-arounds available to you since it can mean big savings over the long-term.

How bad has the Real Estate industry been hit?

Pretty bad, if you ask Miami Condo Investments.

Previously, Google allowed 25,000 free page loads per day for its API users. As of July 16th, highly trafficked websites, like theirs, began being billed $5.60 per thousand Map loads. The Florida-based brokerage has had an average of 402,000 pageviews/mo. this year, with roughly 70% of those views loading a map via Google Maps. When you do the math, that’s a whopping bill of $1500+ a month.  

Our analysis of Boston Logic customer site traffic corroborates this finding. In general, you can expect to pay between $2 – $4 per 1,000 pageviews per month, depending on your usage of the Google Maps API.

How you can avoid paying for Google Maps

We know, we know. Don’t panic. As a provider of real estate websites this has been on our radar for a while. We’ve been focused on finding a solution that will allow our customers to remain on the Google Maps API while avoiding cost increases and disruption to the consumer experience on their sites.

Here is what we are implementing as the default map experience for our customers going forward (this will be phased in over the coming weeks):

1. Leave dynamic maps in place on the most valuable and trafficked pages– i.e. Area Profiles, Property Search pages, etc.

2. Convert from using the existing dynamic map API to the free embedded map API on Property Detail Pages (the page a visitor views once they have clicked into a specific property).  The experience of the embedded map will be almost the same for visitors, except for the following:

  • A property address will appear on the top-left corner of the map
  • The location “pin” on the map is not customizable (for example, some Boston Logic customers style this pin to match their branding)

Example of the dynamic map experience:

Example of the updated, embedded map experience:

The good news is, once a visitor clicks any map action- to view schools, directions, a call-to-action, etc.- we will automatically switch back to a dynamic map and reinstate any branding or custom features.

What if You Want to Maintain the Same Map Experience?

With the solution above, we believe that the difference in map experience will go unnoticed by most visitors. For those that still wish to maintain their existing experience, the Boston Logic Platform is flexible enough to accomodate. You will need to create a Google Maps project and set up billing with Google and either cap spending at the free 28,000 dynamic map loads limit, or at a monthly cost you are comfortable with.

Questions? We’ve got a team of developers and support staff who love geeking out about this stuff.  If you have specific questions about the setup process or your current usage, leave us a message and we’ll see how we can help.