Today’ smartphone addiction has been the subject of a lot of debate and controversy. Although, there are clearly some negative effects, having everything we need right there in our pocket or hand has definitely changed and simplified our daily activities and habits. Whenever we forgot something or need a translation, look up a word, search for a price of something, we inevitably now turn to our smartphone by reflex. And not just when we need to satisfy our need and anxiety to know something specific but also when we are just bored standing in line, during a meeting and even when having a coffee with friends. Companies selling any type of product naturally now seek to take advantage of our addiction and behaviour and they are successfully using the smartphone as a channel to grab our attention and to make us visit their store. According to Google’s research, 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone tend to visit a store for that product within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day.
Recently, advertisers started predicting customers’ needs and targeting specific products and services to meet those needs; for example, as lunch time approaches, they began recommending the best dining places in a user’s vicinity even before he or she asks for it. Being recognised by search engines can be crucial for business success, especially since the use of terms like “near me” and “close to me” have become increasingly common in search queries. Although there are a number of things that affect business ranking on search engines, a consistent and accurate name, address and phone (NAP) information across multiple data platforms, such as Google, Apple, Bing, Facebook, etc., are definitely among the most important ones. Additionally, reliable business information not only affects business ranking, it also increases a user’s trust in a specific data provider as well as in your brand.
The main information about a business or point of interest, such as NAP, category, website, etc., are provided by the business owner to the data aggregators, such as Infogroup, Localeze, etc., and the data amplifiers mentioned above (Google, Apple, Bing, etc.). In this blog post, we look at the source of the data, i.e., the business owner, and perform an analysis of their information. At the very least, that data should be accurate and fresh, right? But what if it is not? If you are a business owner, did you ever ask yourself the question, “how reliable is my data?”
For demonstration purposes, we measured the data reliability of Sparkasse Bank. Sparkasse is a global bank, and in Germany alone, they have 30,470 branches, offices and ATMs, serving roughly 50 million customers. For the bank, it is very important that they can be found by their regular as well as new customers and that they attract as many new clients as possible.
We pulled 30,470 bank properties out from Sparkasse’s official website (www.sparkasse.de) and analysed in PlaceLab.
Our results show that 80 records have at least one duplicate record on the official website. Some examples are listed in the table below:
As you can see, some of the records have all the same attributes, while some others differ only slightly; for example, in terms of their phone numbers.
Using well-proven random sample statistical theory, we took 379 records and processed them through PlaceLab Address Quality and Place Verification services. The results of our analysis show that the address attributes, such as street, city and postal code, are fully populated and accurate. On the other hand, only four bank units are missing house number values.
We also verified existence on the most commonly used data platforms: Google, HERE, Foursquare and Facebook, and the results showed that some Sparkasse units were not present on the Google or Facebook response list. Although Facebook might not be expected to have all the bank venues in its database, Google most certainly should, but due to a low ranking they were not returned to the user.
One of the key findings from the PlaceLab analysis was that the source data was not very reliable. This is a concern as, although Sparkasse’s data was highly populated and accurate, a small percentage of duplicate records can influence search engines and this may have resulted in the low rankings for some of the bank’s properties. Duplicate records and attributes inconsistency across data platforms will additionally cause user frustration, and can lead to a lack of trust and even customer churn, which is something every business wants to avoid.
As smartphones have become a remote control for our lives, being present on all popular data platforms has become crucial for business success. Additionally, smartphones are a front door to your store, even a store magnet in effect. Therefore, if you want to use your data for better marketing and to increase your revenue, you must empower your online visibility. Reliable data is a key to your success, because reliable data will find its way to the customers and lead them to your store.