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Business listings of brands and local businesses are significantly worse than anyone realizes

Team @ Datacafe, comes with years of work experience in developing and managing millions of business listings and locating data of brands and businesses. Team has spent past 6 months meeting people at brands and businesses with their business listings audit report i.e. how good, bad and ugly they look on the digital platforms.

Everyone we have spoken with has assumed that their business listings are listed consistently on all web and mobile search platforms. Brand managers and business owners were shocked, when we showed them what consumers are seeing about their businesses on-line. Businesses are listed with wrong name, old logos, inaccurate contact details, inaccurate products and services.

If a national brand is spending millions on advertising, chances are 1 out of 4 of their stores are not listed properly across major publishers. This percentage is pretty high for regional, local brands and businesses.

So how did we get there?

In the early days of the internet, everyone was trying to be a publisher and the focus was to get maximum traffic. Only few publishers were proactive and investing huge money for listings data development to make sure that the business listings are fresh.

All of a sudden, we saw a number of new local search, online marketplace on the web and mobile platform started coming up. Developing consistent business listings started becoming a challenge for most of them. Over a period of time, the business listings started getting stale across wherein most of the publishers and consumers started getting inconsistent information.

Traditionally, source for business listings were Yellow Page books. The Yellow Page publishers used to reach out to every business owner to verify the information before it gets published. Advertisers were in control of their listings and willing to pay the Yellow Page publishers to guarantee their listings are being shown prominently and correctly. This was an essential part of their advertising campaign because we all know that consumers look up a business’s listings before physically going into the stores.

Internet publishers that need listings data started building their listings from traditional Yellow Pages, News Papers Classifieds, Local Business Directories and then publishers tried to figure out which data is correct and what should be shown to the consumers. The publishers are in control of what they accept and what they display.

So we went from a model where advertisers controlled their listings data and paid the yellow pages companies to guaranteed placements, to one where the publishers started controlling the listing and giving the placements.

Given the context, it’s understandable why the ecosystem evolved this way, but let’s get back to the most important part of the equation – the consumer.

Billions of Dollars are spent each year to drive awareness and purchase intent by brands and local businesses. At the bottom of the online funnel, before an online shopper becomes an offline buyer, that shopper will do the research online and look up for the business’s listings. Any successful advertiser needs the act of finding their store’s location to be as frictionless as possible.

#They need correct listings data.
#They need to be in control of the messaging for their brand.
#They need visibility.

1 out of 4 business locations are not showing up properly. Can you imagine if 1 out of 4 stores have inconsistencies like wrong contact numbers, wrong geo location, wrong products/services or wrong hours of operation of the window or wrong promotions like offer/deals throughout the store? That’s what is happening online right now