Location data firm Yext has added Google to its real-time PowerListings Network, which automatically adds to listings missing data like names, addresses, phone numbers, and categories across its network. When users change the information once, it updates everywhere.
Integrating Google with PowerListings gives customers like Denny’s, BMO Harris Bank, Sunglass Hut and Pep Boys access to Google My Business API integration to power nearly 100,000 business locations across Google Search, Maps, and ads, and companies have a means to manage their data in listings and directories.
Aside from Google, The PowerListings Network integrates more than 100 app, map, directory, search engine, and social media partners including Apple, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, and Yelp.
Automating the updates allows the information found online to mirror the real world, according to Howard Lerman, Yext co-founder and CEO. Special hours for holidays appear instantly online. New stores are listed in maps the day they open. "Health-focused restaurant, sweetgreen, was one of our first customers live on our Google integration and they used it to update their hours for stores affected by Winter Storm Jonas," he says.
Lerman says the technology solves two difficult problems for businesses. The Location Management Platform (LMP) is the source-of-record for location information inside a business that could live in several departments such as finance, marketing, and sales. Three different locations all with varying data.
The Web works in a similar way. Real-time API connections to the apps, maps, and sites in the PowerListings Network, including Google, provide customers with the ability to add or change data once and update across the information in real-time across the Web. A reporting system allows the user to see that updates are live and receives analytics about how consumers are engaging with their listings.
Manual updates take huge amounts of time, so a business must make decisions about the sites to prioritize and is not able to achieve the coverage they need. They are not permanent, so for a company with 1,000 locations it is simply impossible to remain up to date. In fact, Lerman says the system seems to regress, meaning that the same updates are made repeatedly. "It’s kind of like working out," he says. "When you do it, you see results, but they slowly, or sometimes not so slowly, revert back."
In addition, there is no guarantee that a manual update will go live, and if the update does go live it could take days or weeks, Lerman says. Manual updates prevent businesses from actually utilizing listings as a communication tool to serve their customers.