In my October Search Engine Land column, I discussed the rise of data amplifiers — or data aggregators (such as Neustar) and publishers (such as Google) that share a business’s location data across the digital world, where people conduct “near me” searches.
I believe data amplifiers will become even more important in 2017 because of the impact of the on-demand, omnichannel consumer. To be effective with location marketing in 2017, any brand that operates multiple locations needs to make it a high priority to share their location data with amplifiers.
Data amplifiers wield an inordinate amount of influence because of their reach, size and ability to innovate. At SIM Partners, we identify the main data amplifiers this way:
Although both aggregators and publishers act as sources of local business information for discovery platforms such as apps, data services and Web directories, we make the distinction between data aggregators and data publishers to clarify how they relate to each other.
In a multichannel world, amplifiers are becoming more important because they are the most efficient, cost-effective way for any business to keep pace with omnichannel consumers. As I mentioned in my last column, omnichannel consumers are discovering brands across an increasingly complex web of apps, channels and devices. Consider the following:
And here’s the challenge for businesses: omnichannel consumers expect you to be present no matter what apps, devices or channels they use… which leaves businesses with two very big problems:
The challenge is only increasing as automobiles become more sophisticated data delivery devices, apps continue to proliferate, and businesses figure out more creative ways to respond to on-demand consumers on platforms such as Uber and Pinterest through one-click ordering and buying.
I can easily think of 100 search engines, directories, social media sites and internet yellow pages where brands need to be present, and another 30 auto-related navigation systems that form the core of the consumer discovery experience.
Put another way, the local data ecosystem is in immense flux because of the constantly evolving apps and tools that use location data. If a brand is not paying attention to its data layer — the part of the brand’s identity beyond the presentation layer, where location-related data resides — then they’ll be left behind in a constantly changing world of omnichannel discovery.
Some brands make the mistake of trying to directly manage their location data across a vast sea of tier-two directories, hoping that a scattershot approach will cover most of the search universe.
Those brands are always going to be behind the curve and focusing on perceived problems that don’t affect performance, forever playing a game of catch-up amid an explosion of discovery platforms. They’re also wasting valuable time, resources and money in the process.
The better approach is to invest one’s time more efficiently across a smaller cluster of high-impact data amplifiers. Because of their brand strength, scale and reach, data amplifiers can influence far more places where consumers do “near me” searches across multiple channels, apps and devices. Doing so, you will reap many benefits:
Omnichannel consumers long ago escaped the strictures of doing Google desktop searches. They are going to find what they want on their own terms — and where they find you tomorrow will be different from where they’re looking for you today. Data amplifiers will ensure that you’re present with accurate data any time, any place.
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