STUDY: How Listing Distribution Affects the Accuracy of Online Data
In order to understand the efficacy of listing management tools, we’ve analyzed over 17,000 subscribers and 200,000 non-subscribers of Listing Distribution solutions. The results provide insights into why it’s important for local businesses to continuously update their online data.
The Efficacy of Listing Distribution
Hometown Domination provides a platform for businesses to manage their digital presence, including a Listing Distribution tool that searches for all of the places that business’ listings appear online. Listing Distribution is designed to update business information and make it consistent across the Internet’s major data providers, which supply listing information to local search platforms and directories.
The purpose of this study is to show the effects of Listing Distribution on business listing accuracy over time.
Business Listing Definitions
Business listings are separated into 2 groups: major search sites and smaller citations.
Major search sites include the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), major rating and review sites, traditional IYP sites, directories and social platforms. Presence on the major search sites and the accuracy of those listings are measured across these major players.
Citations include hyperlocal sites, smaller vertical sites, and websites that may include a mention of the business with contact information but not a complete listing with NAP (name, address, phone) data.
- Why working with major data providers is not enough to protect listing accuracy
- The distinction between Listing Distribution Subscribers vs Non-Subscribers
- What happens to listing accuracy when Listing Distribution is cancelled
The Data Challenge
Bad data can be likened to the flu. Just as people receive a shot each year to protect themselves from illnesses, businesses are wise to conduct routine checkups on their listing data. Many of them, however, are not doing it effectively.
Major search sites receive local business listing information in whole or in part from one or more data providers. The major data providers are: Infogroup, Neustar/Localeze, Acxiom and Factual. Historically, many agencies have used one—sometimes two—data providers for listings data management, but because none of the big four dominate the local data market, local listings cannot be modified across all local search platforms by utilizing only one or two of them. Furthermore, because of the overall lack of reporting, showing results to local businesses has been challenging and the results have been difficult to understand.
If the major data providers aren’t directly fed listing updates from an authoritative source, they default to traditional sources of information, such as public records like tax files and other government indexes. These sources can be out of date with varying refresh timeframes.
Although it is necessary to leverage the major data providers, it is cumbersome and challenging to manage all of them, as they each have their own unique set of rules, processes and customers.
This fragmented complexity is why Vendasta developed Listing Distribution—a tool that continually resubmits accurate listings to all four data providers to ensure they update their data correctly. It also provides what similar tools don’t: complete transparency with tracking and reporting features so users can see what’s happening with their information, good and bad.
The Listing Distribution Effect
We not only want to speak to how Listing Distribution works, but also its efficacy. Data has been compiled from over 17,000 Listing Distribution subscribers and 200,000 non-subscribers. The accuracy scores of their accounts—which compare the number of accurate listings per number of listings found – were traced over time. Ultimately, 3 compelling figures reveal how the solution improves listing accuracy across the web.
Figure 1: Listing Distribution Activation
Figure 1 shows the impact of Listing Distribution after the tool has been activated.
Businesses that subscribed to Listing Distribution showed a 172% increase in their overall listing accuracy, moving from an average accuracy score of 22% to an average of 60%. The ascension begins immediately and continues as the year goes on.
Figure 2: Listing Distribution Subscribers vs. Non-Subscribers
Figure 2 shows a 12 month period that reveals the distinction between businesses that use Listing Distribution and the ones that do not. Figure 2a demonstrates that subscribers experience an improvement in their average listing accuracy to 60%, while Figure 2b shows that, on average, non-subscribers typically do not see their accuracy scores rise above 10%.
Figure 3: Businesses That Cancel Listing Distribution
Figure 3 depicts the average listing accuracy of over 700 businesses that cancelled their service. In this sense, cancelling means that they stopped using Listing Distribution to send weekly updates to the data providers (an important distinction between Hometown Domination and other data syndication companies is that [HD] sends updates to the data providers on a weekly basis, while others submit it only once).
The trajectory continues upward post-cancellation, suggesting Listing Distribution’s effect is still rippling. Around the 180-day mark, however, the rising accuracy-surge flat-lines, indicating a halt on accuracy improvements.
Also, as seen in this snapshot of the Listing Distribution reporting screen, it has been observed that data providers may revert correctly submitted data to incorrect data over time and cause accuracy scores to fall again. By submitting listings on a weekly basis, Hometown Domination’s solution continuously corrects these erroneous reversions.
Online listing success is an ongoing cycle of proper management and proactive maintenance. While data providers offer a variety of listing services, they are not fully armed to fight against the multitude of factors that manipulate their data. They require help managing local information, and Hometown Domination provides that solution by working with them directly to keep listings in check.
Hometown Domination’s platform provides full solutions for reputation management and marketing, social media marketing, and listings management. [HD] is one of the only platforms that provides a DIY business center dashboard for SMBs along with the option of ‘Done With You’ and ‘Done For You’ services.
Hometown Domination’s system supports both multi-location brands and local businesses.
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