Yext’s Addition Of Google To Its PowerListings Network Is About More Than Maps
In addition to crucial location information, Yext’s 600,000 business clients can update photos and social media content at the moment they choose.
Yext’s addition of Google into its PowerListings Network is meant to satisfy a demand that most businesses and their customers already expect and (often mistakenly) take for granted: namely, that a business’s digital presence and location information on Google was always up-to-date. (Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More on that relationship here.)
The integration of Google into Yext’s PowerListings, the product that gives over 600,000 businesses control over their location data across the mobile web, apps, directories, and social media like Apple, Bing, Facebook and Yelp, comes less than two months after the search giant opened its Google My Business API to approved third party directory management providers.
It also follows a year in which Google has sought to buttress its appeal to SMBs and enterprises amid the rise of location-based marketing and the call for seamless, real-time digital presence management solutions from large and small businesses.
A Milestone Achieved In Real-Time
“This is a milestone for everyone involved,” said Jon Kennell, Yext’s VP Product. “It’s a milestone for Google because they can get real-time updates from businesses no matter what scale they’re at. And just like all the other publishers in our PowerListings Network, our customers will be able to see the value of their locations increase because consumers can count on [Google] to have more timely information about businesses’ listings.”
For Kennell, the integration has a particularly special meaning: before joining Yext in 2010, he spent five years at Google, where his first project involved creating a hub for local enterprises that would ultimately evolve into Google My Business.
But beyond that personal satisfaction, the addition of Google into Yext’s PowerListings Network means that an obstacle to updating and finding local information has been solved to a considerably large extent.
“Originally, local directories, Google’s and others, would be updated every few weeks, and in some cases, every few months,” Kennell noted. “People didn’t think of that information as something that changed that often, though in the real world it changes all the time.
“The thing is, the web matured, and at time when everything is instantaneous — ‘Check out this tweet or this Instagram I just posted’ — that wasn’t always the case with local business listings,” Kennell added. “Google has always had a great product and they’ve always valued the quality of their data. This integration brings Google My Business up to date in terms of what consumers and businesses expect.”
Accuracy And Scale
Of course, Google’s incredible reach and user base is a massive boon to Yext, noted Tyler Donahue, Yext’s senior manager, Business Development. But the real value, as he sees it, is the multiplying effect the addition of Google will have on the development of Yext and the PowerListings Network.
“It is undeniable that every business needs to have a platform to serve as the authoritative source for all of their location data — however that platform is only as strong as the ecosystem it connects to and the company behind it,” Donahue said. “I look forward to working with Google, as well as with our other partners like Facebook, Apple, Bing and Yelp, as we develop market-leading location management technology.
Yext has prided itself as a pioneer of automated business listings updates going back roughly five years. Google’s decision to release its API is an added form of validation, Donahue said.
From a practical standpoint, the ability of a business to communicate if it’s open or not during unusual circumstances and periods can make the difference between a sharp spike — or decline — in foot traffic and in-store sales.
Look no further than experience of Sweetgreen, a healthy fast food chain with 27 outlets, and of countless other Yext customers when Snowstorm Jonas came through the northeast two weeks ago.
“With the consumer migration to mobile over desktop, it’s become increasingly important to ensure that your business is appropriately represented at all times, and that requires automated and instant updates,” Donahue said. “Google’s acknowledgement of that, as the clear search leader, is a resounding affirmation and undeniable endorsement of automated updates.”
Phase One: Complete; Phase Two: Ongoing
By integrating Google with Yext’s PowerListings, Kennell said that the company has achieved its vision of being the only tool that a local business needs to manage their entire digital online presence. “We already have over 100,000 customer locations live on Google as as of today, Feb. 16, we’re able to offer that to all our [600,000] customers around the world.
That said, Kennell doesn’t view the connection with Google My Business as complete.
“We’re always going to want to improve things,” he said. “We’re talking with Google about new fields that we can bring to them, news capabilities that they could add to the API to make it work better or add functionality. Google intends to improve on the API over time, and we’ll be right there with them. It’s only going to get better.”