The New Intelligence in Data-Amplified Advertising Businesses Can’t Afford to Miss
Major search engines collect data from people querying information, and they stockpile it, organize it and use it for marketing power. They have for years, and this is not new news. What is new news, is that it has been done without the knowledge or authorization of the citizens, which just came to light recently when a major search engine was discovered tracking location information even when users had location services disabled. Information about people’s locations and their movements gets collected by the cellular towers and then sent back to the search engines.
Savvy brick-and-mortar business owners can take advantage of this practice to increase marketing power. If they carefully monitor these search engine practices and adapt their marketing skills, they can increase the opportunity for their business to show up in nearby queries. Most search engines rely on polar coordinates of a person and nearby structures to pinpoint location data. These services can be disabled in the phone but most of the time it is left intact, which is what the search engines want. The search engines argue that they can provide better user experience based on tracking information, which is probably true. Here are a few examples of how they can give a better user experience with this information:
• Location-based search results in response to queries
• Personalized recommendations based on past tracking data
• Updating roadmaps and better navigation directions
• Personalized location-based data, such as the traffic for the morning commute
Distance from the one who queries the information is one of the primary considerations when ranking a business in local search results. In response to this practice, if a user doesn’t specify a location in a query, then one will be calculated based on what’s known about their position.
The Entity’s State Of Mind
It is best to think of the business as an entity since that is how the search engines see it. An entity, according to the search engines, is mainly a collection of topical and geographical information compiled into one convenient search result. A search for “hamburgers near here” is likely to pull data from a corporate website, search engine’s business pages, the digital yellow pages, and a few other sources to return the possible answers to the query.
What is interesting for brick-and-mortar businesses in this whole puzzle is that a significant search engine filed a patent recently which shows it may be moving away from using polar coordinates to track people’s movements. Instead, it will use the entities of nearby locations. So here is where it starts getting deep. The search engine will instead pull information from social media to build a virtual business entity. It will then provide search results based on personalized tracking data and past interactions with the entity. It’s surprising to know that can be patented.
Another reason the search engines are trying to move away from using polar coordinates for tracking history and processing queries is that there are some limitations involved. For instance, businesses in multistory buildings do not return accurate information. Furthermore, monitoring and storing the perpetual coordinates for later access has proved cumbersome and relatively impossible. Data tied to entity locations is much more conceivable. People are continually changing their situation as they travel. Utilizing the location-based data would also help phase out irrelevant coordinates in search queries and provide more accurate results.
Where Is It Going?
Based on the direction the search engines appear to be heading, businesses with brick and mortar locations need to beef up their entities and tie in their online presence. If they want to take advantage of the amplified marketing resources, businesses need to ensure their customers are being tracked by the search engines every time they visit. Companies must tie their virtual presence in the digital marketplace to their physical location. They also need to pay particular attention to all location-based information that could help beef up their virtual identity because this is what the search engines are going to be using instead of polar coordinates. Here are a few things brick and mortar business need to do to strengthen their identity.
• Ensure that principal sites and information are definitive and informative. Primary listings, websites, and social listings should all corroborate each other and appear visibly in store locators. They should be accurate and descriptive using text and images.
• Ensure that all business data is accurate and shared with major data aggregators. That will help amplify data to all apps and listings which help project query results. These data amplifiers will help spread location data for search engines to find a comprehensive listing.
• Create and feed a data-rich experience at your location. Internet availability is the essential foundational variable, so offer free Wi-Fi and let consumers do the work.
• Claim and manage a business listing on a search engine’s business site. Search engines will naturally give preference to the information they handle, so take advantage of it and use it as the foundation for the business’s entity.
In the end, entities themselves are the fundamental reason behind location marketing. As location marketing takes shape, brick-and-mortar businesses must stay in tune with the market changes to benefit from them.