Like many Google services, Google Maps has become a go-to service for businesses of all sizes to help customers and prospects find their location. In fact, tens of thousands of small businesses the world over utilize Google’s web-mapping service to embed the location of their business in their company website.
Unfortunately, the developers of those sites were surprised by Google recently announcing new, more expensive pricing and demanding a credit card and Google Cloud account for all API access to Maps. Google’s core APIs work together to provide the building blocks developers need to create location-based apps and experiences, and the tech giant is constantly evolving them to ensure they are simpler, easier to use and scalable as companies grow.
Part of the Maps evolution involves drastically limiting what developers can get out of the free tier of the Maps API, meaning the future of many small companies who use Maps for qualifying leads is very much up in the air. Data that was once free will start to cost businesses money, and there’s little incentive for companies to develop high-quality alternatives for free. However, that market dynamic is changing based on the needs of the rapidly expanding online hyperlocal market and the growing need of address verification.
The Critical Need for “Near Me” Information
In light of these changes, small businesses should consider the following:
- For many service providers, lead generation marketing is their lifeblood. In today’s market, consumers are in control, and they expect to be able to quickly browse the internet in order to find service providers nearby. And with mobile searches for ‘where to buy’ growing 85 percent since 2015, companies need to focus on making connections between consumers looking for things to do or products to buy close to their home.
- Fifty-six percent of ‘near me’ searches on a smartphone or tablet result in a store visit, further highlighting the importance of a robust hyperlocal marketing strategy utilizing lead generation services. The faster today’s consumer can find the service, options and price they’re searching for, it increases the likelihood that they’ll want to utilize that provider.
- Ninety-four percent of B2B consumers say they conduct some form of online research before making a purchase. The ability for data verification to present accurate information corresponding to specific addresses could be the difference between making a sale and not. Consequently, companies need to keep up with a rapidly shifting marketplace and compete with companies willing to pay for address verification.
These facts exacerbate the impact of the price hike, which is as much as 14 times higher in certain scenarios. In some cases, company revenues cannot absorb the costs. As a result, some organizations are turning off their website or turning to alternative solutions such as MapBox, TomTom, Bing Maps, OpenMaps and others.
While Google Maps is certainly the 800-pound gorilla in this market, smaller competitive offerings are already popping up. One such alternative, a new extensive “freemium” pricing plan from Here Technologies, the company behind the popular location platform and consumer navigation app Here, aims to capitalize on the conflict as the company aims to entice more developers to use its location services for qualifying leads. With Google’s shift, it’s likely the rest of the market will attempt to increase revenue by placing further limitations on free options, but it’s also likely additional disruptive companies and developers will come online to serve the market.
Although Google says that the new pricing shouldn’t affect most free users, many companies are not happy with the change as they are now having to pay for the location data that was once free. But, this cloud may have a small silver lining — data verification will likely become even more important and lead to new creative solutions for hyper-local marketing. While the obvious benefit will be to help business avoid paying for mis-targeted leads (or even waste their limited number of free clicks), better data leads to a better experience overall for the business and the potential customer. This market need could lead to more partnerships to serve businesses and ultimately better data throughout the sales chain.
Make the Most of Your Lead Generation Marketing Efforts
The practice of data verification is critical to qualifying leads — which businesses are now potentially paying for. And with the majority of marketers reporting that generating high-quality leads was by far the number one challenge for their organization, if those leads are tarnished by unverified data like illegitimate addresses, street names spelled incorrectly, bogus phone numbers, or misspelled or fake customer names, it’s now waste of both time and money. Verification improves lead handling and is the most critical, effective and inexpensive step to optimizing lead quality.
Simply not paying Google or other location service providers puts your business at a serious disadvantage against competitors who provide directions and location. Adding address verification is a strong business tool as it not only fends off bad data, it also helps reveal additional insights, eventually allowing companies to enhance their communications, improve deliverability, reduce the costs of operation and take more strategic action for the business.
Today, countless companies are leveraging location data to provide more relevant and accurate search results, and Kyrio’s Go2Broadband is the optimal tool for identifying specific addresses by products, services and even special offers available at an individual location. Our location-based technologies immediately match service and offer availability to specific addresses through online marketplaces for homes as well as businesses. Visit the Kyrio Online Services page to learn more.