The Mobile Data Ecosystem

As smart phone usage continues to grow, the amount of apps that feature business data has exploded. From traditional local directory apps like Yelp and YP Mobile to apps that are inherently local like Foursquare and MapQuest to mega-popular apps like Facebook and Instagram that are making inroads in the local space, business information is appearing more frequently on more devices than ever before.

In order to better understand where these apps are sourcing this business information, we put together this infographic showing the top 23 apps by total historical downloads and showed who is supplying the data for each.

Mobile Data Ecosystem

Some Thoughts

  • Many of these apps started as websites and there is a fair amount of overlap between this and David Mihm’s Local Search Ecosystem.
  • I chose not to include Apple Maps and Google for Android as those are operating systems and don’t require an active download by users. The Google bubble in this graphic represents the installs of the Google app for iOS. For detailed coverage on how to perform well in Apple Maps I’d check out the Apple Map Ecosystem and the Apple Maps Marketing blog. For Google, the Understanding Google+ Local┬áblog should be your primary place to start.
  • Yext’s blue ring signifies that while they have the ability to update your information on these apps, it doesn’t fix the underlying data sources. What that means is that once a business unsubscribes from their service and is removed from Yext’s data stream, the business information switches back to what the primary data sources are supplying.
  • Facebook is an incredibly popular app. If you look at the image below you can see that the total amount of Facebook app downloads puts it on par with the mobile operating systems. ┬áThe fact that these are active downloads as opposed to the OS preinstalls makes this information even more impressive.

android vs ios vs facebook

We also wanted to look and see what the reach currently is for the primary data aggregators Localeze, InfoUSA and Acxiom.


Primary Data Sources

As you can see, Localeze has by far the largest reach. Even without Facebook they are a primary business data source for 51% of total app downloads. Their reach is even larger if you look further upstream. For instance, Instagram relies on Foursquare’s data and Foursquare uses Localeze as their data source. Acxiom, on the other hand, has relatively little influence on business information (even less if you consider that Yelp doesn’t use them other than to seed a new city with business information).

Recently, the “big three” data aggregators have been challenged by up and comers like Factual and alternative data-management services like Yext; but, the data suggests that the aggregators have a large influence on what business data is appearing in mobile apps and we expect they will continue to do so in the future. Sending them correct business data should still be considered an essential part of any local search and mobile app campaign. That said, for the more popular apps it makes sense to claim your business listing directly in order to perform as well as possible.

Adam Dorfman

Author Adam Dorfman

Adam Dorfman is an interactive marketing professional with over 15 years experience in all facets of online marketing including local & organic search, pay per click, paid inclusion, email, RSS/XML driven advertising, ad networks, social networking, blogging, website analytics, usability and offline integration as well as web development, hosting, networking and project management. Read more.

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