​Introducing: Multi-Categorization and Hours of Operation

We have officially released Multiple Categories and the Hours of Operation attribute in our Global Places data!

Multiple Categories
Category_ids and category_labels can now support multiple values​. This makes ​perfect ​sense​,​ as there are many ​entities in the world that are more than one ​”​thing​”​ and can belong to multiple categories. Now, as a user you can expect more comprehensive results when you search US data by category (since places are no longer left out of one category simply because they already belong to another). You can also easily find places that fall into multiple categories- such as hotels that are also casinos.

Take the famous Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, as an example. In the past, this entity used to be categorized as [Travel,Lodging,Hotels and Motels], which is accurate, and yet not a complete representation of reality. In the new, improved world, this place is categorized as both a Hotel ([ Travel,Lodging,Hotels and Motels​])​ and a Casino​ ([Social,Entertainment,Casinos and Gaming​]), which​ is a more accurate reflection of reality. It also means that you can find this entity whether you search ​for “Hotel” or for “Casino.” ​Better yet, it is also categorized as a ​”​Landmark”​ and will pop up with that search query ​as well.

Another great example is the Piano Bar in Hollywood, which serves both food and alcohol, and used to be categorized as [Social,Bars]. That categorization is accurate, but it did mean that if you looked for places to eat in Hollywood, you might miss out on experiencing the Piano Bar. Now that we have released our new category_labels that supports multiple values, you won’t be missing out on this place. You can search for either “Restaurants” or “Bars,” and will find this place among the results.

Multiple Categories is currently supported in the United States only and will roll out to the rest of the world by late August.

Hours of Operation
While you explore our location data, you will also notice a new attribute: Hours of Operation. Hours of Operation provides machine-friendly JSON containing the hours of operation of the business. We also have the Hours Display attribute, which provides the same information in a more human-readable format.

hours:

"{"monday":[["6:30","23:00"]],"tuesday":[["6:30","23:00"]],"wednesday":[["6:30","23:00"]],"thursday":[["6:30","23:00"]],"friday":[["6:30","23:00"]],"saturday":[["8:00","23:00"]],"sunday":[["8:00","23:00"]]}"

hours_display:

"Mon-Fri 6:30 AM-11:00 PM; Sat-Sun 8:00 AM-11:00 PM"

This means that when, on an early morning, you find yourself in Paris looking for a bakery at 7:45 am, you will not only know that Coquelicot is not ready to serve yet, but Le Grenier à Pain has had its doors already open for fifteen minutes and has freshly baked croissants waiting for you.

Hours of Operation and Hours Display are available globally. Coverage varies by country, but it will grow over time.

We are really excited about these new features and more will be coming soon. You can access this via our API, and, if you don’t have an API key, you can get one here.

- Shabnam Shademan, Data Engineer

Changes in our Global Places Data – Q2 2014

Back in April we talked about the challenges of keeping our Global Places data as fresh and clean as possible. Because Factual’s data represents the real world- which is changing every day- we have to update it often to make sure we’re providing the most accurate records possible. Here’s a quick look at what’s gone on under the hood of the Factual machine in the past three months (or in business-speak, Q2).

Here are the changes to 11 countries between April and June of this year. Overall, we added just over 12 million records, removed nearly 9.5 million old records, and updated at least one field1 in over 25 million records. The distribution of these changes by country is shown below:

The overall breakdown of updated fields is represented in the following chart2:

It’s a tough job staying on top of the world’s places, but we’re up to the challenge.

- Julie Levine, Marketing Associate

Factual’s Global Places data contains over 65 million business listings and points of interest worldwide. To access our Global Places data, either use your existing API key (or get one here) or request a download.

Notes:

1. Fields include: address, address extended, category id, country, email, fax, locality, name, neighborhood, po box, postcode, region, tel, website.

2. Note that some records had updates to more than one field, thus the number of updates is larger than the number of updated records.

Factual and StrikeAd extend US Partnership to Offer Location-Based Ad Targeting Capabilities Globally

We are excited to announce the extension of our partnership with StrikeAd, the leader in programmatic advertising across multiple devices. While StrikeAd has been running mobile ad campaigns using Factual’s Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity products in the US since the beginning of 2014, StrikeAd is now rolling these targeting capabilities out on a global basis, enabling their European and Asian clients to use the sophisticated location-based targeting capabilities that Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity provide.

Both Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity leverage our Global Places data, a comprehensive, global dataset that covers over 65 million local businesses and other points of interest in 50 countries. Global Places covers all of Western Europe and the largest markets in Asia, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, so StrikeAd’s global clients can run highly targeted campaigns in all of their major markets.

Geopulse Proximity enables StrikeAd’s clients to use location-based targeting techniques such as geofencing and geoconquesting in their mobile campaigns. Advertisers can deliver ads to mobile users based on where they are in real-time, specifying places with any combination of business category, name, merchant, and geographic region, and using fences of varying sizes across any number of places.

StrikeAd’s advertisers can use Geopulse Audience to target mobile campaigns against over 100 defined audience segments, spanning demographic (such as household income, age, and gender), geographic (such as home postcode and frequented areas of activity), behavioral (such as business traveler, fast-food diner, and in-market auto buyer), and brand affinities (such as KFC diners, Ikea shoppers, and Disney Resorts visitors). Geopulse Audience develops an understanding of mobile users by analyzing the location data generated by mobile devices. By examining the way users move through the physical world, it can identify repeat behaviors that indicate these various attributes.

Alex Rahaman, CEO and Founder of StrikeAd, said “Our US clients have been delighted with the performance of Factual this year in campaigns such as with a recent major international sporting apparel brand and casual clothing brand. We are very excited to be able to offer these capabilities to our International clients. In Europe and Asia, national borders become more important for regional campaigns and a partner who can help with strong geo data will be very attractive.”

90% of smartphones today are outside of the United States and that share is only going up. The international mobile marketing opportunity is massive and we’re thrilled to be expanding our relationship with StrikeAd to go after it.

Factual Featured Partner: Larky

For the latest installment in our Factual Featured Partners series, we sat down with Gregg Hammerman, co-founder of Larky. Larky is a money-saving app that notifies you when you are eligible for perks and discounts at certain locations based on your existing memberships (like zoos, museums, professional associations, credit cards, alumni associations, etc.).

Your Name and Title: Gregg Hammerman, Cofounder
Company Name: Larky
Located: Ann Arbor, MI
Factual Partner Since: 2012
Website: www.larky.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/getlarky
Twitter: @getlarky
App Store: iTunes

 
Q: Introduce readers to Larky.
A: We’re all members of many different organizations that offer perks: professional associations, credit cards, zoos, museums, alumni associations, etc.. Almost all of these have perks and benefits that they tell you about when you join, but the problem is that nobody really remembers to use these at the right time and place. What Larky is all about from a consumer perspective is that you tell us what you’re a member of (we don’t need your personal information, just to know that you’re a member) and we do two things. One, we tell you where to go to get discounts. Two, we have built in location awareness so when you go to a place where you forgot you have a discount, we remind you.

Q: What was the inspiration for Larky? How did you choose the name?
A: I was on a trip to Florida with my kids and took them to a children’s museum. As I was handing over my credit card to pay, I remembered that I was a member of a similar museum back in Michigan. It turned out because of my membership, admission to the children’s museum was free- it saved me $60. I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to worry about remembering to save money?”

As for the name, we wanted to make perks and discounts kind of fun. A lark is a sort of unexpected, whimsical, fun thing. We played on the idea of how you may not be expecting this kind of happy “tap on the shoulder” telling you that you can save money.

Q: Why is Factual location data important for Larky?
A: Our relationship with Factual is critical to our core functionality. When I fly into Miami (for example) there’s a lookup done that says “here are the 14 organizations that Gregg’s a member of. Based on his membership, here’s the list of the hundreds of merchants that offer a discount based on memberships.” Factual helps us determine which of these merchants have locations in this area. We couldn’t do it if we had to know the location of every Starbucks or whatever the organization. Instead we can just look it up from Factual in real time.

Q: What features of Larky do people not know about that they should?
A: As cool as it is that Larky can do things just by current location, you can also use it to plan ahead by typing in a city or zip code, even the name of a place. A lot of people see this as a hidden feature.

Also, people have their own strong personal preferences on how Larky alerts should work. Should you be alerted every time you walk by any Starbucks for example? Would you prefer if you didn’t have to get alerts when you walk by the one in your building every day? When we launched, we got a lot of varied reviews about whether we offered too many or just the right number of alerts, so we decided to let people pick what they want. Based on this feedback, we put in a lot of granularity over what perks you get alerts about.

Q: How do you see the future of mobile in retail?
A: It’s huge. I was actually just reading a report with some mind-boggling statistics. It said something like 54% of people use their mobile device while buying something. Almost everybody has the ability to look up information while buying something and over half of people do. Over 51% of respondents are more likely to enter a store if they get a mobile coupon. More than 63% will be more likely to buy if they get an offer while in the store. That’s huge for us because it’s valuable to our participating merchants.

Q: What advice do you have for developers making their own apps?
A: I’ve actually done other apps before and it’s been interesting. My heartfelt answer is that you hear about apps adding ten million users, but the reality for most of us is that you create something that’s good but not an overnight success. It’s iterative and you get better all the time, but don’t lose hope if you don’t become a success in 30 days.

Another interesting experience I had was with our first app which we sold for $1.99 (Larky is free). People would rave about how great the app was, but they were so price sensitive. I couldn’t understand how people could spend $5 on a coffee and consider $1.99 too high for an app, but the reality is that they really care.

Q: What’s a lesson that you learned while working at Larky? How has it impacted your business?
A: It’s often said but true: you can never spend too much time talking to users and customers. It’s the fastest way to see how your product is working, or not working, for them. We are always always always looking for feedback through all platforms: our site chat, face to face, etc.. I’m not the first guy to say it, but it’s definitely true.

Q: What’s the best part about working at Larky?
A: This idea of the “tap on the shoulder” to help people save money makes people happy. It’s great to work in such a happy business.

Adelphic and Factual Partner to Offer Location-Based Mobile Ad Targeting Capabilities

We are excited to announce our partnership with Adelphic, the leading mobile-first demand-side platform for agencies and brands. Adelphic has integrated our Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity products into their demand-side platform to enable their clients to better reach their target audience and deliver a more relevant mobile ads based on the context of mobile users’ locations.

With Geopulse Audience, Adelphic’s advertisers can target mobile campaigns against over 100 defined audience segments spanning demographic (such as household income, age, and gender), geographic (such as home postcode and frequented areas of activity), behavioral (such as business traveler, fast-food diner, and in-market auto buyer), and brand affinities (such as Taco Bell diners, Target shoppers, and Disney Resort visitors). Geopulse Audience builds these segments by analyzing the location data flowing through Adelphic’s platform. It develops an understanding of mobile users by examining the way users move through the physical world, looking for repeat behaviors that indicate the various attributes.

Geopulse Proximity offers advertisers the ability to use popular location-based targeting techniques such as geofencing and geoconquesting in a sophisticated and flexible way. Through Adelphic’s DSP, advertisers can now deliver ads to mobile users based on where they are in real-time, specifying places with any combination of business category, name, merchant, and geographic region on a global basis. They can set up fences of varying sizes across any number of places in any or all of 50 countries around the world.

Both Geopulse Audience and Geopulse Proximity leverage our Global Places data, a comprehensive, global dataset that covers over 65 million local businesses and other points of interest in 50 countries. This data is constantly being updated so that advertisers can be sure that if they are trying to reach users who are at independent coffee shops, for example, they are actually reaching users at coffee shops instead of users who are at stores that used to be coffee shops.

“Targeting with location data dramatically increases the relevance of ads delivered to consumers, and this relevance in turn drives performance for brands,” said Michael Collins, CEO of Adelphic. “Factual’s location-based data will allow Adelphic clients to create more impactful campaigns at scale, the positive effects of which will be felt at both the digital and brick-and-mortar level.”

Mobile campaigns incorporating location-based targeting consistently out-perform industry averages. Adelphic takes a sophisticated approach to using data in mobile advertising and we believe their advertisers will see a tremendous amount of value from the combination of Factual’s products and Adelphic’s platform.