Yext Redesigns App in Shift from Data to Content

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yextA week after expanding its service to Facebook, Yext has redesigned its mobile application to focus on content creation. The move comes as the company looks to expand the functionality of its network from a tool that merchants use to occasionally update a phone number or address across multiple properties to something akin to a content marketing network where brick-and-mortar businesses can create and distribute posts and multimedia from a single entry point.

With the new iPhone app, which launched on Saturday, businesses can manage and post to their Facebook page, as well as distribute photos across the company’s network of publishers.  The update marks a departure from the company’s previous mobile application, which effectively recreated the web experience, says Liz Walton, the company’s marketing manager.

Today, the majority of the businesses running on Yext’s platform do not update content regularly, but the company hopes the application will change that behavior.  “We’re trying to get people to approach content creation for local marketing in the same way they do for social,” says Walton. “Merchants understand that they need to update their Facebook page or tweet regularly, but they don’t seem to make that connection with content on a business listing.”

It’s a position that Constant Contact-owned SinglePlatform, the company’s largest competitor, has touted — and a feature that has traditionally individuated the two companies. As both firms put their newfound capital to use, however, the line separating the two approaches — data (name, address, phone number) on one hand, and rich content (photos, menus etc) on the other — is fading.

For Yext, the addition of the social network to the list of publishers on which merchants can update and manage information expands the reach of its network and, more importantly, gives the company a toehold in merchants’ content marketing strategies. A recent study by Constant Contact found that 82% of businesses surveyed reporting that they are active on Facebook, making it the most popular social platform among SMBs.

In addition to SMBs, larger businesses can also use the app to manage content for multiple locations. Enterprise sales has been a quiet source of new business for both Yext and SinglePlatform over the past year. Walton says enterprise clients traditionally update content more often, but since those decisions are more centralized they tend to use the mobile application less than their SMB counterparts.

Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.

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