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Of course you want all the search engine traffic you can get, but when it comes to your locator… there may be some issues.

Your financial institution has finally decided to put a locator option on your website and mobile app. The simplest option would be to use an already available API integration from one of the major search engines. These APIs are low-cost or free and have a large following with copious amounts of technical help documentation.

But that ease of access can be dizzyingly deceptive. The truth is there are many reasons your bank or credit union should avoid relying on search engine mapping as your branch and ATM locator. Here are just the current top 7.

  1. Search engines are actively advertising for your competitors. Zoom in on those search engine maps, and what do you see everywhere? Clickable markers for your biggest national competitors and smaller competing financials right in your back yard – complete with driving directions, reviews, and more. To add insult to injury, this is the search engine business plan – to monetize search and mapping by providing contextual advertising for your competition, both in their maps and of course in their search listings.
  1. Search engines accept user changes.  That’s right. An everyday search engine user, or even a competitor, can suggest changes to your location information. Any aspect of a location listing can be edited by a user, even down to names, telephone numbers, and hours of operation. And you might not know until someone reports an error on your locator – unless someone is assigned to keep daily tabs on every single location listing to reject suggested edits.
  2. Incorrect directions are common. Search engines are notorious for mislabeling location entrances, parking, and other pertinent information directly affecting branch and ATM visitor experience. If only you could precisely adjust exactly where your locations would show up with a quick drag and drop adjustment!
  3. Search engine location mapping offers minimal search criteria. Current and potential account holders typically look for something specific when they use your website or mobile location tools. In some cases, it is the nearest branch or ATM. But often, they are looking for surcharge-free access, a deposit-taking machine, or a specific in-branch service. Search engine locators don’t have options available for users to get those types of granular results. This brings us to our next point…
  4. They lack data options. Search engines don’t offer usually offer options to note which branch has drive-thru tellers, deposit-taking ATMs, or other specific amenities or details about your branch and ATM locations. The only way to include that information would be to use additional landing page links, creating another click-through barrier for your website and mobile users.
  5. No location aggregation. Big search engines aren’t keeping track of your new branches, closed locations, ATMs, or surcharge-free networks. So, if you’re part of a network like CO-OP, Alliance One, Culiance, MoneyPass, Dolphin Debit Alliance, Shazam, or any other networks, chances are you’re sending people to additional locators – someplace off-site or out of the mobile app to try to find what convenience they seek. And the search engines have no idea what surcharge-free locations you offer for your account holders.
  6. Search engine location mapping offers limited actionable analytics.Google site analytics can only go so far as to give you accurate information about searches through their maps for your locations. And, without allowing more granular searches, even knowing the “where” does not necessarily give you a good idea of what, exactly, those mapping users are demanding. In other words, where are your account holders and potential account holders hoping to find you, and how well are you meeting that demand?

If you’re looking for more than a free “quick-fix” for your institution’s online and mobile location services, grabbing the nearest search engine API should not be your first choice. Information security, search criteria, data options, location aggregation, and analytics are just a few of the many growing reasons financial institutions turn to innovative, interactive location search and mapping tools like Wave2. With the right location tools, your bank or credit union can not only offer easy convenience but build better data for your institution and better experiences for your website and mobile application users..

Find out how the Wave2 locator can help your financial institution with all of these issues and much more!

Wave2 Contact:
Jason Green, Co-Founder
Schedule a Demonstration & Discussion