Jan 23, 2023 / 19 min read

A Buyers’ Guide to POI Data


As companies wonder how best to accelerate growth at scale, many are turning to POI (point of interest) data to fuel their journeys. This information about where entities are located promises industry leaders an opportunity to rethink strategy, increase efficiency, and discover new markets. 

But what exactly is POI data? And how can it increase business intelligence? In this buyers’ guide, we’ll answer these important questions, highlight the risks of using low-quality datasets, and explain how to vet POI data for quality.

What is POI data?

POI data is a specific category of geospatial data. A point of interest is any physical site that might be of interest to individuals, companies, and decision makers. These include brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and malls, but also national parks, monuments, and other landmarks. 

Every POI record has a set of core attributes: location (address and/or latitude and longitude coordinates), function (or place type), contact information (phone number, website, etc.), and brand information (where applicable). Such records might also contain hours of operation, activity, or reviews.

 POI data has numerous sources, ranging from state governments to private companies. But before jumping into where to find the best POI data on the market, let’s review some examples of how it can benefit your business. 

How can POI data create value for my company?

 POI data can support organizations of all stripes. With it, leaders are able to conduct location intelligence at scale to generate actionable insights.

For example, POI data can allow your business to make smarter decisions about site selection. Any company looking to expand internationally can lean on this information to develop a holistic vision of a target area, region, or country. With the right datasets, brands gain insights about competition as well as about complementary POIs that might boost ROI.

POI data also makes it easy to hone your marketing. Whether your advertising is being run in-house or by an outside firm, POI datasets make it easier to reach new customers and nurture existing relationships. With the insights afforded by this type of location data, it becomes simpler to land on an effective marketing strategy, be it one that relies on mobile targeting, geotargeting, geofencing, or geo-conquesting.  

What are the risks of using bad POI data?

As these examples underline, smart location insights can supercharge business decision making. But not all POI data is created equal; indeed, POI records—especially international datasets—are often riddled with errors. And working with poor, incomplete data can be costly.

For starters, POI data is often burdened with restrictive licensing terms. These terms can make it near impossible to use a third party’s dataset across multiple platforms and use cases. Restrictions like these kneecap growth opportunities and turn costly data into a dead asset.

Companies that use faulty data also risk being priced out of current and prospective markets. If the geospatial snapshot provided by a POI dataset is inaccurate, it’s easy to overlook or overestimate competition. By extension, this makes it difficult to operationalize other kinds of location data and their insights about consumer behavior and demand. 

These risks lead to poor outcomes, which make for very real losses of time and resources. Once a business realizes that they’re working with bad data, it can take months to correct course, find new vendors, and amend strategy. If a site’s been chosen—or, worse yet, ground broken—on the basis of poor data, there might not be a way for the business to recover.

The end result of these missed opportunities and damaging outcomes is even harder to bounce back from, as both lead to the erosion of confidence and trust among stakeholders. This can set a company back years, lead once-loyal customers to defect to competitors, and at times even permanently stifle growth. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to avoid these risks by choosing the right places data and finding the best POI data provider.

What makes for a good POI database?

So, what exactly constitutes good POI data? 

The quality of any places dataset rests on its accuracy, coverage, scale, and recency. The data that you buy should be transparent about four elements: (1) the variety of its sources, (2) the coverage and depth of each of its records, (3) those records’ accuracy, consistency, and completeness, and (4) how up-to-date it is.

It’s also important to ask follow-up questions about a given POI purchase before committing. What, for instance, makes the data in question unique? How is this POI data being presented? Can it be combined with other datasets for additional insights? And finally, how might it be used to drive business strategy?

What criteria should I use when picking a POI data provider?

While free POI datasets can be found online, they’re ill-suited to the needs of leaders looking to capture market share. Imagine: if you and your competitors are looking at the same free data, it is impossible for either of you to gain a competitive advantage.

So, it’s crucial to choose the best possible partner when buying POI data. To do so, be sure that the provider under consideration checks five boxes:

  Confirm that your data provider specializes in POI data. While other providers might offer POI as part of a larger package, only POI-focused ones are able to dedicate the time and resources to ensuring that their data is accurate, unique, and actionable.

✓  Partner with a data vendor who streamlines places datasets from multiple sources. The best POI records are collated and streamlined from multiple reliable sources, transforming a variety of inputs into a single source of truth. Providers that don’t do this will leave your company vulnerable to messy or redundant data, which will waste precious hours of your IT teams’ time to clean up.

  Look for vendors who provide metadata and other indicators for every record. This information gives buyers the signal that the seller has done due diligence in verifying their data.

  Choose a provider who knows the value of local sources. While providers often look to a variety of sources and tools to double-check their records, human validation is often required to guarantee the integrity of places data. While a number of sellers tout academic opinion or AI as proof that their datasets are accurate, those that don’t consult local experts are leaving gains in accuracy on the table.

✓  Pick a vendor that’s not under public media pressure or scrutiny for their practices. In addition to being a boon for businesses, location data can be dangerous if used or sold nefariously. As such, buyers need to be vigilant not only about the integrity of their POI data, but also about the integrity of the vendors from which they buy it. Doing so provides peace of mind about the long-term health of your buyer-vendor relationship. You don’t want to be cited in a media story for working with privacy-unsafe providers.

Why you might choose dataPlor for POI data

dataPlor is dedicated to providing you with best-in-class POI data. As places data is our sole focus, we’ve been able to concentrate on verifying our roughly 125 million records from over 70 countries. This is in sharp contrast to much of the competition, whose international data is often an afterthought—and, as a result, up to 70-90% inaccurate.

The global scope of our product is made possible by tools that allow us to go multiple steps further than the competition in verifying our information. Machine learning, AI, and deep learning, for instance, help us to gather the most up-to-date signals from any area. Our process also taps local experts to drive our data’s industry-leading accuracy. 

Thanks to this process, we’re able to constantly upgrade our existing countries and records to equip you for growth. All of which means that you’ll have the data that you need to stay ahead of the competition.

Want to see how dataplor measures up?

Request Free Data Sample Talk to an Expert