Yext Inc., a New York-based startup that lets businesses manage information on websites such as Yelp and Foursquare, is expanding its service to Facebook.
Yext, which introduced its technology in 2011, allows businesses to store their data in one place and automatically send any updates to about 50 websites. That means if a store's hours or address changes, the owner doesn't have to manually input the information into multiple pages. The business listings will begin syncing with Facebook today, Yext said.
Facebook Inc., owner of the world's biggest social network, is adding Yext data after rolling out its Graph Search feature in January. Graph Search makes it easier for users to find friends, restaurants and interests based on social connections. By letting businesses use Yext to update their Facebook pages, the site will help ensure that information is more complete and up-to-date, Chief Executive Officer Howard Lerman said.
Businesses, meanwhile, are increasingly eager to be included in social-networking searches, he said. Facebook users often try new stores and local services based on what their friends are using, Lerman said.
"With the advent of Graph Search and local search, it became relevant for businesses to do this," Lerman said. "What's going to help me pick the gym I want to pick is where my friends go."
About 92 percent of searches for local businesses on social-networking sites took place on Facebook in 2012, according to a Neustar Localeze study. Facebook is counting on search features to ensure that users visit its site more often and stay longer, helping increase the amount of advertising that the company can sell.
Facebook's first-quarter sales topped analysts' projections yesterday, a sign that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is attracting more advertisers. While the Menlo Park, California-based company has more than a billion members, investors have expressed concerns that it's been too slow in generating revenue from its massive user base.
Yext makes money by charging customers for the software that syncs up their data across websites. The startup, which is backed by investors such as Sutter Hill Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners and WGI Group, last raised funding in June 2012. The $27 million round valued the company at $270 million, Yext said.