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Google Places — Average User Spend Per Month? Where’s that Data Coming From?

I was wandering around Google Places today and I came across the strangest thing.

I noticed that one of the listings I was looking at had some unusual lines under the “Details” header:

Average Purchases Per Month‎:
Average Spend Per User Per Month‎:
Average Purchase Amount Per Transaction‎:

When you hold your mouse over the information lines under that header, you will sometimes get information about where a data point is coming from, but not in this case.

I looked at several other business listings and didn’t see details like this, but I did find about 45 other businesses with this information by searching Google for “Average Spend Per User Per Month‎” intitle:”google maps”.

Has anyone else seen this? Where is this data coming from? Just off the top of my head I would think Blippy, but I don’t remember seeing any kind of integration announcement. Did I miss something?

Update: A Google spokesperson told me the following: “… it’s just a small experiment for now. The data is coming from a provider, but since we’re just showing this temporarily while tweaking it, we don’t have more info to share right now.”

I dunno, it seems like businesses might have questions about a data point like this showing up on their listings, especially as it isn’t sourced. Is it going to make a business look too expensive, or raise questions about what’s being offered? Conversely, is Google getting this data from enough people for it to be used in marketing analysis? If I’m Lozano Brushless Car Wash, when I will know if Google’s pulling data from a large enough sample to be useful and trustworthy? Should I start looking at this now as an analysis and marketing planning tool?

As someone who spends a lot of time in her “real job” doing marketing planning, customer communications, ad buying, etc, I can think of a dozen ways I’d use this data — but not until I knew enough about it to trust it.

Whaddaya think?

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