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Smarty's 2023 address data deep dive: Trends, challenges, and breakthroughsSmarty deep dive webinar recap
Andrew Townsend
Andrew Townsend
 • 
January 23, 2024
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We recently hosted a webinar where Brent Francom and Jeffrey Duncan, two of our Product Managers, talked about the lessons we learned and the improvements we've made in 2023.

Here are the highlights.

When you process so many addresses, you see things

We processed 327 billion+ addresses in 2023, equating to nearly 900 million per day or over 10,000 per second.

When you process that many addresses, you find many funny and interesting ones. We keep a "Wall of Shame" with funny and malformed addresses that somehow validate.

For Example:

11 Go Away St.

Too Lazy 2 Road

This is what happens when you process billions of addresses every week!

Additional non-postal addresses

We continue to grow our non-postal/non-USPS addresses, and in 2023, that number rose to 20 million.

Non-postal addresses are valid addresses that are not serviced by the USPS but still exist. Many validation tools don’t provide this information.

These allow you to reach more customers, like in rural areas without USPS delivery. Another use would be addresses to places that don't have a mailbox, like cell towers or construction sites.

Project US@ formatting

2023 saw increased industry-specific formatting in multiple industries. One that we’re proud to support is Project US@ formatting.

Project US@ (or Project USA) is an initiative in the healthcare industry to standardize address formatting across different healthcare systems and providers. Its mission is to improve the accuracy and quality of patient address data to allow for smoother information sharing and more accurate patient identification.

Here are examples of things covered in Project US@ formatting:

All letters are capitalized (For example: ONE MAIN STREET)

Words like "Highway" and "County" are spelled out and capitalized rather than abbreviated.

You can now get all your addresses from Smarty in Project US@ formatting.

Tackling the biggest address-related challenges

A key addressing challenges that Smarty focused on improving in 2023 were managing address aliases, preventing false positives, and handling complex international addresses.

To help link address aliases from street renamings or renumberings, Smarty launched SmartyKey™, which provides a persistent ID connecting all variants to the canonical address. You can learn more about persistent unique identifiers here.

2023 also saw Smarty underscore advancements in strengthening the strict zero false positives policy through continuous monitoring and refining our matching algorithms. We feel it’s our obligation to eliminate as many false positives as possible since they can cause such an incredible problem for our customers.

Additionally, supporting 240+ countries with diverse address formats poses inherent complexity. We've made meaningful improvements related to international addresses, achieving more consistency in country-specific formats, retaining address details when no match is found, and boosting the capabilities of features like international autocomplete. 

We've made measurable progress in 2023 around overcoming these obstacles that have plagued the industry for years.

New and improved tools

Several new products were launched in 2023.

First, we launched many slick new products like the US Address Enrichment API, which returns extra data tied to each address. It's like looking up an address and getting back property records and other intel attached to that location.

We launched a Google Sheets plugin that validates spreadsheet lists of addresses with one click. You can download this plugin on Google Sheets under their extensions and add-ons.

Beyond new products, we leveled up our Master Address List, which now includes 20 million non-postal addresses not covered by USPS. We added census block codes, too, so you can easily analyze complete neighborhoods.

On top of all that, international address handling got a major glow-up! The system got much faster and more accurate, detecting patterns from the billions of global addresses processed. We've improved consistency, retained unmatched address details better, and even enabled searching addresses by postal code.

 

To see more of the fun things talked about in the webinar, you can watch the full recording here:

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