Skip Tracing Results Explained: First-Best vs Near-Best Results

Skip Tracing Result Explained: First-Best vs Near-Best search results.
Many small businesses have become skip tracing data buyers. There are some misconceptions, though, about what these businesses are actually buying. Few have had the different types of skip tracing results explained to them. In this post, we’re going to correct a part of that.

There are two types of skip tracing searches, single and batch. The results they give you might look the same, but they are different in one very important way. A batch search only gives you a first-best result. A single search can also give you a near-best result. That difference determines whether or not you get a data-rich result or nothing at all.

Two Types of Skip Tracing Results Explained

Batch Search

Batch search has become hugely popular among data-driven businesses, such as real estate, that rely on making a lot of targeted marketing contacts to find new customers. A batch skip trace can return thousands of actionable search results in very little time. The speed of the process is an advantage, but it comes a cost.

First-Best Result

The benefit of a batch search is speed. The cost of batching searches is shallow results. The spreadsheet format used, which is required to automated the process, only allows for one row of results per person searched.

No matter how much information a database has about a person, the batch spreadsheet format gives only one row to report the search results. So, only the first-best results will be returned.

If your question is, “what is a current mobile phone number for this person, at this address?” The database will plug its first-best guesses into the spreadsheet and move on.

Does the database have a better phone number for that person at a different address? Maybe. Does it have a good phone number for a relative or spouse at the same address? Probably. But, because of the easy-to-automate spreadsheet format, you get only the top level of information, the first-best results.

Is a First-Best Result Good Enough?

Many times, the first-best result is good enough to get the job done. What do you do when it’s not? Is there a way to get a deeper search result that contains everything that batch searches leave out? Yes. In BellesLink we call this a People search.

People Search

Single searches, like a people search, are searches you do one at time. Unlike a batch search which is automated, a people search is done manually. The real difference, though, is the depth of the search results.

The results of a people search include all the first-best information of the batch search, but also goes much deeper and include many valuable near-best results.

Near-Best Result

The relational databases used in skip tracing excel at connecting unconnected bits of information about people, properties, businesses, and public records. A people search may not return a person’s current mobile number, but it may tell you an older address, a business they owned, a property they bought, contact information for their spouse, children, or associates.

Said simply, a people search will give you a near-best result, even when it can’t give you a first-best result. So, the data is always deeper and richer.

This secondary information are the near-best results that a batch search can’t give you, but are very valuable for making contact with someone.

Using Near-Best Results

A batch search is good when the volume of contact is important, a people search is better when contacting a particular person has a lot of value to you. Working through the all first- and near-best results in a people search can take time, and a bit of detective work, to the best contact information. Of course, that’s the reason to use a people search in the first place, to get the deepest search results possible in order to contact someone who is difficult to find.

Knowing Your Skip Tracing Results

With these common types of skip tracing results explained, you now have a better understand the difference between a batch search and a people search, and a first-best result and a near-best result.

As we said, many times a first-best result batch search will be good enough to help you contact a person. Which is good, because a batch search is 25% the price of a people search. For most businesses a lower-cost, faster batch search is the best place to start you skip tracing.

Learn more about batch searches and people searches on our website.