Archive for October, 2009

Canada’s Yellow Pages Group Announces Search Engine Marketing Services

Friday, October 30, 2009

For years, small and mid-sized businesses have relied on Yellow Pages to attract new local customers. And under a new partnership announced in Canada this week, businesses can continue to count on Yellow Pages as their guide to reaching the growing number of potential customers using local online search.

On Wednesday, Canada’s Yellow Pages Group (YPG) announced an agreement with Marchex, a local search advertising company, to provide local online performance-based advertising services for the group’s clients on major search engines such as Google, MSN’s Bing, and Yahoo!.

These new offerings are in addition to the YPG’s popular online search directories – YellowPages.ca, Canada411.ca, and CanadaPlus.ca – and its mobile site and cell phone applications.

We’ll be watching their progress with interest.

Yellow Pages Scores High in Trust in Independent Survey

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Forrester Research, Inc. recently completed its North American Technographics® Media, Marketing, Consumer Technology, And Healthcare Benchmark Survey, Q3 2009 (US, Canada).

To the question “What is your overall level of trust for each of the following sources of advertising,” Yellow Pages was cited as the top source they “trust a lot” among U.S. respondents compared to other sources of advertising.

In the survey, newspaper ads, in-store display ads, and online consumer opinions all tied for second. At the bottom of the list were ads on blogs, ads on social networking sites, and cell phone text ads.

We feel that it is an interesting finding that Yellow Pages substantially beats out requested e-mail, brand Web sites and search engine advertising.

Of course, Internet Yellow Pages, as well as a number of other online sites, have implemented opinion features to attract consumers.

Trust continues to be a critical consideration in advertising strategy. With many platforms available to today’s businesses, advertisers should think carefully about their target customer. Reach is critical to advertising, but advertisers shouldn’t ignore the importance of trust when determining the right mix for them.

What is your overall level of trust for each of the following sources of revenue?

(Click image to increase size)

What is your overall level of trust for each of the following sources of advertising?
Source: Forrester North American Technographics® Media, Marketing, Consumer Technology, And Healthcare Benchmark Survey, Q3 2009 (US, Canada), 4,711 U.S. consumers sampled; response given “Trust a lot”

AOL Chief Sees Bright Future for Online Yellow Pages

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some conversation on Web 2.0 in San Francisco popped up in my news alert, shedding light on how one top media executive views the outlook for Yellow Pages in the digital space.

In an interview, AOL’s new CEO Tim Armstrong said he believes that Internet Yellow Pages “will become more important in the future than less.”

“I think in the future the [online] Yellow Pages business, if that’s what we’re calling it – how local businesses market themselves – will be exponentially better than it is today.”

Armstrong noted that the current Internet Yellow Pages experience is much like the early days of web search, when consumers had shifted their habits much faster than advertisers. He added that a variety of small companies were working on interesting solutions to further adapt Yellow Pages for the web.

Armstrong is no stranger to the local online experience. He founded Patch.com, a Web site that “digitizes towns” – putting everything from police, fire, and school information, to business and event listings online.

Currently, Patch is available for 12 towns in New Jersey and Connecticut, with 11 new towns planned for launch in the next three months. The site has started to sell local advertising through banner ads, classifieds, and other models.

Here’s Armstrong’s full interview. The Yellow Pages mention is at 21:30.

BIA/Kelsey: Small Businesses Using Social Media for Marketing

Monday, October 26, 2009

Following up on our post about advertisers’ growing interest in social media, I wanted to share this new study by BIA/Kelsey that finds small and mid-size businesses are increasingly leveraging social media in their marketing approaches.

Here are a couple interesting stats from the research:

  • 32% plan on including social media in their marketing strategies during the next year through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Specifically, 9% are currently using Twitter to marketing their brands.
  • 39% plan to include customer ratings or reviews on their Web sites, 23% plan to incorporate video on their sites, and 31% plan to include links or ads placed on social networking sites or blogs.
  • The use of social media is more prevalent among younger businesses: 16% using social media have been in business for three years or less, while only 2% using social media have been in business for more than 11 years.

Social media is continuing to attract larger online audiences. Facebook’s U.S. growth increased by 8.6% in September 2009 to 88.3 million visitors, according to an analysis by InsideFacebook.com, which tracks Facebook’s self-reported demographic statistics for the U.S. market. Twitter had 23,5 million U.S. monthly users in September 2009, up more than 700% from its unique audience in September 2008, according to Compete.com, a web analytics company.

At Kelsey’s DMS conference last month, social media was a big topic of interest, and I think the findings of the survey show why.  A third of small businesses plan to include social media next year, and it’s only likely to grow from there.  This important shift in how newer companies are prioritizing their marketing strategies is a sign of bigger things to come, and a critical trend for Yellow Pages companies to consider.  After all, shouldn’t we be there when the consumer comes looking for information?

YPA and ADM Boards Vote Unanimously to Create Largest Local Search Trade Organization

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our merger with the Association of Directory Marketing (ADM) crossed an important milestone yesterday with ADM’s board approval of the merger.  Our board gave its approval in a meeting last week, and now the proposal goes to a vote of our respective members.  I’m confident they will see the value in this effort.

Our industry is amidst a dramatic and exciting transformation.  For 130 years, we have changed and adapted to advertiser and consumer trends.  Today, our members are evolving from single-product to multi-platform advertising companies that help local and national businesses generate relevant sales leads across print, digital, mobile, social and other mediums.  With the changes in our industry, it only makes sense for us to also transform the associations that represent them.

With final approval of memberships, our combined association will become the largest local search trade organization in the world, representing 90% of the United States and Canadian Yellow Pages industry as well as key players in 29 countries worldwide.

As one association, we’ll speak with a stronger and more consistent voice that fully represents the point of view of all the participants in the Yellow Pages business; publishers, Yellow Pages agencies and suppliers.   YPA and ADM have worked together in a number of areas in the past, but I’m excited that we’ll soon be an integrated team with a common purpose and mission.

As you can expect with any integration of two organizations, a significant amount of planning and work has gone into this from both organizations.  I’d like to thank staff members at both YPA and ADM, our board members, and all of our members who’ve provided valuable input and assistance in making this happen.

The local search space is ripe with new opportunities.  With this merger, our industry is in a stronger position than ever has been to take advantage of them.

Local Search Plays a Role in Healthcare

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In my “Locals Only” piece on Search Engine Land this week, I take a look at the national healthcare debate and the continued importance of local search to connect individuals and families with the right medical professionals.

Regardless of where national health care is headed, all Americans share the same challenge: finding good healthcare providers. According to a recent study by Knowledge Networks, 14 percent of all Yellow Pages usage, or roughly one out of every seven, is related to healthcare. In 2008, there were 2.4 billion references to healthcare headings.  And in recent years, there has been a proliferation of vertical Web sites that offer local search tools, ranging from Angie’s List and City Search to webMD Physician Finder.

This means that local healthcare professionals or practices wanting to build a clientele of patients will need to take stock of all the tools available to you, from print yellow pages, internet yellow pages, city listings sites and local search verticals to determine which will reach your intended audience.

You can read my full piece at Search Engine Land here.

Nielsen: Social Media Ad Spending up 119% in 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Internet Yellow Pages partnerships with social media was a hot topic at DMS this year, so this caught my eye this week: According to a new study from Nielsen, online advertisers are quickly ramping up spending in social media as consumers devote more time to the space.

The report found that social network and blogging sites accounted for 17% of user time spent on the Internet in August 2009, three-times the percentage of time spent on the sector a year ago. The spike generated a 119% increase in ad spending on top social media sites, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to about $108 million in August 2009. The share of ad spending for social media with regards to total online spending has more than doubled, from 7% in 2008 to 15% in 2009.

While overall online ad spending dropped year-over-year in many sectors, social media ad spending increased in every industry in August 2009. Top sectors included:

  • Entertainment – up 812% on social network sites vs. up 40% on all sites
  • Travel – up 364% on social network sites vs. down 11 percent on all sites
  • B2B – up 184% on all social network sites vs. down 8% on all sites
  • Automotive – up 178% on social network sites vs. down 26% on all sites.

“In the past, advertisers had significant concerns with social media advertising,” said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division. “The considerable increases we’ve seen in ad spending over the past year suggest that many of these concerns have subsided or been addressed.”

Americans Kick Off Fall With a Trip to Local Pharmacy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Every month we take a look at interesting headings data.  Since cold and flu season begins as early as October, we thought it would be appropriate to look at the  ”Pharmacies” heading this month.

As it turns out, “Pharmacies” ranks 17th out of more than 4,000 headings and generates 129 million references annually, with the highest frequency coming in October and November. Yellow Pages are one of the primary resources for consumers, in fact, 90 percent of Yellow Pages users who refer to the Pharmacies heading followed up with a purchase with 19 percent of sales generated from new customers.

In addition to October being the highest usage for the Pharmacy heading, it is also American Pharmacist Month, as stated by the (APhA). The month-long observance is a time to recognize pharmacist’s significant contributions to health care and the commitment to patient care in all practice settings from around the country.

Pharmacies know that Yellow Pages advertising will reach the local consumer at the precise moment they are ready to make a purchase, thus generating qualified leads. These purchases, based on local Yellow Pages display ads, result in more than 175 sales per year and over $38,000 in sales revenue for pharmacies. In addition, the average return on investment received from these local display ads at the pharmacies heading is $11 of sales revenue for every $1 spent.

Tight Credit Markets Continue to Impact Small Businesses

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I recently ran across a Wall Street Journal piece about the credit crunch’s continuing impact on small businesses.

Of course, there’s been significant talk about economic recovery lately, and the government had made a number of moves to unfreeze credit. So it might be easy to think that our small business clients see a light at the end of the tunnel. But Meredith Whitney, CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group, LLC, warns that we’re only about halfway through this credit crisis, and this is bad for small businesses.

“Since the onset of the credit crisis over two years ago, available credit to small businesses and consumers has contracted by trillions of dollars, and that phenomenon is reflected in dismal consumer spending trends. Equally worrisome are the trends in small-business credit, which has contracted at one of the fastest paces of any lending category. Small business loans are hard to find, and credit-card lines (a critical funding source to small businesses) have been cut by 25% since last year.”

She also says that home equity loans are still hard to come by, which means even less money available to small business owners through that credit line.

Since a critical component of our business is helping other businesses generate leads and grow sales, these predictions should be top of mind for all of us.

Our sales teams in the field working with business owners must understand that their advertising resources might continue to be tight for some time to come. As always, that means the responsibility is on us to demonstrate value and ROI to our clients. Now more than ever, we must present solutions that address the specific objectives of individual businesses, and we must demonstrate that those solutions help our clients achieve their goals – however idiosycratic they may be.

Change Keeps Coming and We’re Part of It … Join Us

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

transformers

Change has ripped through the advertising industry, tearing apart long-held assumptions about how to reach consumers. Change has swept away notions about “eyeballs” and “reach and frequency”. Change has blown apart into long-held beliefs about the best way to get your message to your specific audience, while reducing expenses.

And change is creating a startling transformation in the 2010 Yellow Pages Association Conference – Transformers, coming to the Paris! Hotel, April 17-20. We’re starting early this year – on Saturday, April 17 – to make sure you have enough time to get to all of our networking opportunities. We’ve swept away the Exhibit Hall to make room for Strategic Exchange Sessions (SES) – putting buyers with sellers in fast-paced, one-to-one, intimate settings .

We’ll make sure you are entertained by good music, comedy and get to spend time with the movers and shakers in our industry. And for those of you who’ve attended our Conferences in the past to get the best information on the direction of our industry, there will still be plenty of informational sessions and chances to expand your horizons.

All in the adult playground of dazzling Las Vegas. Four days of festivities, networking and fun! For publishers, CMRs and vendors alike.

Over the next few months you’ll be hearing more and more about our revolutionary Conference design and the numerous opportunities to participate as an attendee, sponsor or participant in the SES format. For now, get ready for a completely different experience – one that you won’t soon forget, so MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  Book your room now to reserve your special rate of $139 a night.

2010 Yellow Pages Association Conference
Saturday, April 17 through Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Paris! Hotel
Las Vegas