Archive for June, 2010

The Importance of Info-Rich Ads in Generating Local Leads

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In our monthly column for Search Engine Land posted this week, I talk about the importance of creating info-rich ads that provide the types of information about local businesses that consumers need.

According to our first annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” conducted by Burke and commissioned by the Yellow Pages Association, 21% of print Yellow Pages users and 18% of Internet Yellow Pages users said that there was not enough information in the ads.

As I explain in the column, the key takeaway is that a “less is more” approach when it comes to the types of information included in local ads does not satisfy consumers’ needs. A “more is more” approach—in essence, creating an info-rich ad—ensures that the consumer is fully informed about the local business, its services, and the nature of the products and services they offer.

You can read my full Search Engine Land column here.

Multiple Yellow Pages Performance Indicators Moved Up in 2009

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, president of CRM Associates, has been following Yellow Pages usage for many years. He sent to me this week some thoughts that sum up recent data regarding print usage. Thanks to Dennis for sharing his expert opinion with us.

A number of businesses, bloggers, media commentators, and even public officials are accepting or propagating the myth that “no one uses the print Yellow Pages anymore.”  These statements typically are made based on personal experience or conversations with a few friends, and are largely made data-free.  The usage and call tracking data tell just the opposite story.   Data from multiple studies show that while print usage did drop in the past few years due to the recession, print directories are still widely used.  In fact, as the economy has started to recover, usage of Yellow Pages has started to increase – completely contrary to the popularly held myth.

This post provides a high-level summary of the multiple studies of the trends in usage and in call response to Yellow Pages ads.  The fact that multiple measures point to the same conclusion suggest that the result is real and not an aberration or artifact from a single study.

Several studies since the beginning of the year prove that Yellow Pages remain a vibrant, essential tool for consumers looking to find businesses.  In a nutshell:

  • Print usage Reach and Frequency increased throughout 2009 by about 15% (Burke 2010 YP Usage Study).
  • IYP usage Reach and Frequency increased throughout 2009 (Burke 2010 YP Usage Study).
  • Total calls to Yellow Pages increased for both print and IYP in 2009 (CRM Associates 2010).
  • Calls per advertiser increased in 2009 for print display, space, and trade ads and for IYP ads (CRM Associations 2010 Metered Ad Study)
  • Calls either grew or were stable for 72% of top headings in 2009 compared with 82% of headings that showed a negative trend in 2008. (CRM Associates’ 2010 Metered Ad Study)
  • Compared with 10 years ago, 43% of the top 660 headings received at least as many references from print as 10 years ago; 33% (one third) of the headings received 20% or more print references than 10 years ago. (Knowledge Networks/SRI, CRM Associates)

The growth in usage of hundreds of headings clearly contradicts the suggestion that “there is a systematic migration of usage away from the print directories,” or that the Yellow Pages medium is “dying,” or that “no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore.”  Rather, the fact that so many headings have experienced increased usage shows that the medium remains vibrant and relevant to today’s shoppers.

American Express OPEN and Clickable Partner on Search Engine Marketing Tool for Local Businesses

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here’s an interesting story from last week that illustrates continued growth in the search engine marketing space, which is of increasing importance to local businesses across the country.

American Express OPEN is teaming up with Clickable, an online advertising solutions company, to introduce a simplified search engine advertising platform that provides local businesses with immediate, single point access to all major search engines—including Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft AdCenter—as well as Facebook Ads.

The tool, called SearchManager, allows businesses to more easily manage their search marketing campaigns across these leading search destinations in one centralized location. SearchManager will provide participating businesses with a dashboard summarizing key metrics and summary actions, with an analysis of results and advice on potential improvements.

This new partnership comes as Yellow Pages companies including The Berry Company and Yellow Pages Group introduce their own search marketing offerings for local businesses. I’m confident we can expect the announcement of additional services in the near future as more local businesses embrace opportunities to generate leads in the digital space.

More information on the new SearchManager offering is available here.

Yellow Pages Group Launches iPad App

Thursday, June 17, 2010

As Apple’s iPad continues to gain popularity worldwide, Canada’s Yellow Pages Group announced this week that it is the latest Yellow Pages company to introduce a free iPad app.  Previously, Yellowbook, Avantar, and Yellow Magic introduced new apps designed for the tablet device.

YPG’s app—which comes on the heels of the company’s announcement in May that its mobile apps have attracted one million downloads—features business and residential search, reverse phone look-up, local proximity-based search and a “favorites” tool. Additionally, users can view video clips on participating merchants’ pages and share listing results with others via e-mail or text message.

Greg Sterling at Screenwerk also notes that the app links to other YPG properties including Urbanizer, Restuarantica and RedFlagDeals.com.

You can download YPG’s iPad app here. It’s great to see that a growing number of our members are embracing this exciting new technology and creating added value for both our local business clients and consumers.

Golf Drives Yellow Pages Searches in June

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In June, some of the most popular Yellow Pages headings have to do with a favorite pastime – golf. Golf enthusiasts across the country look to our directories for golf-related searches, more specifically “public courses” and “golf equipment,” before making a purchase.

A review of the data show that:

  • Of those who purchased golf equipment after their search, 73% were new customers to where the purchase was made
  • 30% of customers who make a purchase at a public golf course after referencing Yellow Pages directories are new to the point of purchase
  • With an average sales return on investment for local display ads of between 2-to-1 and 4-to-1, public course and equipment shop owners turn to Yellow Pages to help generate qualified sales leads that can lead to long-term relationships
  • Nearly three-quarters of users indicated they were looking for local golf equipment and supplies businesses vs. chain stores

As this data indicates, popular pastimes such as golf continue to generate significant business leads for our clients.

For more information, read our press release about the golf headings.

Dow Jones: SuperMedia Benefitting from SuperGuarantee

Monday, June 14, 2010

For those who question the viability of print Yellow Pages in today’s digital age, be sure to check out today’s Dow Jones article on the success of SuperMedia’s SuperGuarantee program.

According to the story, SuperGuarantee—which promises consumers will be satisfied with services found in its listings—has helped fuel double-digital percentage growth in the number of people who use SuperMedia’s print directories in many cities across the U.S.

The program, introduced last year and expanded in March, ensures that customers of participating SuperGuarantee businesses can rely on SuperMedia to help resolve any service issues they experience—or SuperMedia will reimburse the customer up to $500 of the cost of labor for the service.

If SuperMedia’s newfound growth is any indication, print will remain an important component of local search as the industry continues to find new ways to bring value to the directory. It’s all part of the industry’s strategy of aligning print with increasingly popular digital and mobile platforms to create a truly integrated experience.

Be sure to read the Dow Jones piece.

Chris Cummings Re-elected YPA Board Chairman

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Yellow Pages Association board of directors met yesterday in Raleigh, North Carolina to discuss—among other important topics—its future makeup.

I’m happy to report that Chris Cummings, CEO and equity owner of Marquette Group, has been re-elected chairman of YPA’s board of directors. It’s been a great year with Chris on the team, helping to drive growth and innovation for our more than 400 member companies.

The board also elected Scott Klein, CEO of SuperMedia, vice chairman, and elected Scott Pomeroy, president and CEO of Local Insight Media, as secretary-treasurer.

Additional director seats include: Kathleen DeCaire-Aden, Wahlstrom; Bill Dinan, Telmetrics; Norm Hagarty, DAC Group; Frank Jules, AT&T Advertising Solutions; George Bednarz, Dex One; Sharon Sweeney, Nationwide Media; Marc Tellier, Yellow Pages Group; Joe Walsh, Yellowbook and Neg Norton, YPA.

For the full board press release, click here.

BIA/Kelsey Launches New Mobile App Featuring Industry News & Analysis

Friday, June 11, 2010

These days, not only is our industry transforming to introduce new platforms for information sharing, but so are those who cover it.

Our friends at BIA/Kelsey are launching a new free mobile app that provides users with access to local media news and analysis from its popular blogs: Local Media Watch, Digital Strategies for Broadcasting, Global Yellow Pages and Mobile Local Media.

Now iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users can keep up on breaking industry news and thoughts on the local media landscape— everything from broadcasting and print to Yellow Pages and local search, according to the release. In the near future, BIA/Kelsey will add additional mobile platforms, as well as the firm’s conference and webinar content.

You can download the BIA/Kelsey app via the iTunes store by clicking here.

And speaking of conferences, let me take this opportunity to once again remind everyone of our partnership with BIA/Kelsey on the upcoming Directional Media Strategies (DMS) conference. Each year, the event brings buyers and sellers together for influential sessions on the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing local media landscape. DMS ’10 is taking place September 14-16, 2010, at the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas, Texas. For more information, see our previous post.

Dex One Adds Digital Coupons

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Over the past few months, we’ve talked about the growing popularity of digital coupons in the online—and offline—local shopping experience. As Neg Norton noted in a column on Search Engine Land in March, approximately 35% of U.S. online users surveyed in a recent Compete.com study said they visited coupon sites when shopping online.

So it comes as no surprise that the Yellow Pages industry is increasingly adding online coupon offerings as a means of driving new business leads for its customers.

This morning, Dex One was the latest YP provider to join the trend. The company announced a new service that allows businesses to “create, publish, and prominently display unique digital coupons” on Dex One’s popular local search sites, including DexKows.com and DexKnows Weddings. Businesses can customize their coupons with unique messages, logos, and other features, according to the company.

Earlier this year, SuperMedia launched 72 city-specific Twitter accounts that distribute thousands of coupons from its local business listings at no cost to owners.

I’m glad to see that our industry is taking advantage of this new opportunity to provide businesses and potential customers with yet another platform to find one another and complete sales.