Archive for July, 2010

More People Go Mobile for Local

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One trend that we’ve all been watching closely is mobile, and today we’re releasing new data from comScore that shows more people are turning to their mobile devices to access business information.

This is good news for Internet Yellow Pages because it essentially helps extend the reach of those resources for consumers, and helps advertisers access a desirable demographic – the ready-to-buy shopper.

comScore found that the number of mobile subscribers accessing business directories on a mobile phone increased 14 percent year-over-year to 17.3 million users in March 2010, extending the reach of Internet Yellow Pages beyond just the personal computer. This increase outpaces the10 percent growth in the number of mobile media users who browsed the mobile web, used applications or downloaded content during the same time period.

Additionally, the number of people accessing business directories on a mobile device at least once per week increased more than 16 percent year-over-year to nearly five million in March 2010.

Much of this growth is due to the rapid growth in smartphone users combined with the adoption of 3G technology, better search offerings, and higher advertiser engagement.

As I point out in a column on Search Engine Land this morning, this high growth illustrates that as more consumers use mobile devices to search and access content, they are continuing to rely on Yellow Pages’ convenient and reliable business listings to help them find local businesses on-the-go.

It’s also great news for advertisers. In addition to the benefits of advertising with IYPs to attract those searching for business information on their personal computers, local businesses are receiving added value in online listings being accessible to a growing number of mobile users.

Other interesting mobile-related data points from the study include:

  • The mobile browser was the most common access method for users, with 10.8 million subscribers in March 2010 and 21 percent year-over-year growth.
  • Apps are hot, with 42 percent year-over-year growth in the number of mobile subscribers using apps to access business directories.
  • Mobile unlocks a desirable user for the advertise: 58% are 34 or younger; over half have a household income in excess of $75,000; and they are three and half times more likely as the average mobile media user to access women’s magazine content, health information, real estate listings, and job listings via their mobile devices.

IYP Local Search on Personal Computers

comScore also found that local searches on personal computers saw year-over-year growth.  Searches on IYPs and portal sites increased 4 percent to 444 million in March 2010, or 5.3 billion annually—indicating that more consumers are coming to rely on Yellow Pages when searching from their computer.

Additionally, the report showed that people access IYPs and local online sites in a number of ways:

  • Traffic to IYPs from web search sites increased three points from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010, to 44 percent of visits.
  • Direct traffic also increased over the same time period, up four points to 32 percent.
  • Referrals from affiliate sites (advertisements, e-mail marketing, and other partner sites) decreased six points to 25 percent.

comScore’s data illustrate how in today’s changing media environment, IYPs are attracting growing audiences online and via mobile—giving advertisers new opportunities to reach consumers wherever they are.

This is a testament to our industry’s strong emphasis on building our digital and mobile platforms this past year. Whether its rebranding our companies, creating new iPhone, iPad, and Google Android apps, or launching new IYP concepts like buzz.com, Yellow Pages companies are building on decades of experience to deliver the highest-quality directories for advertisers and consumers to connect.

Digital Coupon Use Grows 100% Year-over-Year

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We’ve noted several times in recent months how important digital coupons are becoming to the local shopping experience. This year alone, increased consumer usage has helped drive new digital coupon services from Yellow Pages companies such as DexOne and SuperMedia, which are eager to help local businesses generate additional leads through this increasingly popular marketing tool.

Now, new research released this week by Coupons.com shows that digital coupon revenues at the company grew an astounding 100% during the 12-month period ending June 30. According to the company, more than $1 billion in digital coupon saving was printed or loaded to a store loyalty card via its website and online network during that period, outpacing the growth of coupons distributed in newspapers 10 to 1.

Coupon.com said that 46.4 million American consumers—or 20.8% of the U.S. population—are now using online coupons, up from 40.2 million in 2008. The company also noted that of the 46.4 million consumers now using online coupons, 12.9 million do not read any part of the Sunday newspaper, an 18 percent increase over 10.9 million in 2008.

Other interesting stats from the release include:

  • Searches on Google for “Printable Coupons” increased 67% year-over year.
  • Access to exclusive deals or offers like digital coupons were the number one reason consumers followed a brand on Twitter or Liked a brand on Facebook, according to a report by Razorfish.
  • Consumers who print digital coupons have an estimated average household income of $96,000, a 14 percent higher income level than the U.S average. Adults with household income of over $100,000 are twice as likely to have redeemed coupons printed from an online source than adults with household income less than $35,000.
  • 33.4% of those who print digital coupons have a college degree (up from 30.4% in 2008), compared to 28.9% of those who use newspaper coupons and 26.1% of the general populace. Also, adults with college degrees are almost twice as likely to have used coupons in the past six months as those who didn’t graduate from high school.

Given the fast growth of this online product, I’m excited about Yellow Pages’ existing presence in the space and look forward to seeing how our members’ offerings generate additional leads for local businesses.

For more information, including the popularity of digital coupons by product category, read the Coupons.com press release.

Amazon: E-Books Now Top Hardcover Sales

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We’ve blogged recently about increased consumer usage of mobile devices such as Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android phones, and how Yellow Pages companies need to continue to create innovative mobile offerings in order to capture additional leads for their local business customers.

And now this week, Amazon, the popular online retailer, is making headlines for passing its own digital milestone—one that further emphasizes the need for our industry to embrace rapid consumer adoption of mobile offerings.

According to Amazon, during the last quarter, electronic books for its Kindle e-reader outnumbered sales for its hardcover books for the first time ever. In fact, Amazon said it sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books during the past three months—and that that rate increased over the last four weeks to 180 electronic books for every 100 hardcover copies.

While the company did not disclose how paperback sales compare with e-book sales—paperback sales are likely still higher than e-book sales—it did note that it took just 33 months since the Kindle’s introduction for its sales to surpass hardcover sales, despite the fact the company has sold hardcover books for 15 years.

I doubt that Amazon will be pulling hardcover books off the site anytime soon, but clearly digital has momentum.  Likewise, we still find our print directories to be a trusted and referenced tool for ready to buy consumers – and they will continue to be.  But I’m proud of our industry’s efforts so far this year in developing new offerings in the digital and mobile space, including adding new local social search sites and social networking channels, partnering with major search engines and local directories, launching SEO/SEM program and mobile apps, and so on. I think today’s news is additional indication that we’re moving in the right direction in quickly adapting our business strategies to take advantage of opportunities in the mobile space.

Yellow Pages Group Acquires CanadianDriver.com

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Trader Group, a subsidiary of Canada’s Yellow Pages Group, expanded its portfolio of vertical websites this week with the acquisition of CanadianDriver.com, a popular online automotive magazine.

YPG’s purchase of the 11-year old website—which features more than 11,000 automotive articles including new car reviews, test drives and automotive news as well as other topics—is the latest example of a Yellow Pages company branching out to provide local businesses with new digital advertising opportunities to supplement their existing online directory marketing. Similar to other sites of its kind, CanadianDriver.com will help drive traffic to Trader Group’s existing automotive verticals, including AutoTrader.ca.

Focused on repositioning itself in the “new digital universe,” YPG has acquired several vertical websites since the beginning of the year, including Restaurantica.com, RedFlagDeals.com, Scarlett Lounge, and PriceCanada.com. This particular acquisition in the automotive category mirrors SuperMedia’s purchase of EveryCarListed.com, a side dedicated to car sales.

We’re excited to see YPG continue to add digital offerings that will provide value for both their advertisers and consumers alike.

As the Heat Spikes, So Does Yellow Pages Usage

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It’s another brutally hot July, with record-breaking temperatures sweeping the country. And once again, consumers are turning to Yellow Pages for air-conditioning solutions so they can get some relief from the heat.

When it comes to a major buy like an air conditioning system, consumers rely on Yellow Pages to provide the trusted local business information they need to get started on their purchase. In fact, over the course of the year, more than 32 million references will be made to air conditioning contractors and systems in Yellow Pages directories—with the highest number of references occurring in July— according to the Local Media Tracking Study commissioned by YPA and conducted by Burke.

A review of the data also show that:

  • An air conditioning heading user spends $1,497 on average, significantly higher than the all-headings average of $440.
  • The average user seeking to purchase an A/C system looks at approximately 5.4 ads, higher than the all-heading average of  4.9 ads.
  • Because air conditioning equipment is an infrequent purchase, most consumers are in a search mode when shopping.  Fifty-six percent of Yellow Pages users either have no name or multiple names in mind when looking at the heading, providing an opportunity for advertisers to influence consumers’ decisions about where to purchase. Moreover, 70% of shoppers end up doing business with an establishment that they have never used before.

  • Data also show that hot weather is a larger driver than cool weather to Yellow Pages directories.

As this data indicates, consumers who reference air-conditioning contractors and systems through a Yellow Pages directory are likely to consider a larger number of businesses before making their purchase—and willing to spend a lot, too. That means that those local businesses who invest in advertising in this category have a higher likelihood of attracting the high-quality local leads they seek the most.

For more information, read our press release about air conditioning references.

Google’s Android Jumps in Share; Smartphones Stay Hot

Friday, July 9, 2010

Over the past months, we’ve seen Yellow Pages companies launch apps for mobile devices for iPhone, Android and other wireless platforms that help local searchers find business information on the go.

It seems like much of the attention has been focused around the apps developed for iPhone and iPad.  But the buzz about Android continues to grow, suggesting that we can’t forget about other mobile operating systems.

Consider this new data from comScore I saw at fortune.com:  Android had some significant gains in market share between February and May of this year, moving from 9% to 13% of smartphone subscribers.  That’s the biggest jump of any platform – in fact, all the other mobile platforms (RIM, Apple, Microsoft, and Palm) lost some share during that some time period.

And according to the comScore numbers, mobile is hot all around.  By the end of May, 49.1 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones – that’s up 8.1% from the previous period.  Despite losing share to Google Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers as the smartphone market overall continues to grow.

This growth presents plenty of opportunity to local search companies.  As we know, new features and hardware are constantly emerging that drive people to download the next great OS or purchase a new device.  We have to keep up with these trends, understand how consumers use mobile so that we continue to be the most trusted, most accurate, and most convenient source to find a local business when you need it.

BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 Conference Just Around the Corner

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

As we mentioned last month, the Yellow Pages Association is once again partnering with BIA/Kelsey to present one of the most important industry conferences of the year, Directional Media Strategies (DMS) ’10.

Scheduled for Sept. 14-16 at the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas, the conference will focus on the Yellow Pages industry’s best strategies for pursuing new opportunities in today’s rapidly changing media environment.

While speakers are still being selected, the general agenda is posted and includes a variety of interesting sessions:

  • The iPad — A Game Changer for Yellow Pages? The iPhone has been a huge catalyst for innovation in mobile Yellow Pages. Will the iPad, with its much larger screen, prove to be an even more significant new form factor for digital directories?
  • Mobile Yellow Pages Leaves the Laboratory. Mobile Yellow Pages has moved well past the science project stage, beyond the traffic supplement stage and is now well into the monetization stage. More and more publishers are generating a discrete, fast growing revenue stream. We will hear from directory executives at the leading edge of mobile Yellow Pages monetization.
  • Social Media + Yellow Pages = A New Lease on Life? Directory publishers worldwide have been investing resources in building social platforms in the hope of creating rich content in the form of consumer reviews, plus engagement with a new set of users otherwise disengaged from Yellow Pages brands. How are these efforts faring?
  • Verticals Showcase: Maids, Shades and Auto Repair. Vertical search has been gradually migrating from its original core of travel, jobs and homes to more explicitly local categories — home and personal services, retail, professional services and so on. In this special showcase, we’ll get a taste of how some of the more compelling local verticals out there generate content, attract users, form partnerships and, of course, make money.

As you can see, DMS ’10 will feature discussions on many of the major topics facing our industry and its individual companies—hosted by one of the most respected analysts in the field. It’s definitely not to be missed.

For more information, including registration and speaker submissions, visit the DMS ’10 website here. We’ll share additional information right here on the blog as soon as it becomes available.