Archive for February, 2011

Dex One Remaking Itself

Monday, February 28, 2011

David Rani recently wrote a story in the News & Observer about how YP publisher Dex One is investing $40 million in 2011 towards digital advertising. With the move, Dex hopes to improve its share of revenue from digital advertising by 20%.

Part of this new investment will include new technology that integrates mobile phones with advertisements via the use of QR Codes. There will also be automated systems to share online traffic with advertisers and a new training program for its sales force to keep them up-to-date on the latest technology and products.

This announcement is consistent with recent news from other publishers like Yellow Pages Group in Canada and Yell in the UK – that there is significant opportunity for digital growth within yellow pages companies in 2011.

New Social Local Media Service

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BIA/Kelsey just launched Social Local Media, a new “advisory service dedicated to covering the growing and dynamic social media ecosystem and the best opportunities for driving revenues with social platforms.”

As digital advertising grows, especially in local search and mobile, the service will help BIA/Kelsey clients connect with their audiences and capture new advertising and marketing opportunities. What’s interesting is that the focus is “local-first” so the tool helps clients begin by growing their marketing and advertising channels close to home.

This new advisory service also makes a lot of sense as small and medium-sized business are looking for low cost advertising and marketing solutions – and research shows that social media is a great solution. Sounds like the right tool at the right time!

New Survey Data on Small Business Marketing Practices

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Greg Sterling had an interesting post recently about new survey results from small- and medium-sized business owners and their marketing practices. In general, it seems smaller companies are shifting towards social media rather than traditional advertising buys in an effort to cut costs.

One of the more intriguing results showed that 59% of respondents were not interested in group buying sites like Groupon – and of those who had used them in the past year, 54% said they wouldn’t do it again. While Sterling is quick to point out that there’s not enough data to indicate a trend here, the numbers suggest a potentially negative problem for those sites.

A few other facts from the survey:

  • 65% of respondents consider themselves neutral or not savvy when it comes to online marketing and advertising
  • 87% of respondents reported they spend less than $10K per year on all forms of marketing and advertising — most less than $5K

I think it’s clear that most small businesses can use help developing affordable online marketing and advertising campaigns – much like what Yellow Pages Group and other YP publishers offer.

Yellow Pages Sees Recent Spike in Tax-related References

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tax season is upon us once again, and publishers will see a dramatic increase in searches for tax-related businesses. Yellow Pages research conducted by Burke shows that searches for tax preparers peak this month, while accountants experienced the highest number of searches in January, leading to a combined annual total of 40.5 million print yellow pages searches for tax-related help.

The Burke research also shows that 84% of people who searched print yellow pages for an accountant contacted a business.  This is higher than the all-headings average of 80% contacting a business.

The Yellow Pages are a valuable resource for consumers looking for someone to trust with their finances.  Our data also showed that people searching without a specific name in mind often considered four or five separate tax-related ads before choosing a service.

It’s a stressful time of year, and helping consumers quickly find a tax preparer with the appropriate qualifications and expertise is what we do best.

For more information, read our press release about the tax-related heading.

Social Media by Numbers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Check out this post on the Kelsey Blog about social media traffic comparisons. I found it interesting to see how local search sites – from Internet Yellow Pages to other local sites – compared. 

SuperPages accounts for 56% of all YP company Facebook fans, and about 71% of all Twitter followers. But as a whole, Yellow Pages are still lagging behind online sites like Yelp! and LivingSocial in total numbers. The average Twitter follower count for Yellow Pages companies is only 1,500 – so there is a huge opportunity to grow in this space.

Of course, the entire Yellow Pages industry has been putting significant resources behind integrated advertising solutions, so we’ll probably continue to see movement into the social circles. In fact, SuperPages has added over 9,000 new fans on Facebook in the last three months alone. Talk about friends!  We’ll have to check these numbers again in a few months.

Introducing the Yellow Pages 360º Solution

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canada’s Yellow Pages Group has launched a new multi-channel marketing offering for businesses called the Yellow Pages 360º Solution. As part of its transition to an online company, these new services are designed to help Canadian businesses design and manage online marketing campaigns and websites.

YPG now offers more services to its customers than ever – from online, mobile and print advertising to search engine optimization and website creation. The services address a huge need for small- and medium-sized businesses as research shows many of them don’t have the time or resources to build and maintain websites.

Stéphane Marceau, Chief Marketing Officer at Yellow Pages Group, says the new tools will help small- and medium-sized businesses “harness the new communications and digital channels available to them.” The company has 1,200 media consultants to help create online advertising programs for some 240,000 businesses.

YPG is a great example of a company staying ahead of market trends and I think offering these services will ensure it stays Canada’s No. 1 Internet company for years to come.

Yell Restructuring to Focus Online

Friday, February 18, 2011

Here’s another story about a Yellow Pages company focusing more of its efforts online in 2011. This time in the UK, a recent story in the Guardian points to news from Yell’s new CEO, Michael Pocock. He said the company is restructuring its global operations to better support online local search.

He explained, “There is a lot of opportunity for us to keep the position we have enjoyed for years in print. We have to become relevant in digital media. We are moving, we just have to have a more robust, well thought through strategic plan.”

The company is looking online for future growth – like we’ve seen here in the U.S. and Canada. And like we’ve recently heard from ATTi CEO David Krantz, Yell already has an extensive sales network and trusted Yellow Pages brand – so a strong digital (and mobile) platform is its next priority. Pocock stated, “Look at Groupon, Google, Yahoo … none of them have outside sales forces.” The relationships our sales forces have with advertisers are the key differentiators that Yellow Pages has over its competitors.

Pocock said he expects to make the restructuring official this June. I’ll be sure to post any more news we see about Yell’s restructuring as it shifts to a more digitally focused company.

Local Searches and New Algorithms

Friday, February 18, 2011

I just came across this post about the importance of integrating local search advertising into any business’ search engine optimization efforts. The author points out that search rankings are becoming more geographically focused and many companies might get left behind if they’re not using the correct keywords on local search engines like Yellow Pages.

The post also points out that by adding geographical data and local search indexes into search algorithms, small businesses are better able to compete online with larger companies. This means that large, global organizations won’t always be at the top of search results if they don’t have a direct impact on the geographical location that a user is searching from. This is very interesting because it’s beginning to matter where you are when you search Google – as local results in one part of the country could be very different than another.

I think this is further proof that local search is a huge trend this year, especially on mobile phones – and the two go hand in hand. And I’ll be sure to share any further insight into how search algorithms are changing in 2011. We welcome your comments.

For a deeper dive into the search arena, plan to attend our 2011 Conference – “Search Starts Here”, April 16-19 at Caesars Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Our agenda is packed with speakers who will be addressing search from a variety of perspectives, it’s the place to be!

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Check out this fascinating story about search optimization that was recently published in the New York Times. Journalist David Segal sheds some light on Google’s search algorithms and how some companies are being accused of using “black hat” optimization to improve organic search results.

For example, the New York Times found that JC Penny continually came up at the top of many different shopping searches – from luggage to tablecloths. Working with a data expert, they found thousands of external websites that offered no additional content aside from a link back to jcpenny.com.

Since part of Google’s organic search algorithm measures how many websites are linked to a given site, the tactic had put JC Penny on top of search results across a variety of shopping categories. When presented with this information, Google took action. Because these “black hat” websites were strictly used to improve SEO, JC Penny was found to be in violation of Google’s policies.

As such, JC Penny has seen a steep decline in its organic search rankings as Google filtered out the “black hat” sites. The company denies that it was involved with the websites and is taking steps to have them removed. It also fired its search marketing company.

Segal also profiles other incidents and explains how Google’s addressed previous issues by adjusting its algorithms – something the company is constantly doing. It’s an interesting read and I’m curious to see what kind of impact it has on search marketing and Google’s algorithms in the coming weeks and months.

Local-online Advertising is the “Holy Grail” for Advertisers

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Check out this story by Jefferson Graham in USA Today that highlights current trends in the online local-search market through a profile of the Yellow Pages. ATTi CEO David Krantz provides some key insights into how the Yellow Pages is positioning itself to gain share of the local search market.

With an extensive sales network, the Yellow Pages brand, and strong mobile platform, Krantz believes YP.com is poised for a big 2011. Research indicates that local-online advertising in 2011 will grow to $16.1 billion this year, up from $13.7 billion in 2010. And with ATTi’s strong finish to 2010, YP.com is expected to do $1 billion in advertising this year. This is great news for the industry and another indication that current search trends are leaning towards mobile and local options.

Krantz also shares how the YP.com motto, “Click less. Live more,” is a key differentiator from competitors that focus on user reviews and not quick access to information. Combined with its print editions and a revised YP mobile app that’s seen 40 million downloads, Krantz says that YP has developed the largest ad network out there.

The story also includes video feature called “Yellow Pages goes Digital.” Through an interview with Krantz and a local accountant, it shows the process of bringing the Yellow Pages to life online. We see the current features of yp.com and learn how the website was designed to keep the same look and feel of the original Yellow Pages. It’s definitely worth watching.