Last week, Elizabeth Emmart at comScore conducted a webinar on the state of internet Yellow Pages (IYP) and local search.
There were two graphs in the presentation that particularly piqued my interest: the percent increase in web searchers and the number of result pages viewed.
Although the absolute number of General Web Searchers (167 million) and Local Web Searchers (160 million) was larger than the number of IYP/Local Web Searchers (88 million) in December 2008, the actual percent increase year over year for IYP searchers was 21%. This exceeded both the increase for general web searchers (16%) and local web searchers (20%).
This is a strong indication that IYPs are not just holding their own in the local search space, but actually growing their user base at a faster rate than its more-hyped competitors.
The second graph that I found interesting showed total result pages for the various types of search engines. comScore referred to this as a measure of “engagement.”
For the period December 2007 to December 2008, General Search increased 52%, local portal search increased 60% and IYP increased 30%. So on the face of it, IYP looks to be far behind the other search alternatives. However, the question is whether this is a measure of “engagement” or really a measure of “frustration”?
Is it better to have a bigger number or a smaller number? A bigger number means that people are spending more time on the site because they are looking at more pages, but does this mean they are truly engaged or they simply cannot find what they are looking for and therefore continue to look at more pages.
One can make the case that that people going to an IYP site are motivated buyers and already know what they are looking for. Therefore, they don’t look at as many pages because they are able to make their decision more quickly. So, in this instance, a lower number of page views are preferable.
We’ll continue to watch Internet Yellow Pages data closely, as represents such a fast-growing segment of our business.