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comScore Presents on Internet Yellow Pages

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.

3 Responses to “comScore Presents on Internet Yellow Pages”

  1. dave ingram says:

    Before starting http://www.brownbook.net I was Head of E-commerce at Scoot, we had exactly the same dillemma: is more page views good or bad, while everyone else was trying to get more page views per visit we were trying to get less, on teh basis that we were getting consumers to results faster. Now at http://www.brownbook.net we have the same questions, local review sites by their nature are getting on average 7-8 page views per visit, whereas we are at around 2.5. Are we happy about this? You bet we are. It all depends upon your engagement strategy and what you are trying to achieve.
    Cheers, Dave.

  2. Ed Kohler says:

    On the engagement stats, that is an interesting dilemma. A good way to approach that is to figure out how to measure a successful interaction on the site. Is there an action that’s measurable, such as clicking to visit an advertiser’s site, that could be measured? If so, measuring conversion rates rather than inferring quality of experiences based on frustration vs fulfillment guesses could provide the data you need to make data-justified changes to interfaces.

  3. Rich H. says:

    Ed hit the nail on the head: it’s about “actions” and conversions, not clicks or page views.

    Let’s also remember one thing: IYP attracts consumers who are farther along in the buying cycle – they are better qualified and more likely to “buy”.

    Can PRINT yp also drive these local buyers? More on this topic here:
    http://localsearchsource.com/2009/07/18/yellow-pages-driving-online-leads/

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