The ladies of the YPA really look forward to the women’s networking reception each year at the annual conference, and this year’s gathering did not disappoint. Not only did the guests have a great occasion to network and hear updates from the women helping the industry to transform – but they were also treated to a fun and unexpected history lesson from Kimberli Lewis of Mediatel on the evolution of women’s purchasing power from the 18260 to present.
According to Lewis, women went from having no voice in their family’s day-to-day purchases the late 1800s to more voice in the 1920s during World War to becoming chief decision officers today – accounting for 85% of purchases.
“In Europe, our data shows us that three out of four women make the purchase in most households and 75% of those purchase are being made online,” she added.
Lewis argued that understanding the female approach to purchasing is a key to innovation.
“IYPs that integrate social media and brand-specific search functionality are essential,” she said. “They tap into two key insights: First, that 75% of online shoppers seek suggestions when making a purchase and second, that the average family mentions brands 90 times per week. This is the way consumers are operating and we need to adapt to that.”
Take notice, ladies: To better tap into the female purchasing cycle, Lewis suggested that more should be done to increase female executive leadership in the industry.
“If you want to know whether we are transforming, you have to ask who is leading the innovations in IYP platforms. Women make 85% of purchasing decisions – but represent only 18.2% of the CEOs in the industry globally.” An eye-opening number.
Special thanks are also owed to Lisa Mahoney of Century Interactive who led the annual raffle. A key prize among this year’s give-aways was a new iPad tablet… perfect to stay on top of the latest mobile innovations.
YPA ELITE IYP®, a new proprietary industry system created with MediaTraks that allows publishers and Certified Marketing Representatives (CMRs) to facilitate national orders, graphics and artwork transmittal transactions for Internet Yellow Pages and other digital products. YPA ELITE IYP® is the Internet Yellow Pages extension of YPA ELITE®, the sole processing system for national print Yellow Pages orders, which currently executes close to 4 million transactions each year.
Share of Voice®, an interface that will enable publishers and CMRs to conduct detailed directory analyses for client and marketing purposes faster and more cost effectively. This new system will assist local and national sales channels in efficiently assessing the competitiveness of their clients and providing a high quality media planning tool to help defend and grow Yellow Pages revenue. YPA is uniquely positioned to provide this tool due to its Directories Online system, which encompasses more than 7,000 Yellow Pages directories.
As the Yellow Pages industry continues to transform, YPA is doing its part to help facilitate continued growth by creating new, innovative systems that will deliver quality advertising opportunities and results for our national clients. We believe publishers and CMRs across the country will benefit from using these best-in-class services.
In addition to capturing the greatest reach across media platforms for consumers searching for local businesses, results of the study—which cites data from Burke and comScore—indicated that print and Internet Yellow Pages generated approximately 16.9 billion combined references during the year. The study also found that Yellow Pages maintained high levels of consumer trust in its listings.
While reach and trust are both important indicators for evaluating Yellow Pages’ continued success as a visibility platform for local businesses in their communities, an additional key factor to consider has to do with what kinds of consumers Yellow Pages attract. Are these consumers who are interested in locating local businesses to make a purchase—and do they actually end up making purchases? Do they already know which businesses they’re looking for when they consult Yellow Pages, or are they using directories to find new businesses?
Today, we have new data from the study which show that the vast majority of consumers who consult print and Internet Yellow Pages sites for local business information are “ready to buy” after their search:
8 out of 10 Internet Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 36% reporting they had made a purchase after finding a local business at an Internet Yellow Pages site, and an additional 44% saying they intended to make a purchase.
Approximately 8 out of 10 print Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 39% reporting they had made a purchase after finding local business in a print Yellow Pages directory, and an additional 39% saying they intended to make a purchase.
Additionally, new data show that Yellow Pages platforms continue to attract new customers for local businesses:
40% of those who made a purchase said they found and made that purchase from a new company after reviewing local information on an Internet Yellow Pages site.
35% of those who made a purchase said they found and made a purchase from a new company after reviewing local information in a print Yellow Pages directory.
Of searches made by people who used Internet Yellow Pages, 37% said they had no company name in mind when they started their search.
Of references made by people who used print Yellow Pages, 34% said they had no company name in mind when they started their search.
For years, local businesses have relied on Yellow Pages to help them generate qualified new leads from consumers who are ready to buy products or services. These new data show that Yellow Pages’ print and online platforms continue to deliver on that promise. By implementing Yellow Pages’ hybrid approach, local businesses benefit from its unparalleled reach, trust, and ability to attract new customers who are willing to make purchases.
Our study found that print Yellow Pages is the top individual source for Spanish-speaking consumers, when asked which media sources they used to search for local business information within the past year or past month. The results also showed that Spanish-speaking consumers said that print and Internet Yellow Pages were the source they last used, most used, and most preferred to search for local businesses.
Additionally, the report found that Spanish-speaking consumers are:
More likely than their English-speaking counterparts to indicate traditional media sources (newspapers, magazines, flyer/coupons) as the sources they last used, use most often, and prefer to use when searching for local businesses.
Significantly more likely to have no company in mind when searching for local business information.
More likely than their English-speaking counterparts (one-half vs. one-third, respectively) to indicate that when they made a purchase through Yellow Pages, they did so with a new company .
Twice as likely than their English-speaking consumers to view ads while using print Yellow Pages.
Back in January, I wrote a column for Search Engine Land which noted that marketers should always remember that media trends vary among different demographics. The data from our study shows that the growing Hispanic market in the U.S. lends itself to the print Yellow Pages product and that publishers who are not tapping into this market are missing a significant opportunity to attract new customers.
We all know that younger people are more likely to use search engines to find local businesses than their older counterparts. Here are the monthly reach numbers comparing use of search engines and print and Internet Yellow Pages:
That is significantly lower than search engines for these age cohorts, but considerably higher than what many might expect. The 35-54 age cohort is pretty much neck in neck—70% vs. 68% in the past month, and the print and Internet Yellow Pages combo is significantly higher for those aged 55 and above.
One other metric to keep in mind is disposable income. The Yellow Pages industry has positioned itself as the best source for generating qualified leads. By definition, a qualified lead is one where people are ready to make a purchase – in other words, they have the need and the resources to complete the sale.
Here is another chart from CNNMoney.com that takes a look at the median net worth of individuals by age group:
As you can see, the people in the print and Internet Yellow Pages “sweet spot” may not be the youngest consumers, but they have lots of disposable income. In other words—they’re the demographics that many local advertisers want to reach most.
Of course, we need to think about the industry’s long-term viability as today’s users age and gain more disposable income – and that’s why Yellow Pages companies are repositioning into a multi-platform approach for long-term viability.
The marketplace is full of misleading commentary about whether print Yellow Pages is dead, without regard for the research that shows healthy usage, especially among certain age groups and in certain geographies.
In order to make an informed decision, however, local businesses need to be up-to-speed with current usage patterns as they relate to both traditional and new digital advertising options. They also should be aware of how Yellow Pages companies are integrating new platforms into their portfolios in order to deliver a hybrid model that maximizes consumer reach and drives business results.
Nearly two years ago, we began the process of reshaping how we collect Yellow Pages usage data. We wanted to create an index that measured Yellow Pages usage better than anything we had before, and to have the ability to compare that data with other sources of local information.
Today, I’m glad to say that hard work has paid off with the release of our first annual Local Media Tracking Study. Because this survey included 80% online interviews and 20% telephone interviews, I’m confident this reflects the population better than our previous survey, which was only conducted by telephone and focused solely on Yellow Pages usage.
Conducted by Burke, the study found that the Yellow Pages industry continues to have significant reach in local search, and that consumer trust in Yellow Pages remains strong. It also found that our reach and frequency grew between the first and second half of 2009, following the general economic trends we saw on a macro level.
Yellow Pages Products Capture Greatest Reach
In the survey, consumers were asked what sources they used in the last month to look up information to find a local business, or to look for a product or service in their local area.
In answer to that question, 65% said they used print and/or Internet Yellow Pages – more than any of the other sources. When analyzed individually, print Yellow Pages was 54% and Internet Yellow Pages was 33%.
Search engines scored 58%, followed by flyers/coupons, newspapers, and magazines. Because Yellow Pages companies have formed partnerships with search engines, it’s fair to say the Yellow Pages reach is quite high across a number of platforms.
Yellow Pages Continue to Maintain Consumer Trust
Trust has always been a big talking point for the Yellow Pages industry, and the data show why.
More than two-thirds of consumers (67%) said that print or Internet Yellow Pages are the source they trust most for finding local business information, compared to 33% for search engines.
When polled on accuracy of local business information, print and Internet Yellow Pages scored highest with 68%, compared to search engines with 32%.
Print and Internet Yellow Pages Generate 16.9 Billion References
In total, consumers referenced print and Internet Yellow Pages 16.9 billion times in 2009.
Separate research from comScore found that Internet Yellow Pages continued to chart growth, increasing from 4.6 billion searches in 2008 to 4.9 billion in 2009. Burke found that print Yellow Pages received 12 billion references in 2009.
The results also indicated growth in the reach (the number of U.S. adults who use Yellow Pages) and frequency (how often Yellow Pages are referenced per adult) in both print and Internet Yellow Pages between the first and second half of 2009:
The percentage who said they used print Yellow Pages within the last month increased 12 percent, from 51.5% in the first quarter to 57.6% in the fourth quarter.
Respondents also turned to print Yellow Pages more frequently as the year progressed. In the first quarter, there was an average of 0.93 references per U.S. adult per week. By the fourth quarter, that had grown 19 percent to 1.11 references per adult per week.
Internet Yellow Pages saw an even sharper 20% growth in reach during the year, from 31.6 percent in the first quarter to 37.9% in the fourth quarter.
The frequency of Internet Yellow Pages usage grew 24% from the first quarter (0.54 references per week per adult) to the fourth quarter (0.67 references per week per adult).
A Reflection on the Data
Overall, I’m pleased to see very solid performance by Yellow Pages. Of course, these results reflect the overall U.S. population, so there are differences between age groups and geographies. Not surprisingly, print Yellow Pages is less popular with the 18-24 crowd than other age categories, while print Yellow Pages reach is stronger with rural consumers than with urban and suburban. Internet Yellow Pages reach ranked highest with consumers under 55, and most popular with suburban users as compared to urban and rural.
I’ll blog more about these data points in the days and weeks ahead, but I believe they demonstrate a critical point: advertiser’s can benefit from the Yellow Pages industry’s new agency model – where depending on your business, target customer, and geographic location – you can work with your Yellow Pages rep to put together a program that will work best and focuses on the right kind of advertising. Whether that’s a display ad in the print directory, a video ad on an Internet Yellow Pages site, or a robust SEO/SEM program or sponsored YP listing in Bing – it’s up to you and your Yellow Pages rep to create a program that generates the sales the business needs to win.
The exciting statistic headlining the BIA/Kelsey study is that nearly all consumers (97%) currently use online media when researching products or services in their local area—a clear indication of the growing importance of our industry’s local search efforts.
Specifically, the study found that nearlyhalf of online consumers (48%) use Internet Yellow Pages before buying. In addition, the study found that 42% of online consumers use shopping comparison sites and 25% use vertical sites in advance of making a purchase.
This data is directly in line with our industry’s approach to the online local search, the details of which we’ve shared on this blog. Over the past few months, Yellow Pages companies have added a variety of new features, services, and outlets to boost their online presence and take advantage of strong consumer interest in existing and up-and-coming local search services.
I’m also encouraged by additional data which shows that consumers are now using an average of 7.9 different media sources when shopping for products and services in their local area, up from 6.5 sources in 2009 and 5.8 sources in 2008. Our industry’s integrated approach ensures that our clients are able to reach the largest audience possible on the growing array of platforms consumers are using.
For our local business advertisers, generating leads is key. Data shows that 85% of Yellow Pages’ shoppers follow-up with a purchase after searching the “florists” heading … and more than 40% of these shoppers will end up purchasing from a florist that they have not used before.
Another interesting factoid about this heading is that a greater number of consumers – about 31% – consult this heading from work either via print or Internet Yellow Pages compared to other headings – about 22%.
If you’re among the 28 million who will purchase flowers this year, take a look at the tips below from our friends at the Society of American Florists to extend the life of your bouquet:
If your roses arrived in plastic water tubes, remove them before arranging.
Remove any leaves that will be under water, taking care not to damage the green bark.
Re-cut stems by removing 1-2 inches with a sharp knife.
Immediately after cutting, place roses in a clean, deep vase of water containing a flower food provided by your local florist.
Check the flower food solution daily and make sure to keep it full, clean, and fresh. Replace the solution if it becomes cloudy.
Even with such TLC, your flowers are likely to last just a few days, but the ROI for “florists” advertisers remains strong year-round. The “florists” heading is the 18th most referenced among more than 4,000 different Yellow Pages headings and generates over $30,000 in annual sales revenue per advertiser.
It’s the last day of a very busy month for Yellow Pages companies. We came out of the gates of 2010 with a number of important stories about the transformation of our industry, from SuperMedia, R.H. Donnelley (soon to be known as Dex One Corp.), and AT&T.
So it’s no surprise that yesterday, The Berry Companyannounced that it was entering into contracts with two Web site development and search engine marketing companies, Yodle, Inc. and Web.com Group Inc. These partnerships will help Berry to further expand beyond its traditional roots in print publishing to become an integrated provider of both print and digital local search services.
Earlier this month, Berry announced a transformative effort to put it in a stronger position to assist small businesses in developing a multi-platform approach to their advertising, including print directories, Internet Yellow Pages, web sites, search engine marketing optimization and video.
I think the comment from Scott Pomeroy, Berry’s president and CEO, in his announcement this week was a great statement that reflects what’s going on in our industry at large. He said, “The launch is the culmination of the strategy and plans we have been working on for the past two years. We are expanding our legacy role as a print yellow pages publisher to become a local search services provider in order to meet our clients’ need for leads from the many sources consumers use today as they search for local businesses. We have spent the last year re-engineering every aspect of our business, which we believe will fundamentally transform how we operate and serve our clients.”
I’m looking forward to seeing all the news of the past month turn into real results for Yellow Pages companies, and for our advertising customers as well.
In his presentation, Jobs noted that the iPad will support the iTunes store, most applications already available in its App Store, as well as a new iBookstore with books from major and independent publishers. The iPad will also feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Internet connectivity and include an option for unlimited wireless data through AT&T.
With all the excitement surrounding the tablet, I’m eager to see what Yellow Pages companies develop to take advantage of this new technology. YP companies are already changing the ways we search for information online and via mobile. I can only imagine the possibilities that tablets will bring by providing YP clients with a greater ability to share dynamic content with their target consumers, wherever they are.
A while back we blogged about AT&T’s plans to offer a next-generation YellowPages.com offering geared at an under-30, social networking-oriented audience. Well, news came this week via Forbes.com that AT&T is now testing its new online platform that will allow users to browse local businesses using recommendations from their social networking connections.
Forbes says that the site – dubbed buzz.com – lets users poll their friends about certain businesses, ask user-appointed experts for their recommendations, and surf listings based on their location. Users will be able to import their existing social graphs from their e-mail accounts or Facebook profiles, instead of needing to replicate their social networks on the site.
Here’s an interesting story from our Yellow Pages friends up north: Yellow Pages Group, a leading Canadian local commercial search provider, announced this week that it has purchased Restaurantica.com, a popular restaurant and dining online community.
The move is the latest in a growing trend among Yellow Pages companies towards developing or acquiring new online and mobile tools as a means of generating new revenues.
Yellow Pages Group, which already runs the YellowPages.ca online search engine, will benefit from the addition of a restaurant-related site that hosts user reviews, which are becoming increasingly popular among users.
According to the company, 80% of dining decisions are significantly influenced by user recommendations and reviews. The site also comes with more than 50,000 restaurant customers, who will in turn become Yellow Pages customers.
Restaurantica currently lists around 400,000 restaurants, bars and cafes, with more than 200,000 user-generated reviews, according to the announcement press release. Additionally, the site, which has its own iPhone app, attracts more than 540,000 visits and 1.7 million page views per month.
New web verticals such as Restuarantica and EveryCarListed.com, a SuperMedia site dedicated to car sales, represent Yellow Pages’ expanding influence in the digital space – and a sign of more to come.
The Yellow Pages publisher is already making headway into the digital space. As we’ve noted, the company currently lists 11.5 million businesses online through its DexKnows.com Web site, supplies content for YellowPages.com, and has deals with search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
Additionally, it is offering online video advertising and reputation management for companies seeking to improve their online customer reviews, Reuters reports.
In a press release, David H. Swanson, chairman and CEO of R.H. Donnelley, said “R.H. Donnelley will become a stronger entity, better positioned to helping local businesses address their marketing needs.”
For more, read the company’s release here and a Reuters article here.
The Yellow Pages Association has released some interesting results from the just completed Intermedia Shopping Study (ISS) conducted by TNS. The purpose of the study is to measure consumers’ use of various media during the purchase decision process.
Print Yellow Pages + Internet Yellow Pages at 26.5% came in second to online services at 30.8% for the media used most by consumers during the purchase decision. More importantly, print Yellow Pages extended the reach of search engines from 29.7% to 43.9%, an increase of almost 50%.
The top used headings for print and internet Yellow Pages are as follows.