Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Pages’

LSA|14: Going Full Digital: Transforming a Traditional YP

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nir Lembert, CEO of Zap Group, shared his experience in transforming a traditional Yellow Pages company into a fully digital publisher. 

In 2005, the company was Israel’s leading Yellow Pages publisher and print comprised of 85% of its revenue.  The transformation was started by launching sites through specific verticals including lawyers, doctors, and tourism.  But it was largely offering the same information that was available in print, online and the Lembert felt like this was not sufficient to make the transformation to digital.  The company needed to offer something else to be and stay relevant.

Information was not the problem – there’s plenty of information available on sites like Google.  But how do you help your consumers choose what is relevant for them?  Lembert and his team came up with a new vision:

  1. Empower consumers and enabling them to make smart purchase related decisions
  2. Become the main lead generation junction for their consumers.

The company took all the verticals and Yellow pages and merged them under one company umbrella sharing common services for efficiency, but dividing the business divisions into Experts (professionals); Retail and Products; Lifestyle (restaurants, entertainment); and Service Providers (the core of YP).

Each vertical had its own team with expertise in those divisions.  The company also rebranded at that time to become Zap.

Zap built its success on products would help consumers choose or decide or evaluate products and services that they are interested in purchasing as opposed to just providing a listing.  The information Zap provides to consumers to help those decisions include pricing information, reviews, and comparable products.  Zap also provides filters to narrow search results that give the consumer a customized search result based on their wants or needs that can bring a search result of thousands to a small handful of much more targeted results.  Reviews, consumer guides and other supporting information also help with the decision.

Zap launched its online targeted shopping sites in March 2012 with mobile sites released a year later.  The result has been astounding growth over the last two years to the tune of 80% growth in unique users, monthly visits and calls from paying customers.

In 2013 they made the decision to close their print product entirely based on that growth.  So, today they are a 100% digital company.

The decision to close print was not without controversy.  But it is successful.  In 2005 the company’s top line revenue was $210 million.  While there was some drop in revenue during the transition, last year, Zap’s revenue was $190 million and in a couple years they will be back above the 2005 revenue.

For many companies, print is still 50% or more.  Lembert says U.S. publishers, with print products that are still performing, have time and money to invest in the new world.  Zap did not have that luxury and thus went 100% digital.

So what’s next for Zap?  Zap wants to remain in the traditional arena of developing a relationship between the consumer and SMB.  But now they want to be part of the transaction itself.

Some of its new launches that are either live or will soon be launch include the following:

  • Products:  Include prices in product search and become the Israeli Amazon/eBay
  • Services: Launch a mobile payment app
  • Lifestyle and Professionals:  Provide online delivery/reservation/booking systems

One of the biggest changes is that Zap will move to a pay per acquisition or percentage of transaction business model across the board.

Zap is also looking to expand its role as a trusted partner for SMB’s in offering all media services including social media and Web (SEO/SEM), and ecommerce, not just in Israel, but globally.

Zap is knows mistakes it has made and things they’ve learned through this process are relevant for others looking to make a transformation and they would be happy to share their experiences and capabilities with others.

20-Somethings to Reveal How They Use Social, Mobile in Everday Life at SoMoConf

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, returns to blog on the Local Search Insider.  He is ranked in the top 2% among Gerson Lehrman Group’s 150,000 consultants worldwide and is quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Ad Age, Forbes and other publications. He has appeared on CNN and other TV and radio programs discussing trends and forecasts for local media.

There’s one session I’m REALLY looking forward to at the Social + Mobile Conference later this month.  I’ve prepped quite a few of the speakers, including big names from Google, Facebook, Wildfire, comScore, and elsewhere.

But what I really want to hear is what young adults think. I have two 20-something daughters.  Neither touches a phone book, newspaper, radio dial or TV remote control.  For my 30-year-old daughter, her entire media life is on her Macbook Air.  For my 24-year-old, it’s a smartphone.

Do they really care about us? Are social “sites” important to them, or do they just rely on information that comes to them (via email or text) from those sites? Do smartphones, and tablets influence their buying decisions? What are their favorite apps, and (brace yourself) do they ever watch live TV, read a newspaper, listen to FM radio, or crack open a yellow pages book?

“I think a lot of things are being consumed outside of the digital media space by young adults,” said Terry Kukle, Metroland Media Group’s vice president of business development.   “They’re certainly digitally savvy, but I also think they might be more multimedia than we think.”

Kukle will moderate the panel entitled, “What Those 20-Somethings Can Tell Us.” Check out the agenda here.  A group of young adults will join him on stage to set the record straight.

I recall watching a media guru from The New York Times Co. tackling the same topic a few years ago at another conference.  He showed videos of young people discussing how they use media.  It was shocking and scary to think that these would be the people running companies or making household buying decisions within the next two decades.  One by one, they described how everything they needed – everything – was right there in some form of digital media.  The session ended with one young lady on a sofa, patting her laptop, saying, “This is my best friend.  My whole life is in here.  Everything.  If it got stolen or just disappeared, gosh, I think I’d die.”

Will they change their habits when they settle down?  Will they mimic their parents’ media consumption habits?   The children of the 1960s – the “television generation” – didn’t.  They didn’t subscribe to newspapers at the same rate as their parents when they reached their 30s, 40s and 50s in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.  That’s one reason newspaper circulation – and advertising fell so precipitously over the past decade.  The “valuable” audience – those with higher disposable incomes – weren’t subscribers as much as they were in the past.

I suspect that what these youngsters have to say will hold some important clues to the future – and may unlock some big opportunities in social media, which seems to enamor them so much.

Hope to see you there!  For more info on the conference, click here.

Local Businesses Benefit from Including Yellow Pages in Local Strategy

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

As I indicated in my previous post, today we are releasing the 2012 results from our annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” conducted by Burke, Inc., which provides key insights into the reach of various local media sources. In this second of two blog posts – my first post discussed results related to local mobile usage and overall local media trends – I highlight the study’s results on Yellow Pages usage.

The study found that a majority of U.S. adults rely on Yellow Pages offerings to find nearby products and services, generating a strong volume of quality leads for local businesses and extending the reach of both online and offline local advertising. Additionally, in every category of local media measured, adding Yellow Pages advertising resulted in material gains to reaching local consumers.

(Click here to view and/or download PDF version of infographic.)

I believe these results speak loud and clear that Yellow Pages should remain an integral component of local businesses’ online and offline media strategy. Here’s why:

  • While the number of advertising channels has grown, print and Internet Yellow Pages are among the top media sources reaching consumers searching for local businesses. Both the combined reach and number of references for print and Internet Yellow Pages offerings demonstrate the combined offering remains one of the most visible in the local space.
  • Yellow Pages deliver quality leads – consumers who are ready to contact a business and make a purchase, often within the same days as their search. Approximately 75% of Yellow Pages searches resulted in a purchase or intent to purchase. The Burke study results have been consistently strong in this area over the past three years.
  • Print and Internet Yellow Pages are unique in that they boost both the visibility of offline and online local advertising, reaching consumers that other local media do not. So while it’s important for local businesses to reach consumers searching new media, it’s equally important for them to secure visibility in traditional spaces where consumers are searching and they otherwise would miss.

As Local Search Goes Mobile, Search Engines, Yellow Pages, and Store Circulars/Email Promotions/Coupons Top Local Media Reach

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today, we are releasing results from our annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” which provides key insights into the reach of various local media sources. In this first of two blog posts, I discuss results related to local mobile usage and overall local media trends; in the second post, I do a deep dive into results on Yellow Pages usage.

Our study, which was conducted by Burke, Inc. throughout 2012, showed that while U.S. adults increasingly turned to online sources for local business information, the most significant growth was in use of mobile phones/smartphones and netbooks/tablets for local search. The research reinforced the results from our “Local Mobile Search Report,” which illustrated a continuing shift to mobile usage among consumers in the local space, at the expense of stationary computers and laptops.

Results show consumers are best reached through an integrated advertising approach that leverages both online and offline media. The study found that as the number of local online media increases (Ratings & Reviews and Daily Deals were added to the survey in 2012), both online and offline media continue to attract sizable consumer audiences.

(Click here to view and/or download PDF version of infographic.)

Here are my key takeaways from the above results:

  • Consumers are going mobile and businesses need to follow. In order to keep up with consumers’ increasing use and affinity for mobile devices when searching for and purchasing products and services, it’s important for local businesses to ensure their online efforts support key mobile devices and introduce smartphone- and tablet-friendly websites in order to remain competitive and attract new customers.
  • For those on a budget, businesses should focus on making their websites mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive before considering mobile applications.  However, mobile applications certainly have strategic advantages and may be better suited in some circumstances, such as if the website is repeatedly and/or heavily used as part of a service being provided.
  • Local businesses should strive for an integrated, wide-ranging presence across online and offline media in order to reach their target consumers wherever they search, keeping in mind that offline media continue to generate high results when compared to new online media. As an example, see my next post on the study’s Yellow Pages result.

Dex Media, hibu & LSA in Washington State

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sarah Wilson from Dex Media, Matt Krug from hibu and I are spending the entire day exhibiting at the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) conference in the Tri-Cities, more formally known as the neighboring cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland in Washington state.

More than 350 local officials have come to the Three Rivers Convention Center for workshops, roundtables, and AWC’s annual meeting.  We have our booth in the exhibit hall to promote our industry’s consumer choice and sustainability initiatives.

The mayors, city councilmembers, and city staff here are highly engaged and have asked very thoughtful questions about our site and industry.  Many have asked about how our industry can be a true partner to cities and communities and have taken information with the intent of promoting our opt-out site through city communication channels.  We’ve also been pleased by the number of elected officials who have expressed that they still rely on printed directories yet also like the idea of choosing which one they get.

AWC is proud to represent 281 cities in the Evergreen State, and we are very happy to have had this opportunity to meet officials from so many of them.

(L-R) LSA’s Wesley Young, Dex Media’s Sarah Wilson and hibu’s Matt Krug.

Dex Media, hibu & LSA at the League of Minnesota Cities Conference

Friday, June 21, 2013

LMC Logo

We had a fantastic day yesterday in St. Paul at the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) conference. Heather Mungle from Dex Media, Matt Krug from hibu and I were able to talk about consumer choice and sustainability to hundreds of city officials who converged on the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, LMC held workshops, an annual meeting and a dedicated time when local Minnesota officials would be in the marketplace venue to mingle among exhibitors at booths including ours.

Many officials became interested in posting our opt-out ‘widget’ on their municipal websites, and quite a few remembered receiving an introductory e-mail from us prior to the conference. One memorable conversation was with a councilmember from Bemidji, MN – which bills itself as the “First City on the Mississippi” – who noted that a directory publisher is based in his city.

While in the area, I also met with Paul Austin of Conservation Minnesota who has been very helpful in promoting consumer choice through and arranging for cities to promote in utility bills and recycling/trash pick-up calendars.

hibu’s Environmental Relations Manager Matt Krug (left), Dex Media’s Heather Mungle and LSA’s VP of Public Affairs Wesley Young at the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) conference.


LSA, hibu at the Association of Oregon Recyclers Conference

Friday, June 7, 2013

Matt Krug from hibu and I are at the Association of Oregon Recyclers conference to promote the industry and highlight the environmental and sustainability initiatives of our LSA members. Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the state of Oregon that would have created an opt-in registry for phone books and imposed penalties for violations.  The bill did not end up moving after engagement by LSA, but it certainly points to the importance of getting the word out about our industry’s self-regulatory efforts in this state.  We’ve met officials from across Oregon, including Portland, and are promoting the value our members bring to local communities as well our consumer choice and sustainability initiatives.

LSA’s VP of Public Affairs Wesley Young (left) and hibu’s Environmental Relations Manager Matt Krug at the Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) conference.


Keep America Beautiful Encourages Use of

Friday, May 31, 2013

As we head into summer, our friends at Keep America Beautiful are encouraging supporters across the country to de-cluttering for summer by following a few tips.

One of the tips offered is for those who don’t want print Yellow Pages directories to limit or stop delivery at For those who do want Yellow Pages, the group asks supporters to recycle their old books when new editions arrive (Yellow Pages are 100% recyclable).

This year, Keep American Beautiful is celebrating America Recycles Day on November 15th, so be sure to mark your calendars! We were proud to partner with KAB last year on their important day, and look forward to doing so again this year.

Find out more about Keep America Beautiful and America Recycles Day at

LSA, hibu at the Washington State Recycling Association Conference

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Matt Krug from hibu and I are attending the Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) conference in Stevenson, WA to promote the industry and highlight the environmental and sustainability initiatives of LSA members.  We’ve had the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of city and county waste management staff about our self regulatory efforts involving the opt-out site as well as meet individually with them at our booth.  We’ve also developed some personal relationships and contacts with staff at cities across the state.  These relationships should be valuable contacts for us in making sure our message gets heard and in keeping regulatory pressure off of the industry.

Here is Matt giving a quick pitch about the yellow page industry’s opt-out program to a large audience at the conference.

LSA Talks Sustainability and Consumer Choice During KAB Webinar

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Keep America Beautiful

In March, I had the privilege of presenting during a webinar titled “Recycling Niche Materials,” hosted by Keep America Beautiful (KAB).  I presented alongside representatives from the plastic film recycling industry, Steel Recycling Institute and International Sleep Products Association.  This was a great opportunity to show KAB’s audience the tremendous strides our industry has made in sustainability and consumer choice.  Here is a video showing LSA’s portions of the webinar: