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Some Yellow Pages Usage Data: Print v. IYP

September 11th, 2008
23 Comments


Sitting in on a Yellow Pages webinar organized by the YP Commando himself, Dick Larkin.  Thought it might be interesting to post some of the data the presenters are discussing.  I’ll keep updating this post as I see more interesting stuff.

Borrell Associates predicts a 39% decline for annual print YP usage by 2013.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.  While print is not growing it still seems to out perform the Web in a lot of areas.

Some musings from Dick on his experience in selling to SMBs at Spotrunner/Weblistic:

  1. The advertisers are interested in talking to Internet sales people
  2. It is difficult to match the ROI of print yellow pages because there is not enough online volume.  Categories like personal injury attornies and bail bonds have this issue. (no kidding re bail bonds – the wifi in county jails sucks)

Tags: Local Advertising · Local Search · Yellow Pages

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Dorausch

    Nice charts Andrew. In my experience Personal Injury is still doing well in the books for consumers seeking attorneys/doctors but online has really assisted PI attorneys in locating doctors nearby where clients live/work.

  • 2 christine coleman rodriguez

    Thanks for all those charts. Like the ROI by medium. This is a good case for every small business to get online and get a great SEO STAT!

  • 3 Stever

    In the last slide what does “pureplay” mean?

  • 4 Andrew Shotland

    I believe it means a business that is only online (i.e. no TV network, newspaper, etc.).

  • 5 Paul Pedersen

    It’s interesting that, in “The Value of Yellow Pages Against Other Media” chart, they left off what we typically see in the charts as the best performing media …like search engine marketing, etc.

  • 6 Dev Basu

    Thanks for the coverage Andrew. These slides will definitely come in handy in future client pitches. Additionally, I will forward it to some folks at the YPG in case they haven’t seen these charts already.

    Cheers!

  • 7 Andrew Shotland

    Good point Paul. Wonder if “online services” includes search?

  • 8 Jon

    Thanks for posting that Andrew.

    In the “Sales ROI by Medium” chart, do you know if “Internet” means paid-advertising on the net (PPC etc), or does it also include general investment in internet marketing (ie. website design, SEO, etc)

    Cheers, Jon

  • 9 Mihmorandum | The Value of the Yellow Pages for Small Businesses Today | General Marketing

    [...] With that kind of dramatic gap, it’s hard for me not to advise SMB’s to put the vast majority of their marketing budget into organic search, or at the very least, paid search. In fact, that kind of data makes it hard for me to understand how the Print Yellow Pages have ANY real value for small businesses anymore. It stands in stark contrast to the data being presented by the Yellow Pages Association (found this graph on Andrew Shotland’s Local SEO Guide): [...]

  • 10 Loci 2008: The year in Local from Michael Jensen’s Point of view » Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search

    [...] Some Yellow Pages Usage Data: Print v. IYP by Andrew Shotland (@localseoguide on Twitter) [...]

  • 11 If Markets are Conversations, Blogs are Natural Marketing Platforms | EvoBloggito | Evolution Web Development

    [...] Yellow Pages, as Google search replaces the Yellow Pages search for information (MerchantCircle; Local SEO Guide), blogs are becoming more important as information [...]

  • 12 Stop Throwing Your Marketing Dollars Away! | Denver SEO | SEM

    [...] Pages themselves came out with a study showing how valuable their services are. But wait! Their own reports show their online version of the yellow pages beats their print ads AND Organic Internet Marketing [...]

  • 13 If Markets are Conversations, Blogs are Natural Marketing Platforms | Evolution Web Development

    [...] Yellow Pages, as Google search replaces the Yellow Pages search for information (MerchantCircle; Local SEO Guide), blogs are becoming more important as information [...]

  • 14 Sam

    Just a thought……..

    Print drives the consumer to the internet like radio drove buyers to the yellow pages . I believe both complement each other…. to a point.

    On the internet any person or business can be larger than life. While what you see in the yellow pages is the result of what a representative put together after making a premise call and sat down with the owner and created an ad .
    We call this” premise verification” of a legitimate business .

    Going green…..
    Stop printing telephone directories! How often do we hear that ?
    I googled ” what happens to old computers ” and now I know why the powers to be are deflecting this real hazard to our planet by accusing publishers of directories of wasting out trees.

    Find out the facts yourself and be prepared to look at your laptop , cellphone, pc and now your I pad for what they truly are…….non bio-degradable junk that is rapidly multiplying and ending up in our landfills and threatening our eco system .

    Year after year books are passed down or even sold used at universities to incoming students . Laptops , PC’s and cell phones as we all know, are replaced at an alarming rate both here and abroad.

  • 15 Buzz Tatom

    This is a great point. Printers are easy to vilify. I own a printing company in Dallas, Tx and we recycle everything we do not use in the final product and use paper from sustainable forests. Those directories are probably also printed on either FSC or SFI paper.

  • 16 San Bernardino Bail Bonds Company

    Regarding the yellow pages and internet usage in the jails. We are a San Bernardino Bail Bonds company and provide service within about 30 miles of our office.
    There pretty much is no internet usage in the jails, for obvious reasons, therefore leaving only the yellow pages (or similar) for the incarcerated to utilize for bailing out of jail.
    We came up with an idea that utilizes the yellow pages for the jails. If anyone has ever been in jail, hopefully not, these yellow page books that are given to the defendants in jail are usually completely torn up and rendered pretty much useless. The defendants will use the pages as note paper and then tear off the pages and keep. Leaving the book vacant of pages for the other defendants peruse.
    What we’ve done is; we take the yellow pages for that particular region, tear out the first 12 or so pages, laminate with ultra thick lamination, zip tie together with the same zip ties that the police officers use and present this virtually indestructible bail bonds directory to the jailor, in hopes of them agreeing to the use inside the jails.
    Yes, some of those pages contain our competition, but the first few pages are our own listings.
    I find that this is the only reason I’ve kept my yellow pages listings alive. Aside from the one or two random bail bonds calls I receive from the yellow pages, I find the YP’s completely useless.
    Ever since 5 years ago, we’ve lessoned our YP spending to as little as possible and boosted our efforts for SEO, SEM, and all other online marketing.
    It’s difficult though since our business is VERY spur of the moment, so branding our names seems to be futile and ranking 1st or 2nd is the only ROI producing effort.

  • 17 Andrew Shotland

    Very interesting SBB. Seems like if your laminated YP strategy pays off, instead of spending money on print ads, you could just print your own version where you conveniently rank well.

  • 18 San Bernardino Bail Bonds

    Very funny Andrew. Why would I spend additional money on print when the YP is doing it for me? :) I remember the old days when the hard part of marketing was deciding the layout of the YP ad. Now I’m analyzing daily all the SEO algo’s and efforts and feel like I need to go back to college for a rocket scientist degree.

  • 19 Andrew Shotland

    My first thought was that you could swap out your competitors’ phone #s with your own, but that was too creepy even for prison.

  • 20 San Bernardino Bail Bonds

    Working amongst thieves, one must find a good moral and ethical path to follow. I’m amazed at my competition (other bail bonds companies) that bend if not brake the law as they go about doing their business. Illegal solicitation at the jails is one of the ways to break the law and this happens daily with the other bail bonds company.
    Our laminated print idea is one of the good (white hat) ways of guerrilla marketing that we do.

  • 21 Bail Bonds SEO: How To Optimize For The Big House

    [...] dispenser of San Bernadino Bail Bonds has been commenting on my Yellow Pages Usage Data post recently and has provided some interesting insight into how to market to people in jail: [...]

  • 22 don

    We are doing mostly pay per call programs right now, I find most of our calls are customers who were refferred to our company and looking for our phone number, a good number of job applicants, but a handful of real customers…the subsription model is worthless, imo…great post btw on the bail bonds story

  • 23 admanmem

    Ummm, hello? The people in jail don’t call the bail bond advertisers. Their family OUTSIDE of jail do. Anyone with any yellow pages experience knows this…

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