Industry Usage Data Released
The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) recently released new data that shows that Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) experienced double digital growth in 2008. According to comScore, Internet Yellow Pages searches grew 22% from 3.8 billion to 4.6 billion, in 2008.
“The growth in Internet Yellow Pages usage in 2008 emphasizes the increased trend toward local content on the Internet,” said Yellow Pages Association president Neg Norton. “Consumers are seeking highly specialized, localized business listings when and where they want it and they are increasingly finding it on our online platforms.”
Even with a tough economic climate for all advertising, overall usage of Yellow Pages products (print and Internet) totaled 16.9 billion references in 2008 compared to 17.2 billion in 2007 – a 2% overall decline. The print Yellow Pages references in 2008 were 12.3 billion compared to 13.4 billion in 2007.
Given the trends in all advertising media, the overall results have be viewed as somewhat positive. Of course the Yellow Pages are not immune to the advertiser cutbacks that have been ravaging other media such as newspapers, local TV, and even out of home. But clearly the impact on Yellow Pages has been smaller than many of the other advertising media. And an 8% drop in print usage is hardly a sign that the products are “dead” or will be dying next week as some would want you to believe. We still talking about people turned to those print directories more than 12 billion times last year at a point where they are in an active, ready-to-buy mode. Hence, the books still remain an important source for consumers during these tough economic times.
It comes as no surprise that the online local search products are the most vibrant, growing items now. But even that growth points towards the positive transformation publishers are going through in a the move from a one product media solution to becoming a true multi-channel consultative advertising solutions provider.
As we have commented to several financial entities — don’t confuse the debt issues at some of the publishers as an indication of the strength of the overal industry. It still is the best advertising ROI program a small business can get anywhere.