Having just wrapped up one of our most successful Yellow Pages Association annual conferences, one thing is clear: Our industry has been able to navigate all types of business climates and has evolved to meet current and future market needs. Recent data from the 2008 Yellow Pages Association Industry Usage Study, conducted by Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research, Inc. (KN/SRI), confirms this.
First, overall Yellow Pages usage is on the rise—the combination of print and online references rose to 17.2 billion in 2007, up from 16.7 billion in 2006. The breakdown demonstrates the power of our multiplatform medium. Internet Yellow Pages usage has experienced double-digit growth, climbing to 3.8 billion references in 2007 (comScore 2007), and print directory usage remains stable with 13.4 billion annual references. This isn’t surprising, considering full pipeline of new Internet Yellow Pages tools that are constantly being introduced. They continue to raise the convenience factor for consumers by providing a wide variety of local business information in the ways that they prefer to receive it.
The study also shows that the Yellow Pages reach consumers who are ready and able to make purchases. Nationwide, 86% of those surveyed made a purchase or were likely to do so after referencing the print Yellow Pages. Our medium provides advertisers with a unique audience of consumers who are focused on one thing: getting more educated about the local businesses that offer the product or service they are about to buy. Taking this point a step further, among those making a purchase after referencing the Internet Yellow Pages, 51% were new customers to the business they chose. For print Yellow Pages, 39% were new customers to the business they selected.
Taking a closer look into the demographic profile of Internet Yellow Pages users, the snapshot paints a picture of highly educated families who are financially successful. Specifically, the study found that 80% have some level of college education and 62% earn a household income of $60,000 or more annually. The results also showed that 75% live in counties with a population of 150,000 or more and 70% are married. This sophisticated demographic profile is one that many businesses specifically covet.
The study also found that many of the top U.S. DMA markets have a very large population of print Yellow Pages users. In fact, more people in cities including Charlotte, N.C., Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City, and Seattle reference the print Yellow Pages per week than the national average.
It is evident from the just-released KN/SRI Yellow Pages usage study results that our medium is one that has successfully evolved to consistently provide the directory products and services that meet and exceed the needs of users and advertisers alike. The proof is in the numbers—no spin necessary.
Bringing nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, Larry Small, Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association, spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry. The Locals Only column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.