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Local Search Trumps Paper




I bet you thought scissors beat paper—local search beats paper, according to a recent TMP Directional Marketing study conducted by comScore. If you’re having trouble convincing potential clients that the Yellow Pages shouldn’t be their one and only marketing method, here’s the study for you.

The study found that 33% of consumers consider the Yellow Pages as their primary source of local information—and a whopping 90% of those using search say that the Yellow Pages are “still a valuable source for shopping information,” as reported by MediaPost. Despite that concession, 60% of consumers turn to the Internet first for local shopping and business information, with half of those consumers turning to a major search engine, more than a quarter heading straight for Internet Yellow Pages and the rest going right to local search sites like Citysearch.

Stuart McKelvey, CEO of TMP Directional Marketing, a local SEO company, stated:

Anecdotally, some of our largest clients have gotten the highest ROI from their investments in IYP [Internet Yellow Pages]. But there’s not enough volume there to warrant a dramatic shift in local marketing dollars.

An obvious reason for this apparent lack of volume: the study also found that 61% of local searchers go online to make a purchase, but only 6% of them actually complete the purchase online. 40% come in to a brick-and-mortar to convert. And unless your cookies can follow you to the store, you’re probably not going to be able to tell them what keyword you used to find their store.

Of course, there’s one important short-coming to this study: comScore panelists are more likely to be heavy Internet users. With $15 billion still being spent on paper directories and only $9 billion on the emerging local search industry, it will probably still be an uphill battle for you to convince potential local clients of local SEO’s necessity.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    The comScore numbers may be skewed somewhat, but this doesn’t surprise me at all. I can’t remember the last time I looked up a number in any phone book. For me it’s much easier and quicker to find the number and additional information online. Admittedly I’m a heavy internet user.

    I wouldn’t give up advertising in the Yellow Pages just yet, but to think it’s the main place people will look for you now isn’t the way to go either.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    “study found that 33% of consumers consider the Yellow Pages as their primary source of local information—and a whopping 90% of those using search say that the Yellow Pages are “still a valuable source for shopping information,”

    I assume these “consumers” are mostly over 65 years old?

  • Jordan McCollum

    Hard to say, really—do you think one-third of comScore’s panel is likely to be retiree-aged?

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  • http://www.sierrawebmarketers.blogspot.com MikeM

    Thanks for the post, not surprising at all.

  • http://www.SuccessWithHomeBusiness.com Ann Levings

    I’ve just started marketing Internet presence to local small businesses. Nearly everyone advertises in the Yellow Pages. These stats are now in my hand to help them understand that they need to broaden their marketing. I just heard that the Neilsen Ratings printed survey results on this very topic.
    Thanks

  • http://www.alibiproductions.com Drew Stauffer

    I’ve moved about once a year for the past 12 years and I can’t remember the last time I had a phone book in my house. They always show up on my door step right before it’s time to move and I throw them away. These stats aren’t surprising at all.