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Yellow Pages Association Study Says Its Ads Work

The Yellow Pages in print and online has had continued usage for the past five years, particularly among ready-to-buy consumers with overall references increasing to 16.3 billion in 2005, up from 16.1 billion in the past year.

This is according to the Yellow Pages Association’s recently released 2006 Knowledge Networks/SRI Industry Usage Study. The study also found that marketers are getting new leads from the directory — 58 percent of Internet Yellow Pages users and 39 percent of print Yellow Pages users were new customers to the businesses they chose.

“We’re different than a lot of other mediums,” said Neg Norton, president of The Yellow Pages Association, Berkeley Heights, N.J. “We have people say they actually want to see more ads [in the Yellow Pages] because they [the ads] are providing useful information.”

Knowledge Networks/SRI, Cranford, NJ, surveyed more than 18,000 random homes in the past two years. The group found that Yellow Page users look at an average of five ads per reference.

The Yellow Pages Association released the study to educate marketers about the opportunity that the 128-year old resource offers the market, despite prevalence of online search and market dominance of Google and other online search engines.

“What Google and Yahoo don’t have is feet on the street,” Mr. Norton said. “What Google and Yahoo don’t have is a local sales force.”

The trade organization consists of Yellow Pages publishers, sales forces, certified marketing representatives and industry stakeholders include Yellow Pages advertisers, vendors and suppliers. The Association has members in 26 countries.

The study found some variance between print Yellow Pages and Internet Yellow Pages, namely a slightly younger online user 18 to 49 in contrast to 25 to 49 for print. Also the most popular headings for online searchers included more travel and entertainment items like hotels, florists and theaters.

Over the last few years online member groups of the association such as www.superpages.com and www.yellowpages.com have improved the user interface to compete with other online search engines adding interactive maps, saved and intuitive search. The reach and breadth of the publishers’ group is a strength for the brand.

“Most publishers are using a penetrating strategy by going out to local and small business and making business profiles as robust as they can be,” Mr. Norton said.

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