Local search – more on the death of print

By April 29, 2009Search

I’m at an AMR organised local search conference where lots of local advertisers have been talking about how they spend their marketing budgets and where they are getting the best bang for their buck.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the main story is the transition away from print and onto the web.  In this case the dying print format is the Yellow Pages style directory.  Across the board advertisers seem to be reducing their spend, preferring instead to spend money on the web, largely on Google Adwords.

For example at Rentokil web enquiries passed Yellow Pages enquiries by volume in 2007 and the former continues to grow as the latter declines – and at some point it will stop becoming viable for Yellow Pages to publish their annual directory.  Apparently the Danish Yellow Pages equivalent is already considering switching to bi-annual publication.

One other interesting titbit of information is that for Rentokil the quality of Yellow Pages enquiries is higher (15% more of them are genuine sales opportunities), but the cost of web enquiries is 60-90% lower, depending on geography.

One category that hasn’t been mentioned much is online directories.  It seems that local advertisers are more focused on Google Adwords.  There were some stats which suggested that Yellow Pages online isn’t delivering much volume.

  • Pingback: Will Universal Broadband destroy the Creative Industries? « An Inquiring Thought()

  • Directory Services were amongst the first to suffer I think, even if I didn't have access to the net I'd still ring or txt someone before I looked for and then looked in a book.

    I recently saw an episode of Family Guy in which Peter get's angry and says “I'd rip a phonebook in half but I can't for the life of me think of anyone who uses one anymore. So I'll just use Meg's laptop.”

  • Nic – sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk yesterday, but great to see you spreading the word. Advertisers like Rentokil need to share our experiences in this changing market to help us ensure we balance our advertising effort and spend efficiently.

    One point in defence of print – while the cost per enquiry from web as a whole is much cheaper than YP, this includes enquiries generated by organic search. This is significant for Rentokil where we have a very strong brand in our market (pest control) and where we have reasonably good performance on organic search.

    It would be fairer to compare the cost per enquiry for print vs that of paid search – while enquiries from PPC are still cheaper than YP, the gap is a lot narrower and YP is in touch with Google even if their volume is falling away.

    Stewart Power, Marketing & Strategy Director, Rentokil

  • Thanks for the comment Stuart, and for the presentation yesterday. Very interesting.

  • Nic – sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk yesterday, but great to see you spreading the word. Advertisers like Rentokil need to share our experiences in this changing market to help us ensure we balance our advertising effort and spend efficiently.

    One point in defence of print – while the cost per enquiry from web as a whole is much cheaper than YP, this includes enquiries generated by organic search. This is significant for Rentokil where we have a very strong brand in our market (pest control) and where we have reasonably good performance on organic search.

    It would be fairer to compare the cost per enquiry for print vs that of paid search – while enquiries from PPC are still cheaper than YP, the gap is a lot narrower and YP is in touch with Google even if their volume is falling away.

    Stewart Power, Marketing & Strategy Director, Rentokil

  • Thanks for the comment Stuart, and for the presentation yesterday. Very interesting.