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.