Research Reveals Yellow Pages Still Tops in Local Search

Research Reveals Yellow Pages Still Tops in Local SearchIs anyone still using print directories when searching for information in their community?

According to recently released research conducted by a nationally recognized firm, and a separate analysis of more than 14,000 display ads with unique, trackable phone numbers, the answer is a resounding YES!

M/A/R/C Research, which has 46 years of marketing research experience, interviewed more than 50,000 consumers at least 18 years old between January and December 2010 in 125 major markets in AT&T’s service areas using statistically valid surveys meeting Advertising Research Foundation guidelines.

Among key results from the survey:

  • 69 percent — or nearly seven out of 10 adult consumers — say they have used the AT&T Real Yellow Pages within the last year. And consumers turn to the AT&T Real Yellow Pages four times more often on average in AT&T served markets. Sixty-eight percent of consumers who used a print directory within the last 30 days said they used the AT&T Real Yellow Pages.  
  • Use of AT&T’s premier online local search directory—YP.com—continues to rise dramatically. The survey results show 29 percent of adults in the survey use YP.com, up 17 percent from just a year earlier.
  • When combining both print and YP.com, 78 percent–or nearly eight out of 10–of those surveyed said they used at least one of the products within the past year compared to 77 percent a year earlier.

The conclusion that print Yellow Pages are still valuable for advertisers and consumers was confirmed in another study by CRM Associates, which is a market analysis and consulting firm headquartered in Boulder, Colo.

In CRM Associates’ just-released 2010 Metered Ad Study of 14,600 advertisers with the same-size ad and heading in 2009 and 2010, calls increased from 5.7 million calls to 6.3 million-a 10 percent increase across the entire set of ads. This increase follows a 3 percent increase in calls in 2009 compared to 2008. Sixty percent of individual advertisers experienced an increase in calls in 2010.

“These findings confirm the continued relevancy of print directories, and especially AT&T’s directories,” said Ken Ray, chief marketing officer of AT&T Advertising Solutions. “They also support what we already know from current internal data—that AT&T print directories still hold significant value for consumers and advertisers.”

He said internal data include more than 20,000 unique metered phone numbers that appear only in print Yellow Pages ads and generate an average of 18 calls per month to those advertisers. And, the company places unique URLs in print Yellow Pages ads and tracks follow-through. Those URLs are averaging a half dozen online look ups each month. So, consumers are using print and Internet sources together.

Internet and mobile access has changed the dynamics of local business search. But the M/A/R/C and CRM studies clearly dispel the common misperception that people don’t use print anymore, Ray said.

“We are definitely seeing a transition in local search from print to multimedia sources. But print remains one of the most effective and foundational elements of that multimedia mix,” said Ray. “Local search is not a zero-sum game. Consumers are looking in multiple sources for business information, so the best solution for businesses is having a bundle in the right local search platforms.” He said AT&T’s local search offerings garner more than five billion consumer searches per year, including almost three billion from The Real Yellow Pages and over two billion from the YP Local Ad Network, which consists of YP.com, YPmobile, and other major local search publishers across online, mobile, and IPTV.

“The local search advertising ecosystem continues to converge and grow more complex,” Ray said. “At AT&T, we believe businesses can benefit most with the help of a trusted, expert partner. That’s why we have more than 5,000 highly-trained media consultants who help businesses grow by getting the most out of local search.”

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.  

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