Yellow Pages (owned by Sensis) offers Yellow Pages print directory advertising and Yellow Pages online advertising. Business can get a free listing in each, but to get a decent sized ad you need to lay down your wallet and usually some serious cash. So the question that comes up each year is – is Yellow Pages advertising worth it?
According to Yellow Pages 8.5 million weekly searches are made using its print directory. That is high. And I must admit, impressive.
If your contemplating advertising in the Yellow Pages, just be aware that the above 8.5 million weekly searches statistic applies to the whole of Australia. Yellow Pages print directories have different versions split across metro and regional markets. And your ad is likely to appear in only one of these directories (well… unless you pay more), so the weekly searches in your given local directory will be a lot smaller.
Proof of Yellow Pages Declining
Is Yellow Pages advertising worth it? Or could it be a small business mistake? Perhaps. It’s well known that Yellow Pages usage is declining. It’s largest competitor, True Local loves to commentate and point this Yellow Pages decline.
But it’s important to note that this decline is off a large baseline – The whole of Australia – so opportunities may still be there for positive return on investment.
Any semi literate statistician knows that you can sculpt and twist data to make it appear how you wish. So for this reason I always take surveys and statistics with a shake of salt. However there is one barometer of Yellow Pages advertising that can’t be debated – the changing size of the Yellow Pages print directory.
I have measured the changing Yellow Pages directory dimensions for the last three editions and have found that the physical volume of the 2012 directory has shunk 46% since 2010. And this rate is accelerating. Wow.
Another interesting snippet to note – ever since I could remember I received a Yellow Pages A-K and an L-Z directory. But this year for the first time I received a solitary A-Z directory. And both its height and width were smaller than the previous 2011 directory.
And if the Yellow Pages directory is physically shrinking, it means that their business advertisers are collectively pulling out. They are either getting a better deal elsewhere, such as through SEO or pursuing other marketing channels. Unless Yellow Pages are recouping this lost business in their online channel, this does not bode well for their ongoing growth.
So is Yellow Pages worth it? From a social proof perspective, businesses are pulling out. So if you are after a crowd sourced answer, it seems to be a very loud ‘NO!’
Interested to hear your thoughts…
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