I was glad to read three recent articles published by Chris Silver Smith: Are Yellow Pages Toast? Four Years Later We Review Ad Value. by from Stephanie Hobbs : Four Key Reasons To Reconsider Today’s Yellow Pages For Local Marketing and from Amy Rybczynski Don’t Write that Obituary Just Yet…Print is Alive and Well! highlighting Yellow Pages publishers should still be considered as great suppliers for local businesses to generates leads and Value.
For the last 4 years, Yellow Pages publishers have been fighting the perception that print is already dead and that search engines are the only viable solution for the future. Wait a minute! Don’t throw in the towel too easily. This is not a black and white situation. We are definitively in a grey zone where multi variables should still be considered.
Internet access or Mobile accesses are not available in every zone of Canada. Does it make sense for an advertiser to invest in Search Engine solution in rural areas where internet / 3G penetration is low ? Not sure it does but investing Yellow Pages print sure does.
2. Socio demographic considerations
Yellow Pages Print usage studies show better usage with the 40+ years audience, with fairly decent revenues and consumer habits. In Urban Market areas we have more 40s+ relying exclusively on print vs. online. Besides this age bracket has better revenue and stronger consumer habits than younger generations.
What is the most important for an advertiser ? The ROI he can get. Any $ invested that can generate more $ in revenue is a win.
I could argue that Yellow Pages Group in Canada delivers an average 14:1 (Canadian Usage Study 2011) ROI across all markets and categories. But how valuable a figure is for individual business owner. What is your business type?What is your industry ? How many competitors do you have? How well your name, your brand known? There are many elements to be considered.
We understand from past evaluations some headings are generating higher ROI than others. Insurance, Home renovations, Wedding, Lawyers, Dentist, etc.. used to be strong winners and…
… are still strong winners. There is no doubt that ROI is lower than it was pre-digital days, but one of the strongest ROI of any media available local businesses How many horror stories I may have heard from customers who decided to drop their advertisement from their print directories, only to face a drastic decrease in business and, when they were able to survive, decided to reinvest massively in print the following year.
An advertiser’s choice in choosing advertising media for his or her local business should be based on factual elements as ROI and not on false perceptions.
4. Yellow Pages directories have moved beyond print
It is true that Yellow Pages publishers have been investing a lot in transformation over the last few years. It is not because they threw in the towel, it is because of natural evolution of products and platforms.
When 40 years ago, we used to have one TV set with 3 channels – Advertisement platforms were limited. Today, media has been fragmented and consumers have changes the way they for information and businesses. It is Online, it is on Mobile, it is on TV, it on newspapers, it is on Print Yellow Pages, etc. An advertiser can’t be focusing on one unique media and they now need to be on multiple platforms to reach their audience.
What Yellow Pages publishers have been trying doing over the last decade is to offer integrated solutions that would answer the majority of small business needs. Because a business owner has more to gain in running his business than saving in trying to understand what are the best media for his own advertisement needs. Yellow Pages Publishers are now offering an end-to-end solution. Yellow Pages Publishers have made their product evolve by offering by default online, mobile presence and content when advertisers buy print and building integrated media solution that could be tailored per business specific needs. This is what Yellow Pages Group proposes with his 360 Solution.
Print is far from being dead, it still delivers incomparable value.
Print should be considered as an anchor in any media plan for SMB, the starting point before moving onto other platforms.
Advertisers should not disregard print based on perceptions and should assess the ROI print platform provide to them before taking a decision that could have heavy consequences on their business revenues.
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As introduced in my previous post « How to monetize mobile properties (Part 1)« , we have tried to respect three basic rules to make this product a hit:
1. Have a user friendly product
2. Generate a ROI for the advertiser
3. Ease product communication and pitch for our selling team
So, first, let’s talk about the user friendly aspect of the product
The mobile team has been working hardly to develop an ergonomic App that would respect user experience and expectations. Since the initial launch of mobile yp.ca on iPhone, Blackberry and Mobile Web. My colleague Carolyne Moran has always defended the ergonomic aspect of the app. So we have had few interesting discussions with two different objectives – Defend advertiser ROI on my Hand, defend user experience on Carolyne’s hand. We have done our home works and tried to benchmark ourselves on what is done in the industry. Reviewed YP apps around the world, identify cool features and design from related apps, discussed design to respect brand equity to deliver a balanced app for User, YP and Advertiser Interests.
Concretely, initially the plan was to have two dedicated spots on the top of organic results to showcase our advertisers. Considering the newest aspect of monetization on mobile, considering this could have been intrusive for our users, then we have decided to limit advertising real estate to one unique spot only.
Second Item: Generate ROI for The Advertiser
Generating ROI from Mobile platform is the easiest part especially with a low entry price. This is the avenue we have decided to take. Concretely we wanted to have an attractive entry price point to sell the inventory as fast as possible to have a decent base to measure the ROI we were delivering to our advertisers. With this approach we were able to have in our hands concrete data to be able to identify what would be the perfect pricing point to deliver a good value for both the advertiser and YPG. Win – Win relationship was our goal in order to create a long term relationship with our clients.
Third point: How to ease communication with Sales and make sure this product becomes a hit with our advertisers?
Key success factor: do not try to revolutionize what our Marketing Consultants have been selling in the past. So the idea was to stick as much as possible to existing products they have already been selling on other platforms as Print or Online. The Mobile Sponsored Placement is a simple extension of our products available on our other platforms. Double Full Page on Print or Guarantee Online Placement on YP.ca.
To conclude the alchemy was found:
1. An ergonomic product generating a value added for the Users – Find local businesses around you with great content
2. A revenue generator tool for the Advertiser – Generating businesses for our clients and great ROI.
3. A product simple to pitch and to sell – A product Anchored on existing product portfolio
What does it look like ?
In a nutshell this product offers 1st position for searches on yp.ca mobile.
So, we offer opportunity to advertisers to capture the growing, exploding Mobile traffic which represents now more than 30% of all yp.ca traffic.
Six rotating advertisers share the top priority in each market / heading intercept on yp.ca mobile.
Thus, advertisers can showcase during a very contextual searches process: Users who are looking for immediate and specific needs in a specific geo-localized situation.
With a clear design and enhanced functionality, as click to call button on result pages, enriched information on merchant pages as Text caption, Logo and business hours, consumers can reach the advertiser fairly easily, then driving leads towards the advertisers.
So nothing revolutionary you will say, it looks like a sponsored placement as we can find on Majority of search engines or phone directory applications….
….and you are right !
This is exactly why we are delivering tremendous results.
This is only a question of Simplicity.
Why it works:
Because we wanted to stay close to the basics, we have not reinvented the wheel. We have just decided to adapt to Mobile an online product with proven results to deliver strong ROI to our advertisers. Then this product respects three basic rules – WIN – WIN – WIN
– Winner for the user as user friendly and satisfying user needs in search context;
– Winner for the Advertiser with a Proven ROI;
– Winner for the sales as it easy to understand and pitch;