Telmetrics: Traditional Media Complement Online

Picture 8Telmetrics released call and URL tracking data that show how print YP and online complement one another in some interesting ways. The company “measured consumer Web activity generated by more than 1,200 print Yellow Pages ads from November 2008 through April 2009. Each [display] ad included both a unique URL and phone number.” The URL redirected in most cases to a business website.

The story has always been print YP vs. online. But the more complex consumer reality is that print (traditional media) often drives online and search. Telmetrics data reveal that.

Here are the topline data:

  • On average, URL visits represented 44 percent of leads, while call traffic generated 56 percent of leads
  • Tracking unique URL activity in addition to call measurement shows a 78 percent increase in the overall leads driven by print Yellow Pages
  • Select categories including Automobile Dealers and Florists, demonstrated significantly higher volumes of Web activity
  • Ads for Automobile Dealers resulted in 184 percent more clicks than calls, while Florists generated 126 percent more clicks

I spoke with Telmetrics CEO Bill Dinan yesterday about these findings. He told me that they weren’t able to measure the overlap between people who visited a site and may have subsequently picked up the phone. He also told me that in anecdotal interviews with consumers following the collection of this data consumers often said they were less inclined to consider a business that didn’t offer a URL in its print YP ad. He was surprised by the degree to which consumers came to the print book expecting to be directed to an Internet site.

I also asked Dinan about his theories about why certain categories might generate more clicks than calls. He said he thought that circumstances in which people needed to consider inventory or get more information (especially to see an item or product) drove more URL visits.

There are lots of studies from among others Google and SEM firm iProspect that show how people use multiple media to get information. These same studies also show how traditional media stimulate or generate online search behavior or other lookups.

What’s interesting here is that people are coming to the print book as a starting point and going off to the Internet, consistent with those studies, to get more information in almost 50 percent of cases. So rather than an island separate from the Internet, print YP is being shown here to be a complement and even a driver of online activity.


4 Responses to “Telmetrics: Traditional Media Complement Online”

  1. Rich Rosen Says:

    Greg: Did Bill comment if any of the URL traffic could have been search related? Any sense if the landing pages led to leads vs calls (quality of each)? Last, did tracking unique URL activity in addition to call measurement increase the overall leads driven by print Yellow Pages – or an incresed in leads tracked? The data indicates that adding a URL to an ad willl increase response? I’ve seen data indicating that adding a toll free and local number together in an ad increases response over toll free or local numbers alone.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Rich: The URLs were unique apparently to the print directory. No visibility whether “landing pages”/sites generated calls. Not clear on increase in overall leads. But Bill’s comments suggest what you’re saying is correct: consumers they talked to were disinclined to contact businesses w/o the URL . . .

  3. Dave Hucker Says:


    Interesting. We use Century Interactive and they’ve been able to overcome this challenge. That is, they’ve given us the ability to tie clicks directly to calls that come in to our clients. We record the calls and a click trail is spawned showing our client where the call lead actually began…(ie, Search, or from another website linked etc.).

  4. Telmetrics: Print Advertising Drives Online Leads « Yellow Pages Association Blog Says:

    […] some interesting data on lead generation from print Yellow Pages, and Sebastien Provencher, Greg Sterling, and Kelsey GroupĀ have had it on their radar […]

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