Weather An Engaging Add for YPG

This seems like a very small thing: Yellow Pages Group Partners With The Weather Network and MeteoMedia to Provide Local Weather on YellowPages.ca . . . But it has some interesting potential to drive more frequent usage of the site.

According to the release:

Under the agreement, users searching for business listings on YellowPages.ca will experience the added benefit of receiving locally relevant weather above the map section on the search results pages.

Here’s what it looks like:

This is a nice addition. One problem: you can’t just get weather by searching “weather, Toronto” for example. I would recommend however that YPG enable people to use the site simply to do weather related searches.

These searches right now go to Weather.com (or its competitors) or in my case to Google:

I’m always surprised by how involved people are with weather and how much they’re searching for weather related information. Most recently Bob Visse from Microsoft told me this. By contrast, yellow pages are used infrequently relative to search or social networks or mobile devices:

The above chart is from comScore and TMPDM/15 Miles. What it shows is that only 3% of people use IYP sites daily. Adding content like weather has the potential to boost daily usage frequency, which would benefit IYP usage more generally.

5 Responses to “Weather An Engaging Add for YPG”

  1. Chris Silver Smith Says:

    Yes, there’s definitely a complimentary association between local info such as weather data and YP data — which is why my team and I built a number of weather applications based upon government data some years back at Superpages.com:

    http://www.superpages.com/cities/weatherforecast.html

    (Back when I was in college, I took a required Meteorology science course, taught by the State’s Meteorologist, and I was never more surprised than when I realized I’d actually be using stuff I learned from that class in my job! We designed the weather apps all in-house, so as to avoid large licensing fees charged by top weather sites. Funnily enough, those sites later turned around and petitioned Congress to close off access to National Weather Service data feeds, so as to force everyone to go to their commercial enterprises for the data. Obviously, they failed to shut off the data flow.)

    Weather data, along with other local information, can help directory sites become stickier — and there were other, not-so-obvious reasons for using it as well.

    YPG is smart to enhance with this, but they may need to further step up the online efforts. Canada yellow pages has enjoyed good usage, even when US YP usage has seen some search engine referral erosion. But, begining in 2008, Canada has begun to see the same shift indicated by online users performing fewer searches for “yellow pages”:

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=yellow+pages&ctab=0&geo=ca&date=all&sort=0

    YPG will need to employ a variety of strategies to offset this shift. In the past, I’ve suggested that this shift was likely an indicator of a behavioral change where newer generations are less familiar with what “yellow pages” are — and I think it could also be due to consumers finding the same information in other, more-convenient places, such as directly within Google search results. Increasing the reasons why consumers would come to Yellowpages.ca and find it relevant in local info may help YPG fight the potential erosive trends.

  2. John Derby Says:

    Your Trend chart should include canada411 wich is the same site as yellowpages.ca but probably more frequently search for. Also, for what I see, a lot of internet users are directly going to the yp sites instead of going via google or other engines.

  3. Peter Barney Says:

    Are you kidding? Adding local weather to an IYP search result is “adding value”???

    And John Derby – you “see” a lot of internet users going direct to yp sites and not landing there, by accident, when they google a result?

    You guys are living in a different world. Perhaps that’s why iyp keeps going to hell in a hand basket.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Peter:

    It’s not a “game changer” and won’t address core challenges, but yes — amazingly — it does/could add value. Look at Chris’ comments. Also I say Bob V. of Microsoft told me that weather was one of the top categories on MSN. Weather is also a top category on mobile.

    The weather channel is huge: Weather.com has about 25 million uniques. I wouldn’t believe it either but this is an area of real consumer engagement — daily.

  5. Chris Silver Smith Says:

    Peter: I note that weather is one component of local data – in of itself, you’re right that it’s not much. But, as one component of a local data development strategy, it can be quite effective. I’m recalling years’ worth of data that supports the concept.

    Also note: you’re not really looking at the big picture. Sure, adding weather data to IYP search results pages isn’t necessarily going to accomplish much. But, there are a lot of other places to put that data on a site, and those pages can bring in traffic as well.

    I’m purposefully being a bit evasive on the specifics out of deference to confidentiality, but I’m not being deceptive in stating that weather can be highly effective as a component of local search strategy for online YPs.

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