More YP Data: Users More ‘Ready to Buy’

Last month the YPA released third party data that argued yellow pages offer the greatest local reach and trust of any competitive ad medium. Today comes part two that says 80% of consumers consulting yellow pages are “ready to buy.”

Here are the top-line data from the release:

  • 8 out of 10 Internet Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 36 percent reporting they had made a purchase after finding local business information at an Internet Yellow Pages site, and an additional 44 percent saying they intended to make a purchase.
  • Approximately 8 out of 10 print Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 39 percent reporting they had made a purchase after finding local business information in a print Yellow Pages directory, and an additional 39 percent saying they intended to make a purchase.

Here are some charts that illustrate these and related data:

Now come two slides that seek to refute the notion that people consulting the yellow pages (online or in print) are looking for contact details for a business they already know or have already selected:

Here’s what TMPDM/comScore say about the known vs. unknown business question (click to enlarge):

Source: comScore/TMPDM (7/09, n=4,000)

What the slide immediately above says is that 39% of online and 17% of print YP users don’t have a company in mind when consulting these resources. The print number in the YPA/Burke data above is fairly consistent with the comScore findings, but there’s a 20 point discrepancy between the comScore and YPA/Burke data regarding online directories.

The larger communication in the data and the release is: YP is widely used by consumers who are ready to buy but in many cases haven’t decided where or from whom to buy.

Do you agree with/believe the YPA/Burke findings or are you skeptical?

5 Responses to “More YP Data: Users More ‘Ready to Buy’”

  1. Jason Hyman Says:

    I would lean closer to agreeing with the findings. People dont pick up the phone book for fun and they typically are not doing research on an IYP. When someone picks up the phonebook its usually on a “needs basis”. It’s directional media.
    I briefly referenced something about SERP vs IYP yesterday and reliable organic “answers”.

  2. Mike Mueller Says:

    I do think Jason has a point in that Google’s local business listings have much to improve on, and IYP directories–online and offline–have a built in “trust factor” that make them a primary source for local business searches. Very clever of Jason to demonstrate how unreliable the search engine’s algorithm can be in this matter.

    Of course, it’s all about how you “slice the bread.” The data sets aren’t broken down into geographic or age sub-sets. If we were to look at only the 25 – 40 age group, for example, would the numbers look as impressive? I’d like to know more about characteristics of the responders.

    Finally, I am suspicious of responses given by participants in these kinds of studies. Self-describing as “ready to buy” is quite common, I believe. This is not the same as a real offline sale that can be tracked.

  3. David Siddall Says:

    I believe the book to be almost obsolete. The real question being asked here should be whether the online yellow pages is more effective than google local listings

    This video presents a case that you probably don’t agree with but i’d like to hear your response

  4. Greg Sterling Says:


    Yes the video reflects the anecdotal experience of those around me as well. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area however and am cautious when generalizing from my own experiences.

    Surveys like the one above continue to appear despite the way in which they seem to contradict what we observe around us. There’s a divide between urban and rural, between young and older users and between education and income levels as well. Although over time the trend is definitely toward electronic and mobile lookups/searches.

    Unless we’re going to say, however, that these data above are totally fabricated or the survey instruments are skewed to produce a desired outcome, we have to take such things as evidence that some people (at least in the US) continue to use the print yellow pages.

  5. MrOpinionated Says:

    Both sides (Print & Internet) are guilty of manipulating polls and research in order to present the desired data they are seeking…i.e. that their side is better. The understood reality is that as the internet will eventually eleviate the need for a phone book to exist. How long that will take is often speculated with no real conclusion…but we know it will happen. The question is…can IYPs compete at a healthy level with the SERPs (PPC, Local Listings, Organic) to stay alive during the increasing surge of persons who are looking online for the businesses they are seeking? IYPs have made horrendous affiliate partnerships which destroy the conversion rate that SMBs get off of advertising with them. I would argue that noone would say that organic & traffic does not convert well….but….when 80% of your traffic comes from affiliates you are damaging your “mother-site’s” good name.

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