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Local Search (Digital / Print

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It wasn’t all that long ago that most Americans’ fingers took at least one weekly “walk” through the Yellow Pages (YP), those massive directories plunked on our doorsteps at the same time every year by the local phone company. Although many of us still receive printed books, they’re mere shadows of their former selves as the search function has gone digital in a big way – and many are merely tossed into landfills, recycled, or stuck in the back of a drawer somewhere.

That’s not to say that the former YP publishers have rolled over and gone away. They all boast some online presence and are now competing with online search companies for the dollars they previously enjoyed as a virtual monopoly in most markets.

Database and directory publishers generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of print advertising space. Due to changing consumer preferences, digital media has increasingly replaced print media as a source of news and entertainment. Businesses have reduced investment in print advertisements, shifting their focus to digital publication advertisements. This shift has impacted industry revenue and forced operators to increasingly publish online.

The 2018 Key Data Top-Line Report states that:

      • 20% of adults referred to the PYP in the past month
      • 25% referred to the IYP in the past month
      • 19% of adults referred to PWP in the past month
      • 55% of adults referred to social networks.
      • 36% of adults said they trust search engines the most when seeking information.
      • 33% of adults say that search engines are the most helpful source followed by company websites at 24%

(Source: Key Data Top-Line Report 2018 )

  • While the Yellow Pages directories were at one time a regular source for consumers seeking information on businesses and local services, the digitally connected world in 2015 has hugely expanded choices for accessing information and has taken search to mobile consumer. Consumers in cars and on the street can quickly access information through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing -- and those are just starting points.

  • Consumers have numerous options to learn about local businesses and services:
    • Only 36% of local searchers start with a search engine
      • Visited specific sites on the subject (15%)
      • Read customer reviews (7%)
      • Looked for locations through online directory (6%)
      • Reviewed content about product/service (5%)
      • Searched from a mapping app (4%)
      • Read professional reviews (4%)
      • Used a reservation booking app (3%)

    (Source: (Source: IDC survey of 750 US adults (18-44), 80% were smartphone owners -2016)

    Consumers place search engines at the top for local search activities compared to other sources:

    • Past month media usage:
      • Search Engine – 86%
      • Company Site – 71%
      • Circular/Email/Coupon  - 70%
      • Friends/Family – 69%
      • Social Network – 55%
      • Mobile App – 52%
      • Online Videos – 49%
      • Newspapers 43%
      • Daily Deals  - 41%
      • Internet Yellow Pages – 25%
      • Print Yello Pages – 20%
        • Is the I trust the most for finding local business
          • Search Engines – 36%
          • Friend/Family Member – 15%
          • Company Website – 11%
          • Print Yellow Pages 9%
          • Store Circular/Email/Coupon – 4%
          • Internet Yellow Pages – 3%
          • Newspapers – 3%
          • Online Videos – 2%
          • Social Network – 2%
          • Mobile App – 2%
          • Daily Deals – 1%
            • Is the most accurate source for finding local business information
              • Search Engines – 31
              • Company Website – 17%
              • Print Yellow Pages 10%
              • Friend/Family Member – 8%
              • Ratings/Review Sites – 7%
              • Store Circular/Email/ Coupon – 5%
              • Internet Yellow Pages – 5%
              • Newspaper – 4%
              • Social Network – 3%
              • Mobile App – 2%
              • Daily Deals 1 %
                • Is the source I turn to when ready to make a purchase
                  • Company Website – 25%
                  • Search Engines – 23%
                  • Friend/Family Member – 10%
                  • Store Circular/Email/Coupon – 9%
                  • Print Yellow Pages – 5%
                  • Internet Yellow Pages – 4%
                  • Newspaper – 3%
                  • Daily Deals – 3%
                  • Online Videos – 2%
                  • Social Network – 2%
                  • Mobile App – 2%

                (Source: Burke study for Local Search Association – 2017, published 3/18)
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