Is Yellow Page Advertising Ineffective Now?

I picked up the Yellow Pages the other day, for the first time in probably 3 years.


The book was printed in 2008, but why was it referencing 1999? Isn’t that right when the Internet really started taking off, you know the year before Y2k. 1999, when 83 million adults were accessing the Internet and spending an average of 12.1 hours per week. (from Media Awareness)

Fast forward to 2009 when there’s over 220 million people using the Internet. That’s 74% of the entire United States’ population.(from Internet World Stats)

So why are the yellow pages still referencing studies and statistics that were from 10 years ago? If more and more people are using the Yellow Pages, why are they using these old statistics?

So hmm? Think maybe they are hiding something, This is VERY misleading.


In 1999, “66% of consumers reference the White Pages an average of 3.2 times per week.”

In 2005, “78% of consumers reference the White Pages an average of 2.5 times per week.”

I really can’t see how many consumers they took into this study. I’m no mathematician, but people who bought something through the Yellow Pages would have had to look at the book roughly 130 times per year. This really doesn’t add up. Seriously, who needs to check the yellow pages that many times a week and per year? These statistics are getting a little ridiculous.

Another great point about the wording here, the statistics are based on consumers ONLY, not the general public, which is what really matters for any business. How many doorsteps do these books get dropped on to just get thrown in the trash or just left on the porch?

Another Good Read

2005 Metered Ad Study

On page 6, you’ll see that the average annual calls for local display and ad space dropped from 885 to 784 between 1999 and 2004. That’s a drop of 11%. This is in 2004! Fast forward to 2009,  5 years later when the calls are still declining and costs are increasing!

Let’s just assume each call had an average cost of $10. That means, it cost $8,850 to advertise in 1999. Without the consideration of inflation, the cost per call is now $11.28. To reach the same 885 phone calls, that’s an additional $1,140.11.

Let’s not forget we haven’t discussed conversion, and revenue.

Are Yellow Pages Print Ads Cost Effective?

So how effective really is the Yellow Pages? Does spending roughly $25,000 into a book that no one really looks at actually help increase your business?

In a recent report by Blue Corona, who conducted their own performance tracking to determine how well the Yellow Pages was doing, they soon realized that business had declined drastically while costs have skyrocketed.

I don’t get it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Why would you spend your money in advertising that doesn’t work?

Needless to say, after the results, the client company refused to do business with them again unless the listing was free.

Reference: Blue Corona

If you’re still using it, it’s best that you have some sort of tracking system to see what kind of sales it is bringing in. My suggestion would be to try Internet Marketing!

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