The Local Search Association (formerly Yellow Pages Association) has released a new survey regarding how people find local businesses. I know readers have found this info useful in the past, so read on for the highlights and some commentary.
The first set of data is looking at the sources used by US consumers for finding local businesses.
Take in mind that this is from an industry group representing the Yellow Pages (and I have no idea how the questions were phrased):
|Local Media Source||Used in the past year||Used in the past month|
|Yellow Pages (print & Internet)||84%||62%|
|Print Directories (print Yellow Pages & white pages)||78%||55%|
|Print Yellow Pages||74%||49%|
|Internet Yellow Pages||57%||36%|
|Store Circulars, Email Promotions, or Coupons||68%||47%|
|Print White Pages||63%||36%|
|Internet Social Networks||32%||23%|
Yellow pages (including both print and Internet) fall at the top of this list, with search engines close behind. Interestingly, if this had been ranked based on data for the prior month, search engines would have come out first.
In order to better illustrate this, I calculated the difference in those that used a particular source in the last month versus in the past year (it’s not surprising that all are negative, this is over a much shorter time span):
|Local Media Source||Used in past month – used in past year|
|Yellow Pages (print & Internet)||-22%|
|Print Directories (print Yellow Pages & white pages)||-23%|
|Print Yellow Pages||-25%|
|Internet Yellow Pages||-19%|
|Store Circulars, Email Promotions, or Coupons||-21%|
|Print White Pages||-27%|
|Internet Social Networks||-9%|
Search engines and Internet social networks are the only categories avoiding a double-digit decline. This either indicates that they are gaining usage at the expense of the other sources, or are used more frequently (if you only pull out the yellow pages once a year, but use Internet search weekly, the monthly numbers will flatter the more frequently used source).
The other piece of survey data concerned the degree of trust/convenience/accuracy for different sources:
(print & Internet)
|Print Directories||Search Engines||Social Networks|
|Is the source I trust most for finding local business information||51%||45%||41%||1%|
|Is the most accurate source for finding local business information||53%||45%||39%||2%|
|Is the source I go to first for finding local business information||49%||45%||42%||2%|
|Is easy to access and convenient for finding local business information||52%||46%||39%||2%|
|Is the source that is “best in class” for finding local information||50%||44%||42%||2%|
In this chart the yellow pages to hold an edge over search engines and social networks. I’d suggest this will change as local data in the search engines continues to improve, and consumers gradually realize it is improving. But time will tell.
Does this data fit with your personal experience? Let me know in the comments.