Media Facts
Yellow Pages

Advantages | Disadvantages | Plus Radio

Yellow Pages have been around almost as long as the telephone itself. In fact, they've been a part of America's culture for over 100 years. Only newspaper can claim more longevity. And, as with newspaper, longevity begets credibility. In fact, most businesses cannot imagine not having an ad in the Yellow Pages. Despite significant changes in the advertising landscape, the Yellow Pages routinely finish at or near the top in surveys of people who are asked to name the place they would go to first if trying to find a business in their area. No wonder advertisers feel they have to be in the Yellow Pages.

But what does "being in the Yellow Pages" really mean in the context of modern advertising? Does it mean being in every "Yellow Pages" directory that's published, or just the one that is best known? Does it mean being in the online version as well as the print version? Like all other media, the Yellow Pages industry is faced with trying to maintain and grow their relevance while contending with new competitors and evolving consumer shopping behaviors.

According to 2011 research by Simba Information, total usage of the Yellow Pages has remained unchanged since 2006. The only difference is that the Internet now holds a 30% share (increasing 10% in the last four years).

Radio salespeople who tell a customer or prospect that they shouldn't be in the Yellow Pages run the risk of undermining their own credibility. A better strategy might be to point out the benefits of scaling back on the bells and whistles, such as color and bigger-than-necessary ads, and then reallocating the savings into a complementary Radio schedule. The addition of Radio can be used to brand the company, which will make their Yellow Pages ad more effective. A portion of their Radio copy can be written to actually draw attention to their Yellow Pages ad.

Point out how effective Radio is in capturing the attention of consumers, creating interest in a product or service, and driving the desire to purchase. Then let the Yellow Pages take credit for helping consumers find the business so they can take the action of buying the product or service being advertised. Otherwise, the advertiser runs the risk of losing customers to one of the many companies whose ads surround theirs in their business category.

Widespread: Ninety-nine percent of U.S. adults are familiar with the Yellow Pages. (Local Search Association, 2011)

Emergency Reference: Consumers often rely on the Yellow Pages during emergency situations.

Targets Consumers: Ads primarily target consumers already interested in purchasing a product or service.

Traditional Acceptance: Having a listing in the Yellow Pages has historically been a "must" for retailers.


Encroaching Competition from the Internet: Yellow Pages-like services on the Web are replacing printed books. These directories offer ease of use, mobile accessibility, more logical organization of data, and the capability to update information more often.

Limited Exposure: Less than half of U.S. adults (46%) refer to the printed Yellow Pages directory during an average week. The other 54% will not see your ad. (Local Search Association, 2011)

Ad Clutter: Your ad is lumped in with all the others for the same product, where shoppers can compare.

Inconvenient: Phone books tend to be bulky, hard to store, and not readily available to consumers outside of the home or office. Their availability is limited to the locations where most purchases are made. How many pay phones have you seen that have a complete book? (Indeed, with the ever-increasing use of mobile phones, how many pay phones have you seen?)

Inflexible: Most directories are published once a year, and advertising must be purchased well in advance of the publication date. You can’t make corrections or changes resulting from dynamic business conditions or opportunities.

Too Many Books: In many communities, there are several different directories all competing for listings. Who reads them all?

Minimal Consumer Awareness: Since the Yellow Pages typically are consulted after the decision to buy has been made, top-of-mind awareness must be built in other ways. As products continue to proliferate and the retail business becomes saturated, you must create demand for your products before the buying decision has been made.

Plus Radio

Limited Exposure: The combination of Radio and Yellow Pages (hard copy or online) can work more effectively to reach, motivate and inform your customers. Radio can create demand and influence shoppers before they decide to buy, and the Yellow Pages can reinforce where they should buy once they have made the decision.

Top-of-Mind Awareness: While your competition is content with advertising only in the Yellow Pages, you can increase your top-of-mind awareness through Radio – and greatly increase your market share. Radio can help you communicate the unique selling proposition of your business and help draw attention to your Yellow Pages ad instead of those of your competitors.

Flexible: Radio’s great flexibility lets you make copy revisions at your discretion to accommodate changes in your business. You’re not stuck with the same ad for more than a year, you increase your creative options, and you can generate maximum impact when you combine Yellow Pages with Radio.