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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.

Using the internet to find 'places near me' or just general information has become increasingly popular. 

Market leader Google generated 62% of all core search queries in the United States. Other platforms include:

  • Microsoft Sites - 25.9%
  • Verizon Media - 11.3%
  • Ask Network - 0.8%

(Source: comScore, August 2020)

Millions of people have handheld devices in their possession daily and use them to search for everyday necessities and curiosities. 

  • As of Q1 2020, mobile devices accounted for 56% of organic search engine visits.

(Source: Merkle Digital Marketing Report, Q1 2020)

Online reviews have an important addition in local search. Consumers are relying on reviews during their path to purchase.

  • 61% of U.S. adults who plan to make a major purchase always do research on the internet first.
  • 57% of U.S. adults find that customer reviews are very helpful.
  • 42% of adults say that a review function is an important characterisitc when they online shop.

(Source: Global Consumer Survey 2020)

The internet and its search features allow people to connect with products and services in an instant.

  • 67% of adults said they use search engines to search for specific informationon a product the want to buy.
  • 51% of adults said they usually find about about new, interesting products by using search engines.

(Source: Global Consumer Survey 2020)

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 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.

  • 61% of A18+ visited a search engine on their mobile device/smartphone
  • 46% of A18+ search for information about a product
  • 33% of A18+ visited a website for local information on their mobile device/smartphone
  • 50% of A18+ find local information on social media somewhat/very important

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2020)

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