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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 )

According to Yext's 2018 Search Trends survey:

  • New reviews per business location increased 87% in 2018
  • More consumers took action with their searches resulting in a 20.1% increase in clicks to call, clicks for directions and clicks to a business’ website.
  • Searches on transactional local pages increased by 30.4% in 2018.

(Source: SearchEngineWatch.com; Data: Local Search Trends From 2017-2018)

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 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.

  • 58% of A18+ visited a search engine on their mobile device/smartphone
  • 41% of A18+ search for information about a product
  • 31% of A18+ visited a website for local information on their mobile device/smartphone
  • 43% of A18+ find local information on social media somewhat/very important
  • 31% of A18+ find it somewhat/very important to learn about products and services on social media

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018)

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

  • 65% of A25-64 in the U.S. trust search engines for general news and information

(Source: 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer)

  • Search engines used in the last month:
    • Google – 81%
    • Yahoo – 23%
    • Bing – 10%
    • Ask – 2%

(Source: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018)

  • Google accounts for 75.4% of global desktop search traffic.

(Source: Net Market Share, 2019)

Local search influences the shopping behavior and habbits of consumers:

  • 87% of shoppers begin the purchase process online, up from 71% in 2017
  • 56% of consumers shop equally online & offline
  • 72% of consumers want discounts on social media while only 18% of marketers prioritize this content
  • 34% of marketers purchase local data and only 20% are ‘very confident’ of its accuracy
  • Digital influences 75% of store visits
  • 46% of shoppers use mobile devices while in-store
  • 58% of U.S. adults have used voice search to find info on a local business in the last year
  • 79% of consumers research online before making a large purchase in-store
  • 33% of consumers said that search engines were the ‘most helpful’ for local discovery

(Source: Local Search Association, Data & Analytics, 2018)

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