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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.

Most visited websites in the U.S., as of March 2024: 

  • Google.com - 25.15B visits
  • YouTube.com - 13.3B visits
  • Facebook.com - 2.9B visits
  • Reddit.com - 2.9B visits
  • Amazon.com - 2.4B visits
  • Yahoo.com - 1.8B visits
  • Duckduckgo.com - 1.5B visits
  • Wikipedia.org - 1.5B visits
  • Twitter.com - 1.2B visits
  • trc.taboola.com - 1.1B visits

(Source: Semrush, March 2024)

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

  • In April 2023, Google accounted for 95% of the mobile search market in the United States.

(Source: Statista, May 2023)

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

  • 46% of U.S. adults who plan to make a major purchase always do research on the internet first.
  • 45% of U.S. adults find that customer reviews are very helpful.

(Source: Global Consumer Survey April 2022)

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

  • 53% of U.S. respondents use search engines as a source to get information about products.

(Source: Statista, November 2023)

Most effective methods for requesting reviews, according to consumers:

  • 34% prefer email
  • 33% prefer in-person
  • 32% prefer receipt or invoice

(Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Survey, 2023)

While the Yellow Pages directories were at one time a regular source for consumers seeking information on businesses and local services.

  • In the past year, 12% of adults 18+ have referred to internet yellow pages.
    • 6% have referred to paper yellow pages.

    (Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase)

    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.

    • 86% of A18+ visited a search engine on their mobile device/smartphone/Tablet in the last 30 days
    • 67% of A18+ search for information about a product
    • 49% of A18+ visted a website for local information
    • 3% of A18+ called directory assistance

    (Source: 2023 MRI-Simmons Fall Doublebase)

  • Number of different sites or apps that consumers use to check before their decision to use a local business:
    • 1 site - 23%
    • 2 sites - 36%
    • 3 sites - 25%
    • 4 sites - 9%
    • 5+ sites - 7%

    (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2024)

  • Top 3 review sites or apps used in 2024:
    • Google - 81%
    • Facebook - 45%
    • Yelp - 44%

    (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2024)

  • 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022, up from 81% in 2021.
  • (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2023)

  • When customers expect to see responses to their reviews:
    • The same day - 11%
    • The following day - 14%
    • Within 2-3 days - 34%
    • Within a week - 22%
    • Wihin 2 weeks - 6%
    • Within a month - 2%

    (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2024)

  • Alternative platforms consumers use to find local business reviews:
    • Local news - 43%
    • Instagram - 34%
    • YouTube - 32%
    • TikTok - 23%
    • Reddit - 21%
    • Local Bloggers - 19%
    • Twitter/X - 18%
    • Threads - 10%
    • ChatGPT/AI - 9%

    (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2024)

  • Minimum average star rating a business should have for consumers to consider using it:
    • 1 star - 2%
    • 1.5 stars - 3%
    • 2 stars - 2%
    • 2.5 stars - 4%
    • 3 stars - 13%
    • 3.5 stars - 17%
    • 4 stars - 37%
    • 4.5 stars - 12%
    • 5 stars - 5%

    (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2024)