For Yellow Pages isn’t proof better than research?

The Yellow Pages Association just finished their conference in San Diego — sorry I missed it. There was a healthy degree of focus on measurement:

One key objective of future research is to demonstrate print’s strong usage, and Internet Yellow Pages growth, as compared to other local search tools. It’s important that we have reliable data to communicate about our significance in search.

from the YPA blog.

Right on.

But here’s the thing I don’t understand. Rather than treating measurement as a research task wouldn’t it be better to think of it as a tracking task? That is, replace the all phone numbers and URL’s with appropriate tracking numbers and tracking URL’s. The technology is certainly available to do this. And the data had incredible value to both the publisher and the advertiser.

Is there a reason we aren’t all thinking of this as a tracking task? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.



7 Responses to “For Yellow Pages isn’t proof better than research?”

  1. 1 Larry Small April 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    You have a good point, Eric. Yellow Pages is a very trackable medium. In fact we currently have over 160,000 metered ad tests. However, it would be extremely difficult to track the ads of all 3 million current Yellow Pages advertisers, not to mention potential advertisers. So for this reason, data on reach, frequency, demographics, etc. is very important to explain the Yellow Pages value story to advertisers.

  2. 2 predictabuy April 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks Larry. I agree this data is very important to the value story — advertisers rightly love the proven ROI of Yellow Page advertising. And, yes, I’m glossing over the technical challenges of tracking everything. But I think it’s both possible and more importantly the right goal for the industry. You really can’t have too much data on how advertisers benefit from your product!

    I really see it as building on and leveraging a strength of Yellow Page publishers.


  3. 3 Larry Small April 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I absolutely agree with you on that point, Eric

  4. 4 Dave Hucker April 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I agree with you also Larry. As Katie Donovan (SEMPO institute) emphasised at the YPA conference , we should be not only offering these statistics to customers, we should sit down once a quarterly to analyze these stats for them.

    We’re a CMR and we employ click tracking technology and tie it to a dynamic telephone number so we can give the client a higher degree of insight into just where their leads are coming from on the Internet.

    All in all it was a pretty good conference, although I’d have liked the blogger part to have been more in depth.

  5. 5 predictabuy April 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks for joining in Dave. I agree that meaningfully presented statistics provide a great opportunity to stay engaged with your customer – and make sure they understand the value you’re delivering to them!

    As a CMR do you set-up tracking for everything? That is, do you set up tracking numbers for all internet and print media? Is this something your customers have come to expect or is it an education process?


  6. 6 Dave Hucker April 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    heh… In a perfect world we’d be tracking everything, but like you said, its an education process. Invariably many see their advertising budget as a ‘spend’ instead of an ‘investment’ and the potential ROI from various spaces (print,IYP,SEM, Local Search, etc.) sometimes gets lost in the mix.

    I enjoyed immensely the QA session with the National Advertisers. It refreshed my insight into the mind of the marketing director; what they know, don’t know, think they know about their vertical and what I know their competitors are doing in the same space and the varying differences in between. I’m grateful for them opening up some of their processes to us and putting themselves on the line in front of a crowd. Although I have to admit, I did visibly recoil when I heard a couple of them admitting they’re not using PPC right now to drive sales when its a proven commodity for their competitors..


  1. 1 Simple Product, Flat Fee, Proven Performance « Predicting What Consumers Want to Buy Trackback on October 6, 2009 at 5:43 pm

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