There’s lots of stories around Yellow Pages online and its effectiveness for business advertising – Eager Yellow Pages reps always have a slick, plausible story to tell. How truthful are they?
Independent case studies are rare, but here’s one from Brisbane. You’ll now discover the relative leads generated and costs across Yellow, Google Adwords and general website listings.
N.B. This 5 minute video is one of the best introductions to search marketing you’ll find.
What surprises most people with these particular results, aside from the huge number of leads generated by online search marketing/advertising, is the large number leads coming from Googles ‘pay-per-click’ Adwords, being 2-3 times higher than organic SEO. Most SEO experts will tell you that ‘organic SEO’ not AdWords, provides more leads and is much better value. However this case clearly proves otherwise.
“But the Yellow Rep said they also Show up in Google”
The sales pitch from Yellow implies that a listing with them is all you need, since a Yellow pages online listing also shows up within Google. You don’t need to worry – A Yellow listing ‘does it all’ for you...
Our example Archer Glass above happily spent big money with both Google and Yellow, but only one in ten leads came back from Yellow. His monthly leads averaged 830 from Google versus 88 from Yellow. Effective cost per lead worked out at AU$9.49 with Yellow versus AU$2.38 with Google. (Note his ‘cost per clicks’ may seem high. This is sometimes the case when advertising a ‘mainstream’ item like glass. Other more specialized, niche market products or services are typically under $1.00 per click).
The above example also confirms that Yellow ads do sometimes ‘show up’ within a Google search page either as paid ads or generic listings. (More on this in the video below). But this real-world case showed that the majority of online sales leads still come via Google directly, not Yellow.
This means that if you’re a business that relies solely on Yellow for online leads, the lost sales opportunities are huge, since Yellow is only capturing 10% of local consumers searching for business products and services online!
We do note the pricing model used by Yellow in Australia is more costly than here, but the relative traffic numbers between Google and Yellow is almost identical worldwide. This means that if Yellow.co.nz is currently providing you say a modest 10-12 leads per month, then getting setup with Google AdWords, Maps and SEO efforts could easily provide a local business 50-60 leads, for a similar monthly spend…
Think of ‘Yellow’ as a magazine with say 10,000 readers. But ‘Google’ has 100,000 readers and better pricing. Who should you advertise with?
And consumers prefer Google, because it works better
It’s not just about Yellow and the deals they can offer their clients. It’s a sad fact that Yellows older technology and biased listing practices doesn’t help their own customers or more importantly, consumers who want to use Yellow to find a local business. This specific problem has been investigated by our favourite SEO guru Jim Stewart in Melbourne. Note the NZ Yellow pages technology and listing strategy is very similar.
From Jim’s tests, there’s little chance of an appropriate Yellow local listing showing up on Google since it’s just too many clicks away for most people. And from what he’s discovered, there’s few relevant local listings appearing on the first page of Yellow either, which frustrates users, due to the way they bias their entire displayed results to the customers that pay more.*
The Brisbane case study seemingly re-confirms all this, together with examples given in our own seminars (here) across most industry sectors. Yellows system is simply outdated and not intuitive or helpful compared with Googles and not good for those people doing a quick search…
Yet another reason most use Google, not Yellow.
* Google does preferential high value listings too with pay-per-click AdWords, but unlike Yellow, limits it to a couple at the top of the page or those down the right hand side.