Borrell Associates today released a report that stated, in effect, that Internet advertising is killing the Yellow Pages.
An excerpt from their announcement: "Over the next five years, we are expecting 39% of the ad spending on print yellow pages to vanish. After 12 years as an advertising medium, the Internet has finally reached small-business owners with viable marketing opportunities in the form of keyword advertising, interactive directories and low-priced online video commercials. The recession appears to be triggering the shift. Click here to download an executive summary or the full report."
That's right, according to Borrell, in the next five years, 39% of ad spend in yellow pages will be gone (mostly moving online.) That equates to somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion according to the report (and also reported on by Greg Sterling).
While it's clear that Borrell expects the viability of both newspaper and yellow pages to slow, right now, we're looking at by far the most significant sales forces out there. They suggest these sales forces are being trained to push online, mostly IYP. That makes sense and, as that is the fastest growing category for the Yellow Pages companies, that makes sense.
As for the future, Borrell is "forecasting another 18 months of strong double-digit growth for local online ad sales, which will settle to single-digit or "market norm" levels by 2012." By then, they expect that the "winners" in local online advertising will be ferreted out and twill be as large as a second or third-tier media outlet for the market they are in. That's a pretty significant change to take place in the next five years.
However, based on the numbers we've seen in most major markets, and what we've surmised from this, it's not totally impossible. In fact, we'd go so far as to call it a reasonable likelihood.
What does all this mean? Simple. So long print yellow pages.