A recent study suggests what we've been saying for quite some time: The shift is official.
What do we mean by that? Users are continuing to move away from the Yellow Pages and toward the internet for their local search needs.
The study - commissioned by TMP - points out the numbers and what, exactly, they mean:
First sources for local information
* Search Engines (31%)
* Print Yellow Pages or White Pages (30%)
* Internet Yellow Pages Sites (19%)
* Local Search Sites (11%)
In the previous year, we saw the numbers between Yellow Pages and Search Engines reach the same level.
But as you can see above, in the past year, the print pages have dropped at the same time that the search engine traffic for local searches has increased.
The result is simple: online search is now the unequivocal leader for people looking to find something locally.
This means that an Internet presence is ever more important.
It also means there has been a tide change in just the last five years. And in just the last year, any argument that print yellow/white pages are the dominant local search vehicle has, in a word, evaporated.
As per usual, Greg Sterling makes some excellent points in regards to this and what it means across the board. Ironically, the single best point he makes is that this trend isn't across the board. It's a categorical situation. And his view on where mobile falls is still fractured:
"In terms of the outlook for print usage, it’s going to be market by market and category by category. It will be very strong in some markets and categories and quite weak in others. Mobile’s impact is a bit of a wild card at this point: does it cannibalize print, Internet or is it largely “additive” to either or both."
These numbers were all based on a survey of 3,000 adults in various locations. Overall, the numbers are probably pretty reasonable across the U.S. Of course, as Sterling points out, that will change numbers-wise based on the location and the vertical in question.
Our numbers have consistently shown that to be the case - it's just a question of when each of the various verticals will be moving and when smaller cities, where yellow and white pages are still relatively effective, will make the move.