YP.com is seeking to distinguish itself from its origin as AT&T’s Yellow Pages: those thick, heavy books that the phone company used to thunk down on your doorstep every year to inform you of all the local businesses in your area. As printed yellow pages books are gradually phased out of production, YP.com is attempting to re-brand and re-purpose itself as an online directory. Has it been successful in this endeavor? How does its popularity compare with other directories? That’s what we’ll find out in this edition of “Prospect Genius Reviews…”
Seeking to compete with local search giants Google and Yelp, YP.com has the same basic functions and features as many of the other business directories online. When you search for a specific type of business near your location, you’ll be presented with a list of results that match your query. It’s unclear how the “default” filter determines the order of your results, but you also have the option of filtering by distance, rating, or name. The problem with filtering by rating, though, or even using ratings as a guide for making a decision, is that there are very few ratings on YP.com listings. This is probably because, as Mike Blumenthal points out, YP.com is not very popular with younger demographics, who are more interested in online reviews than older users.
At the beginning of 2014, Blumenthal conducted a survey asking consumers which online sites they use to find local businesses. Not surprisingly, Google was the most popular among all age groups with a market share of 60.9%. More surprisingly, however, YP.com had a 13.8% market share, which is roughly the same number of users as Yahoo! and Bing combined (14%).
But when Blumenthal broke it down by age group, it was clear that YP.com has a long way to go if it ever hopes to be a real contender in the directory game. While Google and Yelp show the most promise because the vast majority of their users are in the 25-34 age group (Google has nearly 80% of the market share), YP.com’s most popular demographic was age 60+. We can assume this is because the older generations are more familiar with the Yellow Pages brand. Blumenthal explains the significance of this:
The reality seems to be that [YP.com’s] customers are dying off and they have yet to figure out a way to make their brand and site appealing to the younger age cohorts where they need to be successful in order to be successful in local search.
However, it appears that YP.com is attempting a makeover of its reputation, as it is beginning to experiment with more display marketing and location targeting for its clients (as reported by Adweek). Even still, data tells us that YP.com has a long way to go before it’s able to compete with Google and popular directories like Yelp. Business owners and advertisers should look to trends in the younger demographics for a sign of what’s popular now or what’s going to be popular soon, and, unfortunately, millennials simply aren’t using YP.com.
That’s why Prospect Genius reviews YP.com rather neutrally. Enough people are using it that it’s not without its merits, but not enough people are using it to make it a major player in the world of online advertising. What does this mean for your small business’s local advertising efforts? It simply means you can use YP.com, but don’t make it the central focus of your local strategy. If you’re using an organic approach to local advertising, then you’re already putting yourself on multiple directories and platforms anyway, so there’s no real risk of putting all your eggs in the YP.com basket. It’s still a good idea to include YP.com in your directory network because it’s a reputable site that’s in good standing with Google’s algorithms. You just shouldn’t expect too many leads to come from it.
For more info on online directories in general, read our previous review of directory strategies.
In the next edition of “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll look at another side of YP.com: its marketing services.