As some of you, I’m coming back from a great vacation in the south of France. I was mostly offline for the duration of the vacation but still regularly picked-up French newspapers while I was there, most notably Le Monde (for national and international news) and La Provence (for local news). I kept a few articles that I think were blog-worthy and I’m going to share those with you in the coming days.
The first article titled “Rebond du marché publicitaire français en 2010″ (Advertising spending in France bounces back in 2010) was published on October 1st in Le Monde (paid link). The article discusses ad spending in France in the first semester of 2010 by various media vehicles. Data comes from Institut de recherches et études publicitaires (IREP) and data can be found here (.pdf).
I found the following interesting data points:
- Television is the number one media in terms of ad spending (by far) with 1.7 billion euros and a growth of 12.8% over the same period last year
- “Internet”, it seems, only takes into account display advertising (i.e. banners)
- “Internet” gets 264 million euros in spending, a growth of only 9% vs. same period last year. Outdoor advertising growth is almost as much with 7.3%.
What it means: a couple of observations. First, television still rules in terms of ad spending. That media hasn’t (yet!) been hit hard by the Web and still benefits from huge ad budgets. The atomization of TV programs (think on-demand online streaming) is still in its infancy and will not impact TV’s numbers drastically for at least 3-5 more years. Second, I’m not surprised display ads are not growing as fast as we would expect the Web to grow. Even though it is still the preferred method for online advertising, I’m not a big believer in its future. Third, I’m surprised IREP doesn’t do a better job at tracking online advertising in general. PagesJaunes Groupe, the French Yellow Pages, saw their online revenues grow by 6.7% just in the second quarter of 2010 (see press release in .pdf) for a total of 263.9 million euros. That’s an equal amount to what’s recorded by IREP for “display ads”!
September 3, 2010
YellowPages.com has recently rebranded to YP.com and it looks like they have started to promote the new brand in print publications. I found a full-page ad in the latest print issue of Entertainment Weekly. The magazine covers everything related to entertainment (movies, television, DVDs, music, videogames, etc.) in the United States. You can see their 2010 media kit here.
As the YP.com launch press release stated, “This new brand will be the focus of a multi-media national ad campaign, “Click Less. Live More,” to debut this month. Produced by San Francisco-based Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners, the campaign is based on the foundation that the YP brand knows that there is something bigger than just the words that are typed into a search bar. With the YP brand, consumers can experience more, do more and ultimately live more locally. “
The ad copy in the Entertainment Weekly ad reads “YP believes in the power of rock ‘n’ roll” with a shot of a crowd at a concert. A search brick pre-filled with “Concert Tickets” in the what field and “St. Louis, MO” in the where field appears at the bottom of the ad.
Additional elements include:
- The YP.com logo along with the new tagline “Click less. Live more.”
- A ”The new YellowPages.com” line to let people know of the brand change
- A communication line located below the search brick ”Fewer clicks to local search, reviews, maps and tickets”
- An invitation to try YP.com on mobile “Use YP.com on your mobile”
I had a couple of reactions to the ad. The first is more of an insider reaction. The choice of St. Louis in the “where” field is amusing because it’s where AT&T Advertising Solutions (who manage the AT&T Yellow Pages and owner of YP.com) head office is located.
The second was about the choice of query terms. “Concert tickets” is not an easy category because it’s time sensitive and it’s dominated by a few huge players like Ticketmaster. My search results expectations were as follow:
- I was expecting to see Ticketmaster close to the top in the listings.
- I was expecting a list of ticketed shows happening in St. Louis today.
Here is a screenshot of the results I saw (you can also see the actual search results on the site here):
- Ticketmaster is listing number 14 (way below the fold). They also appear in the “Sponsored Web Results for Saint Louis Concert Tickets” section on the right-hand side.
- I don’t see a list of today’s St.Louis events (so, no instant gratification). There is a Zvents box on top of the results (good idea!) but I have to do the same search again (bad idea).
- The first results are very relevant (the first three are St Louis Rams Ticket Office, St Louis Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Blues Hockey Club) but I still wish I would see related events attached to these listings.
- There’s a few non-relevant travel agencies at the bottom of the results page (starting with result number 20) but they don’t impact too much the relevancy of the results.
What it means: here’s what happened. The product team focused on the “what” and the “where” (which is the bread and butter of directory publishers) but they forgot about the “when”. I blogged about the “when” a few months ago. It’s a direct consequence of the real-time Web and it will be the next big tsunami to hit the Internet. The “when” can be concert tickets but it can also be “specials” and “daily deals”. With many directory publishers entering the group buying space, they all will need to get better at embracing the “when” in their main search results.
Flickr picture by Dale Gillard
The Yellow Pages Association just released new ComScore data regarding business directories access on mobile. Excerpt from the press release:
The number of mobile subscribers accessing business directories on a mobile phone increased 14 percent year-over-year to 17.3 million users in March 2010, extending the reach of Internet Yellow Pages beyond the personal computer. This increase outpaces 10 percent growth in the number of mobile media users who browsed the mobile web, used applications or downloaded content during the same time period.
In addition, the data shows that while mobile browsing (10.8 million subscribers with 21% year-over-year growth) is still the most popular way to access business directories on mobile, applications are used by 4.2 million subscribers and are showing a 42% year-over-year growth. SMS is the other popular method.
What I think is the most exciting news in the release is the demographic profile of those users. “58 percent of those who access Internet Yellow Pages on a mobile device are 34 or younger.”
What it means: following my last blog post about GPS inside mobile devices (see Four out of Five Cell Phones to Integrate GPS by End of 2011), the rise of smart phones, the future explosion of Android phones, and the interesting demographics of mobile business directories users, I have to ask: can mobile become the platform of choice for a directory publisher in the future? What would it take? The survey says “The number of people accessing Internet Yellow Pages on a mobile device at least once per week increased more than 16 percent year over year to nearly five million in March 2010.” That’s good but I think the directory industry needs to build applications that would be used multiple times per day in order to build a scalable and successful mobile-only business. It’s not impossible but the industry needs to innovate and right now, that’s not happening. Should a big directoy publisher buy Foursquare or Gowalla?
June 11, 2010
For a flat monthly fee of $25, businesses can enhance their listings that appear on Google.com and Google Maps with a yellow tag that emphasizes specific information such as a coupon, video, website, menu, reservations, photos, or a custom message. Tags do not affect the ranking of the listings, and we clearly indicate which parts of the search result are sponsored.
First found on Blumenthals.com.
What it means: related to my previous post about local monetization, Google is now launching a fixed-fee product called “Tags”. This has been the bread and butter of online monetization at directory publishers. The model is proven and will resonate with small merchants. Question: why did it take so long for Google to launch this?
Update: thoughts from Greg Sterling on this announcement. He adds “The mobile distribution of Tags may ultimately turn out to be more significant than on the PC.”
June 11, 2010
My friend Mike Boland (BIA/Kelsey) discusses check-ins, geo-location startups and monetization over at SearchEngineWatch:
(…) But in all of the excitement, there’s still something missing; a clearly defined path to monetization. Some of the players mentioned above are exceptions with national advertisers, and other revenue streams such as carrier deals. (…)
The problem is that this ignores what those in local space have known for years; self-provisioning ain’t that simple. But the line is still the same from newcomers to the geo-location game: “Why wouldn’t any SMB want to sign up for something that drives foot traffic into their store or restaurant?”
In theory, I agree. But the thinking falls apart with the reality that most SMBs don’t have the time, technical competence, and inclination to launch and manage these promotions. Plus, don’t forget the complexity of countless sales reps and new digital options flying at them from all angles. (…)
What it means: Monetizing online “local” is very difficult. Even Google has had difficulties with it. The only ones who have been massively successful are directory publishers but they forgot to take care of users all these years. It’s difficult to monetize but not impossible. Just look at Groupon. And I think we’re starting to see savvier small merchants out there, who are starting to use the Web in a very strategic fashion. But it will take time.
May 21, 2010
Just received this release from Dex One announcing the retirement of David Swanson, their CEO.
Dex One Corporation (NYSE: DEXO), a leading provider of marketing solutions for local businesses, today announced that David C. Swanson, the company’s chairman and CEO, will retire effective May 28, 2010. The company’s Board of Directors will be initiating a search for a new chief executive officer to succeed Swanson.
via Dex One Corporation.
What it means: This is definitely an important moment for Dex One in terms of defining their future. I met Dave Swanson last year and had been impressed with his thoughts and vision. The last few years have been a real roller-coaster for the organization with RHD buying Dex Media in 2005 (has it been 5 years already?), their acquisition of Business.com in 2007, a superb ride on the stock market and the fall to chapter 11 protection last year. Their exit from bankruptcy protection in February 2010 can be seen as the beginning of a new chapter (no pun intended) and Swanson’s swan song (pun intended). I suspect the company is now ready to embrace the future and the necessary changes required for success. The type of candidates they approach and the person they eventually select will largely influence the future of the company, probably the same way that Jean-Pierre Rémy seems to be imprinting a new vision/direction for PagesJaunes in France. All industry eyes will be watching that next move.
A few weeks ago, the Yellow Pages Association released some data related to purchase and purchase intent when using print and online Yellow Pages.
- 8 out of 10 Internet Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 36 percent reporting they had made a purchase after finding local business information at an Internet Yellow Pages site, and an additional 44 percent saying they intended to make a purchase.
- 78% print Yellow Pages searches were from people who said they were ready to buy, with 39 percent reporting they had made a purchase after finding local business information in a print Yellow Pages directory, and an additional 39 percent saying they intended to make a purchase.
- 40% of those who made a purchase said they found and made that purchase from a new company after reviewing local information on an Internet Yellow Pages site. (it’s 35% for print Yellow Pages)
- ·Of searches made by people who used Internet Yellow Pages, 37 percent said they had no company name in mind when they started their search. (34% for print)
I was curious to see if age made a difference in those numbers and the Yellow Pages Association provide me these data points:
As you can see, the differences between age groups are small.
What it means: not surprised with the results. Print and online business directories have always been about intent to purchase and actual purchase. The good news is that it is still true in 2010. What I would have wanted to see was the comparison between “medium”, for example versus search engines or word of mouth, but those data points where not available. I suspect search engines would have received a lower score than Yellow Pages but I was wondering about friend recommendations: do those lead to purchase?
From a SuperMedia press release (.pdf) this morning:
SuperMedia LLC recently launched ShieldPower, a new licensing program for SuperGuarantee businesses, making it even easier for consumers to spot the ‘Good Guys.’ Qualified businesses can now leverage the power of the SuperGuarantee Shield and use it on their Web sites, company vehicles, business cards, uniforms and more.
What it means; as most of my readers know, as opposed to most of the rest of the world, the Yellow Pages brand in the United States is in the public domain. In the 80′s and 90′s, it wasn’t surprising to see advertisers using the Walking Fingers logo and Yellow Pages brand on their truck and in their store. I like the idea that SuperMedia is now building a new trusted brand/logo that advertisers can use (really a seal of approval) given the commoditizing of the Yellow Pages logo in the US. Good move.