As Media Habits Evolve, Yellow Pages and Search Engines Firmly Established As Go-To Sources for Consumers Shopping Locally

Survey Shows Consumers Consult 2 to 3 Sources of Local Information, Demonstrating That An Integrated Advertising Approach Is Best for Local Businesses

8 Out of 10 Yellow Pages Searches Result in a Purchase or Purchase Intent; Total Estimated 16.6 Billion Lookups/Searches

Consumers Trust Yellow Pages Most

Jun 13, 2011, 09:10 ET from Local Search Association

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As local search habits evolve, a comprehensive study of consumer preferences on local media shows that an integrated approach to local advertising incorporating both print directories and online search media is the best path for businesses hoping to ring up sales.




The "Local Media Tracking Study," which was conducted by Burke on behalf of the Local Search Association using an online panel (80 percent of respondents) and offline/telephone survey (20 percent), found that consumers use Yellow Pages and search engines most to find local businesses, outpacing other local media including social networks, magazines, newspapers, and promotional circulars/emails.  Among local media, consumers consult 2 to 3 sources (2.2) when looking for information to buy a product or service locally.

"Local media trends give small businesses a good sense of where they should invest their limited advertising budgets," said Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association. "We recommend an integrated approach that incorporates print and Internet solutions to reach local consumers."

Monthly vs. Annual Search Habits

More than 8 out of 10 people (84 percent) used either print or Internet Yellow Pages to find a local business in the last year and more than three-quarters (76 percent) used a search engine. The study found that 74 percent of U.S. adults used a print Yellow Pages directory to find a local business in the past year.  Search engines reached 76 percent of consumer through the year, and 67% monthly.

Local Media Source

Used in the past year

Used in the past month

Yellow Pages (print & Internet)



Search Engines



Print Directories (print Yellow Pages & white pages)



Print Yellow Pages



Internet Yellow Pages



Store Circulars, Email Promotions, or Coupons



Print White Pages






Internet Social Networks






"These results indicate that as media habits continue to evolve, consumers are relying on a growing spectrum of platforms to search for local civic and business information," said Dr. Marc Rysman, associate professor of economics at Boston University. "Local businesses today will need marketing strategies that reach consumers wherever they search – whether it's in the print Yellow Pages, search engines or other local media."

"Consumers are using multiple media across print, digital, and mobile platforms for locating small businesses," said Norton. "Businesses should regularly review and update their websites and Internet Yellow Pages listings, as well as their Google Places pages, Bing Business Portal listings and other sources of information online to maximize search engine optimization and online integration. That's how you stay competitive."

Yellow Pages Remain Valuable Source of Quality Leads

Consumers say Yellow Pages are the most trusted, most accurate source they choose first when searching for local business information.  Consumers also rate Yellow Pages as the first chosen, easiest and most convenient to access, and the source they find "best in class" for finding information on local businesses.

Local Search Media Attributes:


Yellow Pages
(print & Internet)

Print Directories

(print Yellow Pages & white pages)

Search Engines

Social Networks

Is the source I trust most for finding local business information





Is the most accurate source for finding local business information





Is the source I go to first for finding local business information





Is easy to access and convenient for finding local business information





Is the source that is "best in class" for finding local information





Historically consumers have turned to print Yellow Pages when they are ready to make a purchase.  Nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) print Yellow Pages lookups resulted in a purchase or purchase intent.

"Even as reach of search engines, Internet Yellow Pages and social networks continues to expand, print Yellow Pages continue to be strong in their ability to delivery quality sales leads," Norton said.  "Many believe that social networks have a built-in trust factor because they generate referrals from people they know, but consumers by wide margins say that they trust most the local information provided by Yellow Pages and search engines.  We'll continue to monitor for trends in this space as media further blur the lines between social and business listings."

Print Yellow Pages 'Look-ups' in the Billions

While usage of print Yellow Pages has declined as local media information has become available in more places, the number of times U.S. consumers look up information in a print directory continues to be in the billions. In 2010, consumers generated 11 billion references to print Yellow pages. comScore found that Internet Yellow Pages generated 5.6 billion searches in 2010.

The Local Media Tracking Study examines consumer usage of various media as sources of local business information. A separate comScore study evaluated usage of Internet Yellow Pages.

About the Local Search Association

Formerly the Yellow Pages Association, the Local Search Association ( is the largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile and social media that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers.  Association members include U.S. and international Yellow Pages companies, search engine marketers, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers. The Association has members in 29 countries.

Read the Local Search Association blog at and follow @LocalSearchAssn on Twitter. To learn more about Yellow Pages advertising, visit To choose which phone books you receive, or stop delivery of all directories, visit

About Burke

Founded in 1931, Burke is an independent, full service marketing research and decision support company. For more information, please visit  Results of the Local Media Tracking Study are based on more than 8,000 individual online and telephone interviews in a 12-month period.

About comScore

comScore, Inc. is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Doug McGraw

SOURCE Local Search Association