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We’ve been hearing more and more chatter in the Yellow Pages business about pay-per-call advertising programs, in print as well as online, moving beyond selective use and into the mainstream. Our latest conversation supporting this assertion was with Bill Dinan, president of the call measurement firm Telmetrics, who tells us pay for performance in traditional media, including Yellow Pages, is moving way beyond programs targeting rescue accounts and nontraditional advertisers.

Last week Telmetrics put out a press release with the headline, “Pay for Performance Advertising Shows Dramatic Growth as Local Search Marketers Deal with Economy’s Reduced Budgets.”

The announcement makes the point that pay-per-call programs are growing rapidly due to three drivers: the need for traditional media to prove value, the drive among advertisers to track conversions and the growing demand among advertisers for quantifiable results. The economy overlays all these drivers, as advertisers of all sizes seek ways to make their ad spend more efficient.

In our conversation, Dinan emphasized that in Yellow Pages, the most dramatic growth has been in print, particularly in recent months. He is seeing it grow among most of the publishers Telmetrics works with and across the local and national channels. “These are not trial programs,” Dinan tells us, emphasizing that PPC is becoming a key part of the Yellow Pages business model.

Of course, until publishers push further and further into PPC, gathering enough data to price a call accurately will be an issue.

Dinan says advertiser objections exist but can be overcome. For example, he says many programs include call recording to monitor quality of calls, and the quality of their handling, to reassure advertisers that they are not paying for low value calls. “Ninety-nine percent of the time they never go back and listen to the calls,” Dinan says.

The growth of pay per call, its implication for the industry and the mechanics of its implementation will be key topics at Directional Media Strategies ’09 next month in Orlando.

Dinan will speak on a panel titled “Fixing the Yellow Pages Business Model” on Day 2 of the conference that addresses how the way in which Yellow Pages publishers produce, distribute and charge for their products may change. Pay per call will be a significant part of this discussion. He will also be a guest on a BIA/Kelsey webinar tomorrow previewing some of the key conference themes.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. You’re absolutely correct there are massive changes in the Yellow Pages hegemony. And they are not always happy.

    Just as we’ve seen on TV and radio, the big books are trying to hold onto local advertisers and supplement their income and advertiser base with Per Inquiry national programs. In some cases, Direct Marketers are locking in fire sale pricing on Pay-Per-Call Yellow Pages.

    Would you be surprised to learn a major ground school concern, still gathers 5,000 students a year through advertising in the Yellow Pages?

    What’s different from 20 years ago is that this billion dollar company only pays for the part that works. So they end up with a multi-million dollar print campaign to 400 million homes with almost no money upfront.

    If we can help you or your readers to advertise in Yellow Pages, but pay only for results, please visit our website.

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