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The trend of print directory ad dollars shifting to digital continues, according to findings from BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor (LCM 18) upcoming look at SMBs who use directories for advertising and promotion.

In LCM Wave 18, “net decreasers” — those planning to decrease print spend less those planning to increase — reached 19.2 percent. ​Despite having low intention to increase print spending, PYP advertisers are planning to increase overall marketing spend at a net rate of 20.3 percent. This all points to a powerful shift away from PYP into other media formats. PYP advertisers have sizable budgets — $29,146 annually. As this budget shifts away from PYP they will be looking for solutions that offer clear performance metrics and a high service component.

“The growing number of ‘net decreasers’ we see moving spend out of print Yellow Pages is consistent with the revenue trends we are seeing throughout the directory publishing industry,” said BIA/Kelsey analyst Charles Laughlin.

“Publishers are responding to this in a variety of ways. Some are moving aggressively to transform themselves into fully digital business. Others are reinvesting in the core print directory in order to improve the consumer experience and stem the declines in usage that presage the decline in revenue. One of the keys to survival for this industry is doing a better job of converting existing print customers into long term digital customers.”

The LCM data offers some insights on how to effectively sell ​to directory SMBs. According to LCM 18, 40 percent of SMBs who advertise in directories prefer to go through their directory salesperson to purchase digital advertising. According to our LCM survey data, directory SMBs prefer (+50 percent) third party management vs. DIY on their advertising. Offering managed solutions along with digital advertising — especially social media posting/responding — is attractive to this group.

For Directory SMBs, social paid ads are approximately 12 percent of their digital budget; offering a targeted social strategy on top of their social presence management can help drive incremental spend. ​

The full report can be viewed and downloaded by clients of BIA/Kelsey here. Click here to purchase the Directory SMBs — LCM Wave 18 report. To purchase any of our other Local Commerce Monitor drill-down reports, check out our new BIA/Kelsey Shop.


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