IIt’s been said that nothing lasts forever, and in the digital age, that is especially true. During the dot-com boom, tech empires were built up fast, and then toppled even faster. But one relic has somehow survived long past its due date: the yellow pages.
For decades, yellow pages were a staple in every American home. If you needed to find a local business or service, you automatically consulted the yellow pages. And because of this, business would pay big money to advertise in the yellow pages. After all, if everyone had one and everyone used one – why wouldn’t you want a prime placement?
The internet changed all of that forever. The web put all of the world’s information instantly at your fingertips, including business listings. If you need a telephone number or address today, where do you go? Chances are it’s not to some big yellow book in your junk drawer. Instead, you fire up your laptop or smartphone and use the web. And you’re not alone; 84 percent of people using internet search are looking for local results.
And as the internet rises, the yellow pages fall. Since 1999, yellow pages use has dropped by 55 percent, and continues to plummet. And as use drops, so does advertising. When was the last time you looked at your copy of the yellow pages (if you still have one)? The book has gotten considerably smaller over the years, as more businesses abandon the desolate yellow pages landscape for greener (online) pastures.
We tested this in our own office. We analyzed the size of the yellow pages from the nearby Tri-Valley area. Comparing this year’s version with the 2012 yellow pages, we found that the yellow pages lost nearly 20 percent of its pages in just two years.
The writing is on the wall; the yellow pages are not long for this world. Someday soon, the print yellow pages will cease to exist. And it may be sooner than you think. Last year, Street Fight Magazine asked five business experts when we might see the final edition of the print yellow pages. The consensus? Within five years. Only one of the experts could foresee the print edition existing ten years from now.
If you’re still advertising in the yellow pages, it’s time to do what most of the world has done: move on. There are better ways to spend your advertising dollars. Embrace the digital age and use the internet for your business’ marketing. We can help you transition to the new era of marketing, and leave those antiquated yellowed pages behind.
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