Ewan Watt

Posted by Ewan Watt


Is Yellow Pages Still Worth It In 2015?

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I constantly hear how businesses want to win more local customers, but they’re not certain about where the best place is to spend their local marketing dollars.

Is the Yellow Pages really the advertising dinosaur we think it is? In the last five years, the Yellow Pages paper version has shrunk by 75% in weight.

This prompted me to find out what the trends are with the online version of Yellow Pages and its major competitors – and where to get the best returns from online advertising.

This week our feature article analyses trends around the major online advertising options that are available for Australian businesses. Read on and we’ll show you:

  • Australian traffic trends on Yellow Pages, True Local,  Yahoo.com.au.
  • Where these sites get their traffic from.
  • How they compare with Google Australia.
  • The key strengths and weaknesses of each site.

How much traffic do Yellow Pages, True Local and Yahoo.com.au get per month?

One of the most common concerns of Australian business owners is their gut feeling that Yellow Pages is providing diminishing returns but still receiving big traffic stats. How do we know what to believe?

With that in mind, I ran some desktop stats on how these major Australian sites have been performing over the past 12 months to provide some independent traffic analysis outside Google.

YP Cartoon

Key Takeaways

  1. Traffic to the Yellow Pages and True Local are struggling to hold their ground.
  2. True Local’s traffic appears to have taken a big hit in September from search engines.
  3. Yahoo is not the force it used to be, despite having some wins in the search results for news and weather.

Where do Yellow Pages, TrueLocal.com.au and Yahoo.com.au get their traffic from?

Traffic Source

Key Takeaways

  1. Yellow Pages has clearly lost its position as a first point of access for business  information.
  2. Google is responsible for the majority of traffic to YellowPages.com.au and True Local.
  3. Yahoo.com.au – through its email service – still has strong brand equity and direct traffic.

The Domination of Google – 93% market share

According to Stat Counter Global Stats, in May 2014 Google was responsible for providing most of the traffic to the major local advertising sites for services businesses. This is a little different in the classifieds and shopping categories where Gumtree and Ebay are strong.

Google also dominates mobile search results through Adwords, plus the prominence of local Google+ listings.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of Yellow Pages, True Local.com.au and Yahoo.com.au?

strengths and weaknesses

Yellow Pages

  1. White Pages and Yellow Pages remain the authoritative sources for business listings across Australia.
  2. Strong presence for micro businesses and quick response businesses where search rankings have improved in some local search markets over the past 2 years.
  3. Large number of suburb targeting options.


  1. Far more competition than ever before with lots of sites helping consumers find and choose businesses to engage with.
  2. Is not effective within Ecommerce and online store categories.
  3. Weak value proposition for visual and high involvement product categories.
  4. Lacks the flexibility and customisation of other sites.

True local

  1. Relatively strong in café, restaurants category.
  2. Better visual support and advertising options for visual based categories.
  3. Has an easy and strong customer review system.
  4. More nimble and dynamic advertising options.
  1. Downward traffic spiral.
  2. Facing stiff competition from YellowPages, Google+ and Yelp in the reviews space.
  3. Relatively expensive for most service categories.
  4. No hook for customers to keep coming back.


  1. You can now advertise on Yahoo.com.au through the Google display network.
  2. Brand association with the Seven Network provides strong and consistent traffic volumes.
  3. Strong in lifestyle, travel and older demographic through the strength of Yahoo email.
  4. Unique article submission options through its news feed.
  1. Yahoo has lost its brand proposition for local search.
  2. Limited targeting options, harder to drive relevant traffic.
  3. Lots of noise, hard to stand out in the crowd.
  4. Limited number of businesses can use for advertising.


All the major local advertising sites are under pressure with the continued strength of Google and the growing strength of Facebook.

Australian businesses need to look beyond traffic and start measuring the quality of the traffic each site is providing.

Customers are consuming more forms of digital media than ever before. Just as customers have more choice, so do Australian businesses on where and when they want to position themselves.
If you believe the high level traffic numbers, you are likely to receive diminishing returns on your advertising investment.

Final Message:  Only 3% of visitors to the average website convert into a sales lead – and even less convert into a sale.

Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions about traffic quality when you are investing in local advertising in 2015 and beyond.

Consider targeting more niche, lower cost bids on Google Adwords and creating more personalised content to rank higher on less competitive, more creative organic search queries that reflect the intentions of searchers.

Most of all know your target market, measure success, continuously improve and be specific about your goals.

Also In the News

  1. The ROI Wrap: Are You Prepared For “Mobilegeddon”?
  2. Prepare Now For Google Mobile Search Shakeup
  3. The ROI Wrap: Why Video Marketing is King in 2015