Not too long ago, the first method anyone thought about to get local information was to look in the Yellow Pages. Had the company’s owners shown a little more initiative, this habit might have persisted into the digital age; however, hesitation in getting the database online followed by a failure to adapt it and make searching easy left a gap that competitors quickly took advantage of. Now, having changed its name to YP and snapped up some new assets, the original king of local search is back and seems determined to make waves.
The plan to move back into the local search market as a serious online competitor seems to originate with the company’s recently appointed CMO, Allison Checchi, who was previously in charge of business development. Checchi is convinced that YP has the potential to compete with the likes of Google and the swiftly growing Yelp, once again becoming one of the primary choices for those trying to find local institutions and businesses. YP is particularly keen to focus on the mobile market, having established that this is an area where smaller companies struggle to compete with the big brands.
YP’s clout in the mobile sector was significantly boosted by its acquisition of Sense Networks last month, improving its targeting and tracking capabilities. “With the acquisition, YP now has a best-in-class platform to develop audience and location-targeted display products. Sense provides unique access to mobile user behavioral and lifestyle attributes such as shopping habits, dining preferences, leisure activities and highly accurate demographics,” said a YP spokesperson at the time, adding: “Integration of the Sense team gives us top engineering and business talent in the mobile display space.”
A name – even an altered one – can count for a lot, and YP seems to be having no difficulty attracting the advertisers it needs for the first stage of its expansion. Its experience is really making a difference when it comes to finance, and it already has five times as much revenue coming in as Yelp. It is now the second-largest company in the US in mobile advertising and claims to be able to reach 90% of monthly users with its local ad network.
What does this mean for SMEs? It seems advisable to keep a close eye on developments at YP, get registered and watch out for offers worth taking advantage of during its push to extend its reach. This may be a comeback with an impact.