Yellow Pages and directory services have been adapted in a variety of ways in response to the rising role of the Internet in everyday life and the economy. Facebook’s newest reveal will challenge the Yellow Pages industry with upcoming adjustments to their Facebook Messenger app that will make it easier for consumers to engage with chat bots and businesses.
Facebook’s messaging feature previously lived on the native Facebook mobile application before migrating to its own separate app in 2014. With billions of messages sent a day through Facebook, the move to a separate application was framed as a way for the messaging experience to receive its own preferential treatment. The decision has paid dividends for Facebook, with Facebook Messenger recently reaching 1.2 billion users as the most popular messaging app in North America, according to SimilarWeb.
Since then, Facebook Messenger’s newest innovation comes in the form of bots, which allow customers to interact with artificial intelligence through their favorite brands and companies. Currently, Messenger has 100,000 active bots; however, only 4 percent of companies have deployed chat bots and 31 percent are currently testing them, according to Forrester Research. For the millions of businesses who have active pages on Facebook, the expectations for customer service and the role of artificial intelligence in business roles has been raised.
According to Business Insider, the newest addition to the Messenger bot software will include a new “Discover” tab, which will make it easier for consumers to find and interact with brands. Because of its large network of data, the Messenger Discover tab created a platform where users can discover local businesses through mapping locations or searching by brand. The incentive for businesses to participate is high, as Facebook has already become a central hub and chat bots can now serve as a customer service tool. Half of U.S. consumers say they prefer to use some form of messaging for customer service, according to Aspect.
Yellow Pages and directory services have evolved to take on the digital age, as consumers have become increasingly accustomed to searching online for products and businesses. Dirxion offers print Yellow Pages services with flip-and-feel online versions as well as an Internet Yellow Pages product called Local Search. Online versions of the print Yellow Pages use PDFs of the publication and are easy to navigate while providing flexibility to print and distribution costs. With the Local Search product, Dirxion creates and provides a website for local directories to sell space on that website to local businesses to advertise on. SEO strategies can be implemented on the sites, pushing the Local Search engine up higher when customers search for products or businesses advertised on the site.
About 22 percent of Internet users in the U.S. used an online version of a printed yellow pages service in the past month, according to a 2017 study conducted on behalf of Local Search Association (LSA). The amount hadn’t fluctuated since the survey was also conducted in 2015, when 23 percent of U.S. Internet users fell into that category. Internet yellow pages (IYP), such as Dirxion’s Local Search, accounted for 27 percent of the respondents in 2016 and 28 percent in 2015.
The adoption of the Internet format helps explain why yellow pages have remained popular sources of information for some consumers and have allowed some publishers to remain profitable. According to an article published by Thumbtack, 68 percent of Americans have a yellow pages directory in their home, something the article credits to the success of some publishers releasing digital versions of yellow pages.
An aging population means the demographics for yellow pages users has shifted as well.A 2013 Thrive Analytics report discovered 50 percent of seniors (ages 65+) are extremely likely to use yellow pages as a source of information as opposed to 14 percent with members of Generation Y (ages 18-29). The types of consumers who have continued to use print yellow pages are classified as “laggards,” those who prefer to use less modern technology due to skepticism or force of habit. A growing senior population will continue to help directory companies. Physical directories are also used in more rural areas where Internet access is either slower or harder to access than in more densely populated areas.
People have also gone to yellow pages depending on their needs. Even more tech-savvy individuals turn to yellow pages for their local needs. The LSA found that even though search engines had the market for services such as hotels and restaurants, an equal number of users use print yellow pages to find plumbers, electricians and roofers.
While search engines dominate for services like hotels, restaurants, and real estate, equal numbers of customers turn to the print yellow pages to find plumbers, electricians, and roofers. — Thumbtack, 2015
Dirxion offers print yellow pages services with flip-and-feel online versions as well as an Internet yellow pages product called Local Search. Online versions of the print yellow pages use PDFs of the publication and are easy to navigate while providing flexibility to print and distribution costs. With the Local Search product, Dirxion creates and provides a website for local directories to sell space on that website to local businesses to advertise on. SEO strategies can be implemented on the sites, pushing the Local Search engine up higher when customers search for products or businesses advertised on the site.
We are proud to announce that one of Dirxion’s online directory customers, GeorgiaLocalSearch.com, has been selected as a Cobb Chamber of Commerce 2017 Top 25 Small Business of the Year. Dirxion and Georgia Local Search work directly together through Dirxion’s Local Search platform to provide its web presence, an interactive yellow pages platform that allows local businesses to attract consumers through business listings, advertising and search engine optimization.
Local Search specialist April D’ippolito works with Ken and Donna Rae Adams, the owners of Georgia Local Search. She sees their dedication to their business and its many advertisers.
“Ken and Donna Rae are passionate about helping grow their advertisers’ business. They love Cobb County and its surrounding area and are proud to call it home,” D’ippolito said. “They are highly involved with their customers and it shows in their results.”
GeorgiaLocalSearch.com uses SEO practices and business listings to attract local customers. Once there, customers often find specific information on a page dedicated to a local business in Cobb County and the surrounding area. On this page, businesses list accurate locations and contact information, along with additional information like coupons, menus or videos. Premium listings are given preference on Georgia Local Search’s homepage.
For smartphone and tablet users, the site is optimized, providing a responsive experience. This way, Georgia Local Search’s advertisers receive exposure not just on desktops but also on smartphones and tablets.
On their website, the Adams credit the influence of God in their daily decisions and future success. They plan to remain privately owned to help continue their growth and provide job security to those who work with them.