Surfing Web NOT The Same Thing as Buying Locally

Yellow Page publishers take note — a growing number of Americans are going online for fun, or to just kill time.

That’s not just my opinion, it’s the findings in a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey talked with 2,260 U.S. adults from July to August. On a given day, more than half (53%) of those 18-29 year olds go online for no specific reason except to have fun, and 81% use the Internet as a diversion at least occasionally.

One of the perceptions vs. reality comments I often hear is that “young people” (that famous 19-35 year old age group) never use print yellow pages. Based on this confirming research, those comments are somewhat correct. But the fact remains it is not as if they are on exclusively going to the web to shop/buy either, at least not during the majority of the time they are playing around. The findings do point to the extent to which the Internet has become a competitor to other types of advertising media, since things such as “watching TV” and “listening to radio” can now be done online. For example, Americans watched a record 42.6 billion videos online in October (comScore data). And for those that follow the stock market, you may have noticed the new $1 billion IPO that Zynga filed on Friday for a company that is in the growing online social gaming segment.

More results from the survey show that 58% of American adults overall (and 74% of those online) go online for fun at least sometimes, up from 29% in 2000 and 40% in 2005. The shift toward more people going online for fun cuts across various demographic segments. For example, the proportion of whites, African Americans and Hispanics using the Internet as a diversion has increased between 25% and 28% for each in the last decade. In terms of gender, the share of men and women doing so has roughly doubled to 62% and 54%, respectively. Similarly, large jumps were seen across varying education and income levels.

The main point being that just because “everyone” is online/using mobile apps, doesn’t necessarily correlate that all of their buying activating is constrained to those media, or even in using those media exclusively for their shopping/buying information.

Given that reading a print Yellow Pages has never been confused with “having fun” or “killing time”, the ROI that a local advertiser can expect from their Yellow Pages advertising program is still solid…

3 responses to “Surfing Web NOT The Same Thing as Buying Locally

  1. Thanks to the Tarheel Page folks for finding this info late last week

  2. Good job Jeremy Snyder and excellent information for marketing.

  3. Pingback: Local Connection » Blog Archive » Industry News

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