Category Archives: Mobile Search

[SCREENSHOTS] Evolution of YellowPages.ca Mobile (2009-2011)

Did you know that 30% of YellowPages.ca traffic comes from mobile? Source: YPG.com. This news actually was announced during YPGs 1st quarter results and today, Greg Sterling did a post on his blog regarding this as well, see “YPG: 30% of Our Searches Come from Mobile“. This number is pretty impressive when you consider that only 2-years ago that number represented well less than 1%.

Another piece of news today is that the new YellowPages.ca application is a featured application in the iTunes store – this is pretty big news as you can’t buy your way to this placement, your application has to be deemed pretty good for the Apple editorial team to pick up.

YellowPages.ca Application Featured in the iTunes Store

YellowPages.ca Application Featured in the iTunes Store

For this blog post I thought it would be great to take a look back.

Having been with YPG since 2006, as an employee (actually been working with the company since 2001), I managed the team that launched YPG into the world of iPhone applications. Back in 2009 there was not a lot of focus on mobile, but since then the mobile team has expanded and is now under the leadership of Matthieu Houle, a colleague and friend of mine who as we say at YPG, is “rocking da house”. Under his leadership there have been 2 more releases of the YellowPages.ca iPhone application with the most recent only 1 month old.

Here is the evolution of the home page of the iPhone Application for YellowPages.ca

2009 (features included basic search for business, people and reverse, display ads, photos and videos)  

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application From 2009
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application From 2009

2010 (features included hot links to popular categories, streamlined and more intuitive interface, all YP.ca content including videos and photos)

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2010
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2010 Search Results Page

2011 (features include ratings and reviews, type ahead for categories and locations and customizable popular buttons)

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2011
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2011 Search Results Page

Download the latest application here in the iTunes store.

On November 8, 2009, I did a blog post, “Canada’s Yellow Pages(TM) Mobile App, over 1/2 Million Downloads and 3 Reasons for its Success” which in terms of the number of downloads is no longer accurate (we are over a couple of million) but the 3 reasons why I believe Canadians love this application hold.

If you don’t want to read the full article, let me summarize the 3 reasons why back then Canadians loved this app and why it holds true today –

1) Simplicity,
2) Content (even more so today) and
3) Usability (which gets better with every release).

[Screenshots] Yahoo Mobile Integrates YellowAPI Data for Canada

The last couple of months have been extremely busy on the business development front at Yellow Pages Group, hence my lack of posting. However, one integration that we have completed and launched is with Yahoo Mobile where we integrated YellowPages.ca data through our YellowAPI platform. This is a great win for Yahoo users and a great win for YPG advertisers.

Here is a walk through:

If you have not already, check out Yahoo on your iPhone. You can do this by typing in Yahoo.com or Yahoo.ca or going directly to m.Yahoo.com. You will land at the following home page:

Yahoo Mobile Home Page

If this is the first time you visit this page, Yahoo will ask you to use your location. If you select yes, it will use your current default location. Now you have two search options –

1) type in any local query, such as Dentists or
2) type in Dentists, Location if you want to search outside of your location.

Yahoo Mobile Search for Dentists

Yahoo Mobile Search for Dentists in Calgary

Next you will be presented with the local results. Note: yahoo did a great job of detecting local intent queries, meaning, that in the above example for Dentists – the local results are at the top of the page, whereas if you searches for Britney Spears, you would not see any local results provided by YellowPages.ca.

Yahoo Mobile Search Results for Dentists in Calgary

At the search results level you have 3 options. First option is to click on the company name to get more details (see screenshot below), second option is to call the business directly or third option is to see more results.

If you select the first option you are automatically redirected to mobile.yp.ca (which is the mobile enhanced version of yellowpages.ca) where all the content, ad, video, pictures, maps, etc. are mobile optimized.

Mobile YellowPages.ca Page for Pineridge Dental Clinic

So what do you think of this integration?

One Helluva Week for YellowPages.ca Mobile

Well the last 7-days have been nothing short of a great week for YellowPages.ca mobile.

Some recaps:

– 1.8M downloads of its mobile applications
– 20% of business looks-up are coming from Mobile by the end of 2010
– launch of the Windows Mobile 7 Application, first local search application for Windows Mobile 7 (read press release)
– integration on one of Canada’s largest mobile news applications and mobile website, The Globe and Mail
– launch of AutoTrader.ca application for Blackberry (check out the Blackberry App World to download)

All in all, the momentum of YellowPages.ca is pretty impressive and is generating massive value for users and businesses a like.

In case you missed it, here is the screenshot of the Globe and Mail integration:

Owly Images

Download the Globe and Mail application from iTunes.

For the full list of mobile application provided by YellowPages.ca, check out YellowPages.ca Mobile.

In case you are wondering what the reach of Yellow Pages Group is on the web, check out my post from last week; Yellow Pages Group is Canada’s Largest Canadian Internet Company! Is It True? Yes, Here’s Why [Part 1]

It’s Time for Canadian SMBs to Think Mobile

Over the past few years I have blogged often about news in the Canadian Space regarding mobile. Up until this point in time, I never stated explicitly that mobile was a necessity for SMBs in Canada but, we are at the tipping point in Canada of mobile usage (especially SmartPhone usage) and it is now very important for SMBs to start thinking mobile and most importantly make sure their content is mobile friendly.

What is mobile friendly content from a SMB? In a nutshell, it is when you can view your content on a mobile device (Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) in a native format by which the user does not have to zoom or pinch the screen (for all your iPhone users). For this example, I am going to use my personal Dentist, Optimum Dentistry in Marda Loop to demonstrate the difference between Mobile Enhanced Content and Rendering on a Mobile Phone.

This is Rendering on a iPhone (and is not mobile enhanced content):

Home Page:
Optimum Dentistry Not Mobile Enhanced Home Page

Hours of Operations Page:
Optimum Dentistry Not Mobile Enhanced Hours of Operation Page

This is Mobile Enhanced Content:

Home Page:
Optimum Dentistry Mobile Enhanced Home Page

Hours of Operations Page:
Optimum Dentistry Mobile Enhanced Hours of Operations Page

As a user – which one your you prefer to land on?

Mobile enhanced content basically means rendering for the native device in which the user is viewing, which really means that your website designer need to put some specific code on your website that detects the users device and serves up content formatted for that device.

Normally, mobile sites will consist of less content than website. Keep in simple – a) what you do, b) hours of operations, c) map and driving directions (you can usually use the native device for this), d) what you sell. Keep all the enhanced content, flash, massive photo galleris and in some cases if you have advanced forms or e-commerce off you mobile site; devices are too small and in mobile, LESS = MORE.

To recap:

1) If you don’t own a iPhone or Blackberry, find somebody who does and type in your website URL on the phone’s browser
2) If your site looks like the first example above, it is not mobile enhanced, call your web designer and if he/she can’t help, fire them and find somebody else
3) If your site looks like the second example above, then you are good to go

What About Mobile Marketing in Canada?

Well this is where it gets very easy. There are really 2 key places that you need to be concerned about when it comes to mobile marketing in Canada. Google and YellowPages.ca. NOTE: if you are a client of YellowPages.ca, all your business listing information gets syndicated to Google (as well as MSN and Yahoo). If you want a quick snapshot of syndication in Canada, check out an old blog post titled – Directory Assistance in Canada – Paid and Free DA – Facts Every Consumer and Small Business Owner Should Know.

Both Google and YellowPages.ca are completely mobile enhanced web properties. See examples below for looking at data on Ramanda Hotel and Suites in Vancouver.

Google:
Ramada Inn and Suites in Vancouver on Google Mobile

To learn more about Google Mobile click here.

YellowPages.ca:
Ramada Inn and Suites in Vancouver on YellowPages.ca Mobile
Ramada Inn and Suites in Vancouver on YellowPages.ca Mobile

To learn more about YellowPages.ca Mobile click here.

The above are mobile web. In the application space, Google does not disclose its download numbers, but YellowPages.ca has now been downloaded over 1.8M times, which by all accounts makes it the most downloaded local application in Canada. At this point, any content that you have on YellowPages.ca is automatically ported over to YellowPages.ca Mobile + YellowPages.ca Mobile Applications, so SMBs are getting growing coverage.

In March of this year, I posted the following blog post which shows you some screenshots of the iPhone application by YellowPages.ca – New YellowPages.ca Mobile Application Available. In June, I followed up with the following post introducing the iPad application for YellowPages.ca – First Look – YellowPages.ca iPad Application which managed to become #1 within 24-hours of its launch and has consistently stayed in the top 50 downloaded applications.

Screenshot of iPad Application Search Results:
iPad Application Search Results for Calgary

Enhanced SMB Content on the iPad:
iPad Application Enhanced Business Content

Lastly, back in April I did a comparison of the top mobile applications in Canada, from a SMB perspective – the voting is still open if you want to vote for your favorite mobile interface, please do so.

In Conclusion …. 3 Tips for Canadian SMBs on Mobile Thinking

1) Make sure your content is mobile enhanced on your website URL (talk to your web design company)

2) Make sure your content is distributed in YellowPages.ca and Google (this will give you the majority of coverage and at this point is included in both offerings, no need to pay extra)

3) In your analytics, track the number of mobile views (you will probably be surprised at the increasing number of your customers who are accessing your basic business data via mobile).

Overtime as the mobile space heats up, this simplified strategy will change, but for now, keep it simple, prep your content and start to monitor usage.

Yellow Pages Group is Canada’s Largest Canadian Internet Company! Is It True? Yes, Here’s Why [Part 1]

Full disclosure; I am the head of business development for Yellow Pages Group in Canada, check out my LinkedIn profile. What I will share with you below is public information that I felt was time to compile into one post. With the recent announcement of the SMB Targeted Campaign by YPG and with prominant bloggers like Greg Sterling posting, “YPG Aims New Brand Campaign at SMBs” the question will be raised – is it true? Is Yellow Pages Group Canada really the largest Canadian Internet company?

I get asked a lot about YPG in networking events, from former colleagues and friends as to what exactly is YPG doing in the online space. Many people wrongly assume that we simply print books and that we are irrelevant to SMBs when it comes to the web. When explained to them how active YPG is online, what properties we own, and our mission to put our advertisers in the “path of ready to buy consumers”, they usually start to see the full picture of how RELEVANT YPG actually is in the Canadian Internet Landscape and why I am as passionate as I am about this business.

To start with, here is the print ad that is running across the country and here is a link to the Radio Ads:

Yellow Pages Group - Let Us ReIntroduce Ourselves as Canada's Largest Internet Company

I will break this post into the following 3 parts to explain the rationale regarding this claim of Canada’s Largest Internet Company:

1) Reach
2) Content
3) Revenue

#1) Let’s Talk Reach and Distribution

When I talk reach, I like to use a third party company to measure relative reach. Therefore, below I will use ComScore Media Metrix as the benchmark to speak about reach. There are other methods to track reach, a) internal logs, b) alexa, c) compete, etc. but in the Canadian Media Landscape – Comscore is still a standard when it comes to companies making decisions about spending on digital ad budgets as well as completely independent, therefore I use them as the benchmark.

Let’s start by looking at the September 2010 ComScore Numbers for the top 20 Properties used by Canadians. Here is the list:

September 2010 ComScore Top 20 Web Properties in Canada

If you re-sort this list based to only Canadian Owned Companies, or majority owned by Canadians, the top 20 list breaks down to only 6 companies.

#1) Yellow Pages Group
#2) Sympatico.ca Property
#3) Canoe Network
#4) CTVglobemedia
#5) Postmedia Network (formerly, CanWest Interactive)
#6) The Weather Network Meteomedia

Based on this metric, it is clear that YPG is in fact Canada’s largest Canadian Owned Internet company.

One important aspect of the YPG network is its unique position of “ready to buy consumers” who have location intentions. The portfolio of properties that makes up Yellow Pages Group (see below) are a collection of sites that have intention to buy as a common element. This is a powerful as other leading web properties are focused on or have elements of research, education or entertainment. The leading search engine, Google, reports that 20% of their queries are location based as an example of how even major search engines are only partially used for the purposes of local.

In terms of the buying funnel it is very accurate to say that YPG Users are closer to the buying decision, which makes them highly qualified leads. If you disagree with this, I would like to hear your opinion why?

Here is a sample of the sites that make up the Yellow Pages Group network:

YellowPages.ca & PagesJaunes.ca
Canada411.ca
RedFlagDeals.com
Restaurantica.com
SuperPages.ca
AutoTrader.ca & AutoHebdo.net
LesPac.com
BuySell.com
HomeTrader.ca
CanPages.ca
ZipLocal.ca

On the Social Front – earlier this year I did a post on How Social is Yellow Pages Group in Canada – if you are interested, check out to see how active we are in Social Media.

On the distribution front, YPG is one of Canada’s most active companies that continually looks to distribute its content + its advertisers content throughout the web eco-system. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Search Engines – YPG listing data is distributed to Google, Yahoo and MSN. If your business is listed on YellowPages.ca, it will be listed on all major search engines in Canada. See attribution at the bottom of this sample from Google.

Google Maps Showing YellowPages.ca Attribution

YellowPages.ca Attribution on Google Maps

Major Portals – YellowPages.ca is integrated on all of Canada’s major portals, MSN, Sympatico, Yahoo, AOL, PostMedia Network, The Weather Network to name a few. Here are some example of doing a search for DENTISTS-TORONTO:

MSN – Dentists in Toronto
Yahoo – Dentists in Toronto
Sympatico – Dentists in Toronto
AOL – Dentists in Toronto
The Weather Network – Dentists in Toronto

PostMedia Including Sites Such as:
Canada.com – Dentists in Canada
Montreal Gazette – Dentists in Montreal
Calgary Herald – Dentists in Calgary
Vancouver Sun – Dentists in Vancouver
Edmonton Journal – Dentists in Edmonton
Ottawa Citizen – Dentists in Ottawa

Telcos – Distribution through major Telco websites including Bell.ca, MyTelus.com, MTS through MyWinnipeg.com, Bell Aliant, NorthernTel, TBay Tel.

At the end of September, YPG and Telus announced a first of its kind relationship in Canada to preload the YellowPages Mobile Application on Telus Blackberries.

Other VerticalsPraized Media, FindItInCanada, WhitePages Network, DuProPrio.com, ByTheOwner.com, Lozzal

Developer Community

Last month, YPG released an Open API called YellowAPI.com to the Development Community, read the press release here.

YellowAPI.com – The Yellow API allows ANYONE to build their own applications and mashups by providing dynamic local business data. We supply you the tools to encourage innovation and expand your audience reach to 33 million people. Read more about our data and opportunities in the Overview.

Mobile

In June, YPG debuted its iPad Application (see my post when this was the #1 app in iTunes) and according to the press release was approaching 1 Million Downloads of its mobile applications. As of today, this number is well over 1 Million.

Think about this for a second.

Over 1 Million Downloads of applications, for a 100% pure Canadian application that is not a game. There are many great Canadians Applications for SmartPhones, TheWeatherNetwork, GlobeandMail, Sportnet, etc. which all are incredible in their vertical, but YPG is the only one focused solely on connecting local buyers and consumers – that is pretty cool.

In terms of mobile development YPG Canada is also a leader, releasing a specific version for each major platform used by Canadians. Check out more at Yellow Pages Mobile.

Yellow Pages Group's Mobile Application for Major Mobile Platforms

Although there is no 3rd party that benchmarks applications, I can tell you personally that I have talked with many of the major players in Canada and the US and at over 1M downloads, YPG is not only a leader in Canada (all agree that we likely #1) but would be a leading application down south as well. When it comes to local mobile applications, there is little doubt that YPG would be #1.

So What Does This Mean For a Small Business

If your business relies on directive advertising as a source of leads, YPG still drives a significant number of leads. In my upcoming post on revenue and the SMB portfolio, I will explain how YPG has embraced other sources of lead management for SMBs, namely Search Engines, to continue to drive its mission of connecting buyers and sellers.

In the interim, I suggest you take a look at the following posts, some of these are a couple of years old but still very relevant for Small Business Owners.

Directive vs. Creative Advertising

Reverse Engineers the Local Media Mix – Who Gets Credit for the Sale

Why Really Smart Advertisers Look Beyond the Big Shiny Numbers

Hits, Page Views and Unique Visitors – Which Metric Should I Use?

What Do You Think of Part 1?

Mobile Applications Bring Local Relevancy to Gluten-Free Restaurants and Drive iPhone Sales?

I have a very close friend of mine that was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. In case you are not aware, Celiac’s is a is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Read more at Wikipedia or Celiac.com.

The way to manage Celiac’s is to go on a strick Gluten-Free diet (or the removal of all wheat product from your diet). If my friend eats food with gluten in it, it can put her in bed for a couple of days and can be quite painful. On a personal note, I have also moved to a gluten-free reduced diet with my wife since the fall of last year.

Since my wife and I started our gluten-free reduces lifestyle we find the web is a pretty good place to go for generic information on going gluten-free. One of the challenges is looking for for gluten-free restaurants in cities. Not saying that it does not work but here are my specific issues with using the web.

Try – “gluten-free in XXXXX” where XXXXX is any city. You will usually end up with links to information sources on celiac’s or gluten-free and some resources of Gluten-Free restaurants. Some local businesses who have done a good job of optimizing for this keyword will rise to the top, but in a lot of cases, I notice businesses who say they have gluten-free options which does not mean they have a specific gluten-free menu. As my friend pointed out, it can be extremely frustrating to find details on either gluten-free menu’s or restaurants that cater to people with Celiac’s (which BTW cross-contamination can be a big issue).

So my specific issue with the web:

1) results for a city are usually a hodgepodge or results of “information” sites and some local sites

2) some of the directories have way to many restaurants come up under gluten-free but there is no information as to specific gluten-free menus or how they prevent cross-contamination. Net effect, not really relevant.

3) I need to be in front of computer. This can be a real challenge when you are on the go to have to boot up your computer. My mobile phone is always on me and trying to surf the web on a mobile phone can be challenging at best.

I have recently discovered a really cool application for my iPhone called Celiac Feed. In a nutshell; a user generated application that works based on the location of your iPhone to provide you with a list of restaurants/bakeries in your area that provide gluten-free options. The locations only make the list when one of the users recommends. In the Celiac world I have found out that people love to share information and really support each other. Therefore, the level of trust from these recommendations goes way up.

This application was probably one reason why my friend decided to purchase her iPhone as opposed to a Blackberry. She was on the fence for awhile in terms of which one she would buy. After I showed her this application (and although the information in Canada is limited) and the user base seems pretty small at this point, she decided on the iPhone and has been active on this application every since.

This got me thinking about the major shift that is happening to mobile. Was this one case where the application drove a sale of hardware and how many times a day is this happening now? Not sure if you agree this is a profound as I think it is, but I find it very interesting that a tiny niche application can drive a $500+ sale. For me, this is transformative as more and more devices become ubiquitous, it will be the utility of the device that will drive sales.

For niche local based applications, smart phones are far more superior than trying to search on the web. As an example, this morning at the Bed and Breakfast we are staying in (The Cottage in Qualicum Beach, BC) the owners knew we had people coming with a gluten-free intolerance and actually went out and purchased Gluten-Free bread for us. The bread itself was amazing, it actually tasted like real bread. They bought it at a place called Village Bulk Foods that has in it a Silly-Yak Bakery (a gluten-free kitchen) where they make breads, muffins and more.

So I immediately added this a recommendation to Celiac Feed along with my comments for everybody in this community. This was easier that trying to go to the web to post and is now immediately available to this mobile community.

If you have a gluten-free intolerance and an iPhone, I strongly recommend you download and Celiac Feed application it works well. More people need to use and contribute to it to make it really rock in Canada.

Here are some screenshots of the application from my location in Qualicum Beach, BC.

Celiac Feed Search Results in Qualicum Beach

Results for Village Bulk Foods in Qualicum Beach

Have you tried other gluten-free applications for your smart phone? Please comment below with your experiences in using mobile in a niche way.