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:
I will break this post into the following 3 parts to explain the rationale regarding this claim of Canada’s Largest Internet Company:
#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:
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
#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
- AutoTrader.ca & AutoHebdo.net
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Do You Think of Part 1?
So last week I was at the Kelsey Conference in San Diego during the brand relaunch for Yellow Pages Group. With our brand relaunch, we also launched a series of funny television commercials. One of the those commercials is emerging as the one that seem to have gotten the most traction in YouTube and even has it own fan page on Facebook. The video I am referring to is the Oily Man video, see below.
Since I started working with Yellow Pages Group in 2006 we have produced (not me specifically, but our communications teams) some pretty funny ads for our Yellow Pages business and our Auto Trader business.
Here are my favorite 3 ads; 1 from our current Yellow Pages Group campaign and 2 ads from previous Auto Trader campaigns. Which one do you think is the funniest ad?
Yellow Pages Group Oily Guy (2010)
Auto Trader Research (2008)
Auto Trader “Big Fatty” (2006)
Want to see more ads. Follow the links below:
I am going to have a little fun with this post by displaying some videos of my working colleagues (including myself). Check out the videos and answer this question:
Which Yellow Pages Group Employee Would You Invite For for Dinner?
Tracy Smith speaks about YPGs Search Marketing Solutions Offer
Estee Langis talks about attending SES Toronto
Darby Sieben (myself) being interviewed by Greg Jarboe
Considering this is my blog, I figured I would give myself an extra plug. Here is my interview with Omar Sachedina talking about the Yellow Pages Answers Service.
If content truly is king then you need to have a lot of content to pull off a portal dedicated to videos for small and medium sized businesses in Canada. Yellow Pages Group, Canada’s leading directory provider, is one such company that can make this come true and have just launched its Canadian Business Video Portal. Connected to Canada’s leading business directory, YellowPages.ca, the content of its video portal is both rich in breadth and depth.
For small businesses in Canada who are using video as a means to attract new customers this is a real win. First Yellow Pages Group launched its Canadian Business YouTube Channel, second it incorporated all its videos into its iTunes, Blackberry and Android applications and now it further distributes this content through a dedicated video only portal that connects consumers back to their profile page on YellowPages.ca. This kind of reach for a business owner for video advertising in Canada is truly unprecedented. Check out some of my previous posts on the above topics; youtube channel and mobile applications. NOTE: as of this posting, the videos on the YouTube Channel from Yellow Pages Group has received over 589,000 views, which is pretty decent considering these are informational about local businesses and not entertainment videos.
So let’s take a walk through of the video portal:
The Home Page
First thing you will notice is that this site uses IP detection to automatically assign a city – in my case Calgary, Alberta. In some cases you may notice that the city that is defaulted is not your city at all – this is an issue with IP detection and your host provider may be routing from another city. No worries though, in the top left hand corner you can simply change your default location.
The layout is pretty simple – navigation categories on the left, main video content in the middle and related videos to the right. Recently added videos are located towards the bottom of the page. Here is a screen shot of what I see this morning. What is neat is that if you refresh the home page, you will get a new profiled video so the site is changing all the time.
What good is a video channel if you can’t share it with your friends. Every video has 4 social elements – Add to Facebook, Add to Twitter, Copy URL and Embed Video. The Embed Video is nice for any small business owner who wants to add their video to their website. The Add to Facebook will load Facebook.com directly and the Add to Twitter will launch Twitter.com.
Example of the Add to Facebook feature:
Example of clicking on Embed This Video:
After you copy the code, here is what the embedding actually looks like. In this case I have decided to use the video from Universal Ford Lincoln Sales.
There are 17 main categories in the video channel, but with tens of thousands of videos you need further refinement options. Here is an example of clicking on the Automotive, Sales and Services category and what the refinement by category looks like. If you are searching for a business by name, you can also sort alphabetically. Other popular categories include; Eat In & Out, Health & Beauty, Home Improvement & Real Estate and Travel and Accommodations to name just a few.
If you select Automobile Dealers-New Cars, you will get a nice small list as follows:
Destination for Any Click on Business Profile
Throughout this video portal you will notice links that say “See Business Profile”. All these links will go to the profile page on YellowPages.ca for all these businesses that contains some pretty rich information. Here is the example from Universal Ford. You will notice the video, link to website, opening hours, products and services and other features such as weather conditions, driving directions and what’s nearby.
As local business video is becoming more and more part of the buying decision, I think more and more Canadians will be demanding a richer experience. There truly is something about video that makes the experience so much richer than simply text on a web page.
I hope that you found this walk through interesting. If you have comments, please leave them in the comments section. As the Director of Business Development for Yellow Pages Group, I can ensure you that your comments will reach the right people.