Our copy of the Auckland 2016 Yellow Pages arrived this week. Don’t worry, this isn’t a beat up article decrying the cost of advertising within its pages and promoting a range of online alternatives. Think of it more as my take on why marketing in this medium is a super smart choice – for some. And how, compared to the rest of us who need to advertise online, they have such an easier run towards success.

Let me explain.

First off – there will be a market demographic that looks forward to receiving their copy of the latest Yellow Pages and flicking through those soft pages of colour. For them the publishers have done all the hard work by curating the list of best possible suppliers for them to pick from. All they have to do is sit down with a cup of coffee, work through the options and jot down a few phone numbers to call later that afternoon.

This behaviour could be typical of your ideal market demographic. If so, then advertising within the Yellow Pages would make perfect sense. In fact, it may be the only option you have to reach this group and could well justify taking up most of your annual marketing spend.

Think, for example, of the demographics your marketing would avoid. The younger audience, perhaps, or those who use their mobile phone to search for solutions – or, for that matter, anyone who strongly prefers to search online for suppliers. By advertising in the Yellow Pages, you’re not wasting your advertising spend attracting the wrong person. Instead you’ve got a laser focused on precisely your right demographic. All because of your choice of media. Go, directory advertising!

Now let’s reverse the scenario. Let’s say your ideal demographic would never use the Yellow Pages. Let’s say it’s women aged 25 to 45 who want to holiday in Fiji and use Google to search for options.

Their choice of media – online – means you now have to advertise in a space that includes not only them, but a myriad of other less-than-ideal demographics.

I noticed something the other day that highlighted this very issue. The Price family – my favourite demographic – had just finished eating dinner and was discussing a friend who was enjoying a trip to Musket Cove in Fiji. It’s a place we have never visited so, quick as a flash, my 19-year-old daughter whipped out her phone, Googled the resort, and clicked on the first paid advert that had Musket Cove in its ad copy.

All this in mere seconds.

Little did she care that the ad was for a ferry service between the mainland and the resort. She clicked, scrolled quickly through the page, noticed no images of the resort, then bounced back to Google to keep looking.
In moments she had burnt the company’s ad cost without any chance of actually becoming a customer. Another case of the wrong demographic making marketing a lot more expensive than it should be.

For this advertiser, it would be great to be able to tune out searchers like Maddy. While that option isn’t available in Google AdWords, the Google Analytics demographic reporting function goes some way to solving the problem.

Once correctly enabled, this function allows you to see the age and gender breakdown of your visitors. So in my earlier reverse scenario – also Fiji-related just by chance – you would be able to see the streams of web traffic that match your target demographic of women aged of 25-45.

Then you could compare this demographic to the one delivered through your mobile advertising during the evening. Perhaps there will be many instances of “Maddy-like” people churning clicks with little chance of a conversion? Knowing this, you could then pause your evening mobile advertising or focus the spend more on the desktop searching alternatives, which would more likely come from an older and – for you – more ideal audience.

Actively filtering out people from our clients’ online marketing is an ongoing strategy at Ark Advance. We do this by applying the full range of reporting data within your Google Analytics account to locate the people we don’t want and ensure they are not attracted through your marketing efforts (and spend).

Unfortunately, not many of us have the luxury of marketing to a demographic that is defined by the media it chooses. How lucky they those smart Yellow Pages advertisers are.