Phone Book Advertising vs Digital Marketing Solutions: A Catch 2020 on the New Age of Advertising

Phone book advertising

Even if you have never used a phone book, chances are you are still familiar with the iconic Yellow Pages. It’s no surprise that phones have changed the way we network and with all that information so readily available at our fingertips, what value do phone books offer? 

This blog will layout various touch points on the pros and cons of advertising your business so that you don’t have to! 

By the end of this blog post, you will see how implementing cross-platform advertising strategies will help you reach your goals. 

Before we dive deeper into the marketing mix, let’s compare some of the major strengths and weaknesses of each platform and how they impact the success of your marketing plan.  

The New Phone Book is Here

Back in the day, phone books were an essential source of leads for local businesses and for individuals like Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) that just wanted to be somebody!

Since then, the digital generation has pushed printed phone books into a maturing industry as more and more people rely on their phones for information. If you type, “do people still use phone books?” into Google you’ll find that most search results similar in their answer: not really. 

The generational gap between today’s youth and older folks is visible in how much younger people rely on their phones for the latest information. With how prevalent the digital generation is, the Yellow Pages just aren’t the first thing people think to use. While there are still those who cling onto the traditional phone book for their advertising needs, that particular service will not help grow your business to its full potential. Fortunately, there are countless digital marketing solutions available that go beyond the book. Our full service digital marketing firm here at Back40 would be able to add value to your investments.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of phone book advertising.

Phone Book Advertising Benefits

The way we consume information has changed drastically and as more people depend on their mobile devices for that information businesses might assume that phone books are no longer necessary. However, there are still some benefits to having a presence in the yellow pages, for instance:

Geographical Locations

  • Segmented 

  • Mostly localized 

  • Different types of books are published by county

In the Long-run

  • The book is usually kept on hand when needed

  • Printed annually

  • Exposure 


  • Millions of businesses listed 

  • People continue to use the app/website

  • Various digital marketing options


  • Built in target audience

  • Categorized by industry

  • Useful source of information 


  • Easy to track responses

  • Optional to use a QR code for specific landing page

  • Include URL to direct people to a landing page in the ad

Based on the information above, the Yellow Pages have a more niche audience. This particular audience are middle age and older people in rural settings. Just be sure to determine if this would be the best outlet for advertising your business. 

Phone Book Advertising Cons

While there are certain benefits to phone book advertising, the digital generation will be the main resource for advertising moving forward. Below are a few reasons why advertising in the Yellow Pages could mean bad business. 


  • Phone book use is decreasing in both rural and urban areas

  • Users tend to be over the age of 50 

  • YP is in the declining stages  

Highly Competitive and Costs

  • Listed alongside competitors

  • Thousands of phone books available besides YP

  • Limits audience reach

  • Pushy sales people

  • High costs to ROI

Digital Alternatives

  • Main competitors for phone books

  • Google and Yelp specify in brand discovery and local searches

  • New ways to contact businesses

Ad is static

  • One edition published each year

  • No option to redirect the ad 

  • No meaningful frequency 

  • Lack of tracking data and readership

As a word of caution, there are certain detractors when using Yellow Pages as a means for advertising. Expenses and prints are just a few of the reasons the Yellow Page medium is used less and less. It is especially difficult to compete against digital alternatives that offer superior services you wouldn’t get using the phone books. Yellow Pages also has a suspect marketing reputation which can be seen in these YP reviews. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of phone book advertising to see if it’s the right choice for your business.

Benefits to Digital Marketing Solutions

While YP excels at being a one-size-fits-all solution for businesses, they can’t deliver the same level of service that Back40’s full service digital marketing can. Instead of investing your time and money into the underwhelming YP services, why not invest in digital services that have proven results? At Back40, our services don’t just end with a contract. 

We are a full service digital marketing agency that provides resources such as:

  • Graphic design 

  • Web design & Development

  • SEO services

  • PPC services

  • Social media services

  • Hosting, Support, & Maintenance

Think of us as an extension of your team that provides ongoing support so that you can continue to grow your business!

Do People Still Use the Phone Book?

At the end of the day, the answer is yes. There are still some people who do use the phone book including:

  • Verizon phone book advertising

  • Dexknows advertising

  • Yellow Pages phone book advertising

  • Yellow Pages advertising reviews

However, as we’ve learned, digital marketing solutions from a legitimate agency offer a far better selection of service options to fit your needs with a better ROI than phone book advertising. 

Today’s young folks don’t even know how to use a rotary phone which was the last time a phone book actually made sense. Do you think today’s generation is looking at phone ads or using digital marketing platforms to find your business?

Oklahoma City Digital Marketing Solutions

After being in business for over 20 years, we know a thing or two about getting you a better return on your investment. Our commitment is to provide the support you need to see actual growth in your business ventures and we don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon!


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