Luke Edson

From Yellow Pages to YP, the Secrets to Success: Interview with Luke Edson

YPSM is one of the biggest names in digital media and local marketing. After more than 100 years in business, YPSM is much more than just the yellow pages in a phone book. We sat down with Luke Edson, SVP National Markets at YPSM, to discuss the company’s endurance and digital strategies for the future.

Here’s what Luke Edson had to say.

"Emilie Olson Photography"

Q: Is it YP or is it Yellow Pages? Can you clear up the confusion there? 

The company is YPSM. The letters YP can stand for Yellow Pages, but we wanted to move away from the perception around the words “yellow pages” associated with an older traditional media and away from the idea that companies no longer need to be listed in the Yellow Pages.

The bridge to YPSM is that we have had a singular company mission throughout our history, which is to connect consumers and local businesses. We’ve never deviated, it’s just that we do that in a very different way now. While we still print the phone book and it is still effective for many advertisers, our business has shifted to be a digital first and mobile first business.

Q: In your opinion, how has YPSM endured?

YPSM is well over 100 years old and we are working with more than 500,000 customers. The endurance of the company really comes from our singular purpose, to connect consumers to local businesses, and if you have one reason why a company exists it is very easy to build products, marketing and sales channels around that promise.

In the United States we are the number five player in mobile search in terms of revenue. Whether it starting with a phone book many years ago, shifting to a desktop model or now shifting to mobile devices, that promise to connect consumers at the time of need to a business near them, that will endure, therefore our company can endure. It’s really fun to be part of a company with such a clear purpose and focus, that really matches what a consumer needs.

Q: Can you share some advice from YPSM about addressing the local market?

Mobility from our perspective has changed the local game and marketers needs to adapt their playbook. A search that happens on a mobile device is very different from a desktop discovery search. Someone on a mobile device is looking for a nearby business to satisfy a need, and they want to conduct business in a short period of time.

Marketers need to think about all the touch points needed to convert more people to their business, for example, success metrics may include clicks, conversions or calls, where call tracking is important, or in store visits where map options are important. You may need to shift the end-points of inventory and broaden your spectrum to capture as many mobile searches as possible.

Another piece of advice is to not be dominated by only one search provider.

Q: YPSM recently released a new product, can you tell us about it? 

This year we brought to market a product called the ypSearch marketplace, which unlocks 70 million visitors and billions of search impressions into a bidded marketplace.

We are really excited to be able to unlock this valuable search segment for marketers looking to connect local consumers with nearby businesses. Marketers can feel comfortable with the ypSearch marketplace because we have build our product in a way that people will recognize and feel used to, using keywords and cost per click bidding just as they normally would.

The reality is, whether its search or mobile or display we have a modern set of products that really stay true to our original and enduring vision, which is to connect local consumers with businesses.

Q: How can Acquisio users take advantage of this new search opportunity?

Our integration with Acquisio makes this highly valuable local and mobile search inventory available to all U.S.-based Acquisio customers. Keywords, CPC, geo targeting and geo creative functions are all exactly as marketers are used to with other publishers, so it’s easy to use. The ypSearch Marketplace unlocks a new source of inventory that will optimize clients’ spend, by expanding their reach and improving their efficiency because we know that our searchers convert in a more favorable manner than a typical internet searcher.

This announcement has been a long time coming and we are so happy to share this opportunity with Acquisio users.

Q: What do people need to understand about the future of YPSM?

We’ve talked a lot about mobile search, but we are also building an exciting mobile display business. We are in market with a product we call Enhanced Mobile Targeting, and it’s a product that derives  its value from understanding location data from mobile devices. We are able to do some very sophisticated targeting, much more so than just geofencing, that enables us to look at where a person has been in the past, where that person is at the moment and where that person may go based on location and search data.

Understanding the location history of a device, where it is in time right now, and what was searched in the past hour or 24 hours period creates a tremendous opportunity to not only capture a user when they search but to capture a user when they walk out into the real world, navigate apps to send a message on their device with display.

Our complete suite of products across search, mobile and display answer the need customers have, which is to get their marketing message out to the right person at the right time in the right place to convince that person to visit their business.

We will continue to innovate on all of those products to enable marketers to get closer and closer to each and every one of their customers.


Jillian Zacchia

Jillian Zacchia

Jill is a professional writer, editor and social media procrastinator. With a degree in Literature and Communications from McGill, she started her journalism career writing about lifestyle and entertainment for teen magazines, and after dabbling with wedding and travel writing she began the transition towards content creation for start ups, marketing and tech companies.

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