YPA Update on Syndicated Audience Measurement Research

August 5, 2008


Connell Corporate Park, 400 Connell Drive, Suite 1100, Berkeley Heights, NJ  07922-2747 

Phone:  908.286.2385         Fax:  908.286.0620         Email:   neg.norton@ypassociation.org


July 10, 2008


Ms. Claire Franks
Manager, AAAA Media Services Division
AAAA Headquarters
405 Lexington Avenue
18th Floor
New York, NY  10174


Dear Claire:

As requested, this note provides an update of various initiatives underway in the Yellow Pages industry concerning accountability metrics. As we discussed during the joint AAAA/ANA meeting held during the YPA conference in Las Vegas, we believe we can provide national advertisers with superior transparency and proof of value information through increased use of, and access to, call tracking studies.  Following is a brief status update on the programs underway to deliver against that objective:

Industry Metered Ad Database

Following our Las Vegas conference, YPA investigated the potential of changing the current industry metered ad database arrangement to: 1) include additional independent publisher results; 2) provide side by side publisher testing results at the directory level; and 3) transfer management of the metered ad database and its related processes to a new independent provider. As you are probably aware, the industry metered ad database is currently managed by Dennis Fromholzer of CRM Associates and consists of approximately 100,000 local and national call tracking studies from AT&T, Idearc, R.H. Donnelley, Local Insight Media and Yellow Pages Group. The database has given the industry tremendous insights into the value of the print and online Yellow Pages that simply cannot be duplicated with other types of research.

Our investigation revealed the following: 1) Dennis has developed specialized business rules to account for differences in data format and content along with variances in testing methodology to enable cross comparisons and insights; 2) data access, integrity and security needs to be managed carefully in order to protect publishers and advertisers; and 3) industry standards must be established and adhered to further ensure that all tests are yielding comparable data.  

Presented with the need to maintain proprietary industry knowledge and oversight of the data, it was evident that the solution should continue to include Dennis' knowledge and expertise.

YPA is receptive to including additional independent publisher results in the industry database as long as industry standard processes and approaches are utilized.  Assuming these standards are in place, YPA publishers would consider giving CMRs access to publisher test results as long as appropriate safeguards were in place to guard against inappropriate use of the data. The AAAA Directory Committee may have ideas concerning the types of information CMRs would want access to.  YPA also believes that more could be done to improve the transparency of the processes currently used by Dr. Fromholzer. Given the high degree of interest in the call tracking results from the AAAA/ANA, we would also appreciate your thoughts on ways to improve the transparency in these results. This process could include auditing the accuracy of the data that is submitted for the data base as well as the criteria employed to scrub and report the findings that these data represent.

Plans are also underway to provide the heading, UDAC and directory size information in the metered ad database in a more easily accessible format in order to afford more robust analysis. Currently both CMRs and advertisers may obtain heading-specific results by contacting YPA.

ADM PAYS Database

The PAYS database (Proof that Advertising in Yellow Pages Sells) currently encompasses 20,000 call measurement lines for 9,000 advertiser tests. These tests were submitted by 124 publishers and CMRs.  At the request of CMRs and publishers, ADM has developed a portal giving 24/7 access to national test results from the PAYS database.  Masked data for all tests, protected to maintain advertiser confidentiality, will be available to CMRs and publishers.  Advertiser test information will be available to: a) CMRs only for advertisers they handle; and b) publishers only for tests in their directories.  The Portal is currently in beta test and should be available in the next few months.

MAP Test Program

MAP (Measurement & Accountability Program) is the new industry testing program which replaces the successful Marketing the Medium program.  The program focuses on 400 major national advertisers in the U.S. and Canada.  MAP's objective is to prove yellow pages effectiveness through ROI testing.  Publisher-funded call measurement lines and split run directories are available.  AT&T, Idearc, RHD/Dex, Local Insight Media/Cincinnati Bell and Yellow Pages Group are currently participating in the MAP program.  The MAP program is off to a very strong start with about 100 advertisers in test, or currently planning tests.  Many of these advertisers will participate in ongoing testing so that current data is always available to provide advertisers with proof of value information.

Directory Share Usage Research

Although YPMR is still in the marketplace, many CMRs are subscribing to the Directory Share Ratings Service (DSR), as a means to get information about share of usage at the directory level. However, both YPA and ADM believe that it is important that national advertisers and CMRs have a better understanding of the research methodology and the output provided by this product.  This includes taking a closer look at the sampling procedures, the sample sizes and the modeling techniques currently employed.

Claire, the Yellow Pages industry has invested over $100 million in call tracking studies over the past 7 years.  We now have perhaps the largest database of measured consumer contacts of any medium. With call measurement prices declining and the demand for improved media accountability increasing, we believe that continuing to build on and enhance our call tracking efforts provides national advertisers with the best, most useful information about print and online Yellow Pages product performance. YPA Board member publishers have, and will continue to, enthusiastically support most reasonable national advertiser tests in their print and online directories.  

I hope you feel that the initiatives described herein are positive steps and reflect the industry's commitment to provide superior accountability and proof of value. On behalf of our members, thank you for your interest and involvement in our industry as well as your ongoing support.  I might suggest that we try to arrange a face to face meeting with agencies, advertisers and publishers at the next mutually convenient time to further these discussions.


Warm regards,



Neg Norton


"YPA Update on Syndicated Audience Measurement Research." Neg Norton, President, YPA. ANA Telephone Directory Committee Meeting, 08/05/08.