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The opening session of the European Association of Directory Publishers (EADP) conference in Mallorca, Spain was designed to open people’s minds about how mobile and social can and should be used to the advantage of directory companies. Jullien Billot of PagesJaunes, France, kicked off the day telling the attendees that mobile is creating new audiences and has the potential to create new segments.

Billot pointed out that “PagesJaunes’ online search numbers have remained constant while their mobile search numbers have continued to increase. In fact we now have 2.5 million unique visits on mobile search, which is roughly 30 percent of our online search traffic.”

Billot remarked that “the mobile platform plays to the core strengths of the directory segment because it comes mainly in the form of an application with a dedicated audience, it becomes successful because of strong brand awareness and brand support and it offers a wider array of partners (handset manufacturers, telephone operators, OS providers) who can offer ways to monetize the mobile traffic.” In addition, he pointed out, “directories are all about local business, we understand location based searches and we have deep information on categories and segments in most local markets.”

Mobile search is a key area where the directory segment can emerge as a leader. The key to success, Billot says, is “gain exclusivity by making the database and delivery of content real time, make the content contextually specific, and be sure to accurately geotarget each listing and each location.” Blending contextually specific and geographically accurate data with links to coupons, click to call, click to Web and click to map has the potential to make directories a very compelling local product.

PagesJaunes is seeing early success with its mobile model having generated about 20 million euros in mobile advertising revenues. As mobile search traffic reaches the 30 percent mark and beyond, now is the time to begin to refine the monetization models to drive significant revenue growth on top of print and online revenues.

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