Facebook is (becoming) the new Yellow Pages

Google is the new Yellow Pages. And now, Facebook wants a piece of the pie as well. This September, the company announced several new features to their Instagram, WhatsApp and (of course) Facebook app. If at least 2 of them succeed, we can safely assume that Facebook will become a viable Yellow Pages alternative for the web. Here are the 3 updates:

1. Instagram added a “Map Search” tool

They’re currently testing it in Australia and New Zealand. This tool will enable users to discover real businesses on a map inside the Instagram app. Instagram users will also be able to see people who tagged themselves at that particular location.

Here’s how this feature looks:

2. WhatsApp added a business directory

Currently they’re testing it in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Similarly to the Instagram tool, this will allow you to find businesses nearby:


3. Facebook expanded their “Business Explore” tool

In a series of announcements, Facebook also said they’ll be expanding their “Facebook Business Explore” tool to people in the US and Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.


How "Business Explore" works: Let’s say you scroll down your Facebook feed and see a post by a restaurant. If you keep your attention there for several seconds, Facebook will show you a new section under the post called “Explore more”. This section will show similar businesses to the one you’re currently viewing. See the video on this post to get a better idea.

The opportunities for founders: Many of us have products that target local businesses. Some of us even have local businesses. If Facebook succeeds with these experiments (and it seems they’re very determined to do it), it’ll become a pretty major acquisition channel and a source for new customers for businesses with physical location.

In addition, this will create new software opportunities for indie founders; just look at the “for local business” SaaS products that exist; it’s a multi-million dollar market.

Hope you found this useful! If you want more opportunities like these each week, feel free to subscribe to my Indie Hackers series below:

  1. 4

    The Instagram places might replace Google's "things to do" search query for tourists :)

    1. 2

      Makes sense, totally!

    2. 1

      I much rather use Instagram for locating interesting places to eat than google

  2. 3

    I wonder if WhatsApp will push their business directory as Twitter currently pushes Spaces (adds it to the homepage, etc.)

    1. 1

      Pretty sure you'll see some sort of icon on the home page.

  3. 2

    I read this topic as something completely different lol. In my circles we talk about "the new yellow pages" in a different light.

    You see, as we all know the yellow pages used to be this massive thing (literally and figuratively) - a household name, a household item.

    Then almost overnight they got usurped by the internet and all but vanished.

    Now we talk about the yellow pages as like this scary monster; a tale of warning: Keep up with the competition. Don't sit on your laurels... or YOU could be the next yellow pages....

  4. 2

    The FB update is interesting. I can see they changed their user interface a bit between the first and the second time they announced the update. But again, this isn't what businesses sign up for; when people engage with your post the last thing you want is for your customers to see competing businesses.

    1. 1

      Hm, noticed that as well. That's the problem when you sign up for another platform, they can control the user experience (including showing competing businesses). Almost all social media sites have been doing this in one way or another; when you follow someone on Twitter, Twitter suggests similar users to follow, for eg.

  5. 1

    Darko, can you explain how to leverage facebook's explore? We sell to SMB. Is there a way to use that tool for leads gen? Or outreach?

  6. 1

    Niche based Facebook groups are getting bigger and bigger.
    Facebook is actively working on it, with newer features you can connect your groups with Email marketing tool or CRM to generate leads. Also these leads have higher conversion.

  7. 1

    If the Instagram's 'Map Search' tool achieves optimum usage, would it be safe to say that it could replace Google Maps in future? - Ah! the possibilities!

    Anyway, quite an interesting read!

  8. 1

    Keep this information in the back of my mind.

  9. 1

    Do you know if creating pages for these services will help my SEO?

  10. 1

    Interesting changes. Facebook team has done impeccable work with Instagram.

    Thanks for bringing the updates, @zerotousers

  11. 1

    Facebook is becoming the everything place. They are getting involved in everything. I feel they are just trying to milk the cow for as long as they can.

  12. 1

    It does look interesting, I must say.

    Not sure how well it may prove to be for B2B purposes, though?

    Will have to wait and see, I guess.

  13. 1

    Im the only one to be lost by all the new facebook feature ? The UX of the web / mobile app of facebook is a mess, finding what you're looking for is an ordeal

    1. 1

      You're not the only one, I'm afraid. They make their decisions based on data, however, so I guess if that messiness (ironically) also creates more sticky-ness to the app for the ordinary user.

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