Yelp Advertising

Is Yelp Advertising worth it?

8 min read

July 19, 2022


Written by Steve Lepore

If you own or operate a small business, you probably don't need much of an introduction to Yelp. With a huge user-base and excellent brand recognition, it's one of the best places for businesses to connect with customers. Setting up a free profile to collect organic traffic is a no-brainer for virtually any business, but what if you want more? Does Yelp advertising deliver enough value to warrant becoming a paying member?

Unfortunately, as with most marketing and advertising questions, there's only one honest answer: it depends.

What is Yelp in the first place?

Yelp is a social media review site that allows people to post reviews about restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, etc., and businesses to respond to those reviews. If someone writes a negative review, the business owner can reply directly to the reviewer. In addition, businesses can pay to promote themselves on the site. The site launched in 2004 and now boasts over 50 million monthly active users. Yelp has been called "the Amazon of Local."

FUN FACT

Yelp was started as a 'glorified email circle.' In 2004, Jeremy Stoppelman, then a PayPal employee fell ill and had trouble researching the best doctor in his area. After raising $1 million dollars to form an email circle, Yelp was born.

Yelp users spend an average of three minutes and ten seconds on each page of the directory they visit, and click through to seven pages before leaving.

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How Yelp Advertising Works

A free profile provides access to most of the Yelp platform's features, from collecting and responding to reviews to updating important info about your business. In some cases, that may be all you need to start generating traffic and building a buzz. If you're looking to tilt the odds in your favor, however, you have two primary options:

One: Business Page Upgrades

When you're trying to attract potential customers, the last thing you need on your business page is an ad from a competitor. With Yelp's Business Page Upgrades feature, you can pay to make competing ads go away for good. You can also choose a variety of other useful add-ons, including slideshows, highlight badges and customizable call-to-action buttons. You'll also get access to Yelp customer support, which can be helpful in quickly resolving any problems that pop up along the way.

Learn more about Business Page Upgrades such as an Enhanced Profile.

Remove Competitor Ads

With this paid Yelp feature you can prevent competitors and other business from having ads appear on your business listing.

Call to Action (CTA)

Create a unique and customizable call-to-action button on your Yelp page to convert pages views into calls and customers.

Business Logo

Business logos give a professional feel and element to your listing.

Portfolio

The portfolio upgrade allows businesses to showcase and describe their best projects.

Yelp Connect

Yelp's social media component. Create posts and share updates about your business that are automatically promoted by Yelp.

Business Highlights

Highlight what makes your business unique by adding graphical badges and icons to your business listing page.

Slideshow

By using this feature, businesses can control the order of photos featured on their page and search results.

Two: Pay Per Click Yelp Ads

Passive, organic traffic is always valuable, but why wait around for people to come to you? Yelp Ads offers a more proactive option, allowing you to reach out to prospective customers and enhance the visibility of your business. Your ads will be placed where they're most likely to be seen by your target audience, boosting the number of quality impressions. Yelp Ads also give you priority ranking within search results in your industry.

Learn more about how Yelp's Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising program works.

What Does it Cost?

Of course, the value of a service depends heavily on how much it costs. Increased traffic is certainly advantageous, but not if it wrecks your advertising budget. With Yelp Ads' cost-per-click model, you simply define your desired budget and pay a set price for each click your ads generate. This per-click charge varies radically from industry to industry, however, so be sure to check on the rates for your particular business.

The Pros and Cons of Yelp Advertising

There's a lot to like about the advertising tools available to premium Yelp members, but that doesn't mean it's the right choice for every business. Before you decide whether to spend money on Yelp advertising, it's worth considering what your investment can deliver — and what it can't.

Pro: A Huge Pool of Potential Customers

Yelp receives nearly 180 million unique visitors every month, including around 92 million mobile users. Regardless of your location or industry, this massive built-in user-base is likely a goldmine of potential customers waiting to be tapped. Simply put, Yelp Ads is the best way to ensure you're reaching as many of them as possible. That means more impressions, more clicks and more visibility.

Pro: Targeted, High-Quality Traffic Generation

Generating traffic is great, but the quality of that traffic is also essential. By strategically targeting your advertisements, Yelp Ads can help you reach the people who are most likely to become customers. Higher rates of engagement and conversion lead to more sales, which ultimately means a better return on your investment. Also, Yelp customers are further along in the buying cycle than others.

Pro: Easy and Flexible Budget Management

If you've ever run an ad campaign, you know how easy it is to spend a lot more than you intended. Luckily, advertising on Yelp makes it easy to stay within your limits and keep costs under control. Your advertising budget is entirely up to you. There are no long-term plans or cancellation fees, so you can call it quits at any time.

Con: Potentially Cost-Prohibitive Pricing

Yelp's pay-per-click pricing model is simple enough, but it's complicated by the fact that the price varies from industry to industry. As a result, some companies can end up paying far more per click than others depending on the available ad inventory in their area and their click-through-rate (CTR). Depending on your industry and cost-per-click (CPC), the cost of advertising on Yelp may or may not be worthwhile.

Con: Clunky Management and Misleading Service

For all its potential benefits, running an ad campaign on Yelp isn't always an easy experience. Properly managing your profile and advertisements can be clunky and time-consuming. What's more, Yelp's sales team can be aggressive and its support staff isn't always helpful. Of course, these issues can be avoided by having a professional Yelp certified advertising partner handle your ads for you.

Con: Lack of Targeting Features

Yelp Ads are reasonably straight forward. You determine a budget, target area and you're off to the races. However, the tool itself lacks some of the advanced targeting options such as bid-adjustments, advanced keyword targeting and unique ad creation that you can find in other, more customizable tools such as Google and Facebook Ads.

Conclusion: Is Yelp Advertising Worth It?

Much to our dismay, there are rarely any universal answers when it comes to marketing. Advertising on Yelp has been a tremendous success for some companies, but it's not a great fit for every situation. Ultimately, it comes down to your industry, your business and your advertising goals.

Yelp Ads may be the right fit if:


You can afford to fund it properly

Your business appeals to a broad market

Your advertising is run by a professional

Yelp Ads may not worthwhile if:


Your industry's per-click charge is very high

You require precise, granular targeting

Your business isn't well-established

Written by Steve Lepore

Steve Lepore is a co-founder at Circulation Studio and Circulation Dental and has been in the SEO (search engine optimization) game and building websites since 2011. In his free time he likes to camp, play guitar and argue about the NHL. GKG!