Over 29 million local businesses are listed on Yelp . Most likely your store is already on Yelp even if you don’t want it to be. There are also millions of users go to Yelp every month looking for local businesses. Armed by such massive user base, Yelp earns most of their revenue by selling Yelp Ads to local stores. However, many of the local businesses we talk to express frustration, disappointment or even anger toward Yelp Ads, while a few get excellent ROI with constant streams of customers coming from Yelp.
So is Yelp Ads right for you?
Let’s dive into what Yelp Ads offer first.
Yelp Ads look to generate leads for business through targeted ads and upgraded profile feature. Targeted ads appear on search result pages and competitor pages. Yelp delivers these ads across all of their platforms: website and mobile apps.
Their upgraded profile feature enhances your business page with a video introduction, slide shows and call to action buttons.
Yelp offers you different tiers of ad packages, ranging from $400 to more than $2000 per month.
There are also two types of ads: Cost-Per-Impression and Cost-Per-Click.
Cost-Per-Impression is quite straightforward as you pay for the number of times your ads are seen on Yelp.
The price per click in Cost-Per-Click ads is based on competition (how many businesses are fighting for the ad space) and your ads conversion rate (how likely a customer will click on your ads when she sees it). Yelp will make sure you always pay the least amount needed to win the click to maximize the number of clicks you get for your budget.
Each tier contains a certain amount of impressions or clicks your store can receive. Yelp aims to deliver 100% of the number of impressions and clicks you get for your budget over the course of the month.
With more than 100 million users come to Yelp every month searching for local businesses, Yelp Ads will bring you exposure to customers. You can also monitor the number of impressions and clicks you are getting each month from their dashboard.
However, Yelp shows you only simple metrics about how your campaign is doing: the number of impressions, clicks, cost per click, and total spend. If you are a marketer, you’d like to know the type of customers who saw or clicked the ads and where they viewed the ads from.
Unlike Google Ads, you cannot test different keywords to optimize your ads conversion. Yelp claims that rather than selecting specific keywords or phrases, they assign each search to a category and deliver ads relevant to that category. However, Yelp defines competitors loosely: anybody in the same category as your business is considered a competitor. So some of the exposure you get isn’t optimal because Yelp isn’t showing your ads to your ideal customers.
Think about it. If you see a Yelp ad of a store with two reviews and another with more than 100 reviews and a rating of 4.5, which one would you click?
It’s simple. If you don’t have enough reviews to convert, you are wasting the exposure that Yelp Ads bring for you.
Also, if you visit a Yelp page for a store with one or two photos and another with more than 100 photos, which one would you choose?
In short, you need to make your Yelp profile attractive enough to convert customers; otherwise, you will be wasting any exposure you get from Yelp Ads.
So, Yelp Ads will bring you exposure, but how do you take advantage of it?
First, if you are proficient with Google Pay-Per-Click ads, then the amount of money you are paying for Yelp Ads may provide a better ROI if you use it for Google ads.
Second, don’t waste the exposure you get from Yelp. Always build your Yelp profile to boost conversion first: add more photos and get more reviews. So if you are a new store, Yelp Ads may not be a good option since you haven’t acquired enough reviews yet.
Third, always monitor your ROI from Yelp Ads. Start with asking customers about where they hear from you if you are not already doing so.