Is Yelp Advertising Effective?
If you’re wondering “Is Yelp advertising effective?” the short answer is Yes. However, like most products and services it is not the best solution for EVERY type of business.
Let’s be clear: Yelp typically works the best for B2C (business to consumer) type of businesses. That’s not to say that a B2B (business to business) company can’t do well on Yelp, but we do recommend that you do all the necessary research before investing in Yelp ads especially for a B2B organization.
Even on the B2C side of business, there can be reasons why Yelp ads may not yield a positive ROI, and we’ll explain those below.
Like every other kind of marketing campaign, there is research and planning that goes into making a Yelp ad campaign turn up a significantly positive ROI.
We’ve helped businesses across a range of industries successfully optimize their organic Yelp presence and run paid ads to grow their customer base. Our experiences have taught us a lot about what works well in Yelp advertising (and what doesn’t), and we’re happy to share that knowledge with you.
So let’s explore the the nitty gritty details that make or break this type of marketing.
“Is Yelp advertising effective for my business?”
4 Recommendations for Yelp Advertising
1. Do Your Homework and Market Research
First things first: Before you spend time learning the ins and outs of running a good Yelp campaign it is important that you first understand whether Yelp advertising is a good for your business.
As part of looking into creating a Yelp ads campaign, it is important that you consider the following:
A) Yelp Search Volume: The monthly number of searches that Yelp users conduct for a specific product or service in a specific geography (e.g. Mediterranean Food searches in Arlington, VA)
B) Average Cost/Click: The likely cost-per-click for an ad
The search volume confirms whether (and how much) demand there is on Yelp for your product and/or service in a given month. This in conjunction with average cost-per-click will help shape the recommended budget and calculate possible number of leads a campaign could generate.
For example: If there are 5,000 searches for Mediterranean Food in Arlington, VA each month, and the likely cost-per-click of an ad for that service in that market is $2.00, then a business owner can potentially spend up to $10,000 each month to serve ads to ALL of the Mediterranean Food searchers on Yelp in Arlington, VA.
We wouldn’t recommend starting off with such a hefty budget though! In fact, we would recommend starting off on the lower end. At the same time, we recommend spending enough money to generate at least a couple of hundred clicks and evaluate results.
It is important to note that there are some markets where Yelp is not widely used by consumers. So, for example, if the total searches for Mediterranean Food in a market is only 200 per month, we’d suggest opting out of Yelp advertising since the chance of your business enjoying a profit from that marketing is relatively slim.
2. Choosing The Right Type of Yelp Ad Delivery Strategy
Based on our lengthy experience, we strongly recommend running ads in Yelp’s cost-per-click (CPC) format.
While impression-based ads are available (although Yelp is slowly phasing them out), with CPC format you’re only spending money on a Yelper who definitely have an interest in purchasing your product or service. You’re not paying for the eyes that see your business because you showed up in their search. The latter is more about creating awareness for your business and for creating awareness, frankly there are better and cheaper ways!
3. Optimize Your Profile For Search
You can get all the clicks in your market from people hungry for Mediterranean food, but if your profile shows a messy, half-eaten gyros plate in a customer’s picture uploaded to Yelp or if your phone number or address is not accurate, you might lose a few of those possible customers.
Also, as a course of business, Yelp shows your competition when you opt for a free profile. So, even if you convince users to click on your ad and learn more about your business, it is possible that they may get distracted by a competitor on your profile and leave!
Bottom line – your profile needs to look as amazing as possible on Yelp (attention to details matter) and it needs to be set up in a way so you don’t lose users to your competition.
Need some pro-tips to optimize your profile? We’ve got you covered.
4. Doing Yelp Ads Right With Smart Marketers In Your Corner (aka Perks)
Yelp allows certain marketing agencies to handle their clients’ Yelp buys (and they go through Yelp’s training for this). They’re called Yelp Ads Certified Partners.
Some of the perks of working with a Yelp Ads Certified Partner include:
- Special discount on an Enhanced Profile (and ability to combine this discount with any special advertising promotions offered by Yelp at that time)
- Access to targeting features that allow you to only advertise specific ad categories (ex: your most profitable service or product categories)*
- A direct line to Yelp when you have questions and a dedicated program manager who learns what makes your business tick
- No long-term contract. Give a 30-day notice, and you can shut the campaign off. (This flexibility is great for seasonal businesses or those that are awfully skeptical of Yelp)
*This feature is available on a case-by-case basis.
Conceptual Minds + Your Yelp Ads Campaign = Smart Marketing
If you’d like to learn more about trying Yelp ads through a Yelp Ads Certified Partner like Conceptual Minds, drop us a line below. We’re proud of the work we’ve done in helping clients navigate Yelp, and best of all, our work in making your campaign great is free for you as a Yelp advertiser.
You pay the cost of your ads, and Yelp pays our tab. Everyone wins!
What you get when you have Conceptual Minds in your corner:
- Expert advice from an agency with:
- 10+ years of marketing experience
- Special training by Yelp to run effective campaigns and optimize Yelp profiles for better search exposure
- Monthly reporting and insights to show your return-on-investment and opportunities to maximize your investment in Yelp
- Guidance on your campaign as related to:
- Ensuring proper geographic ad targeting
- Profile evaluation to ensure it’s SEO-friendly and set up for maximization of leads
- Exclusive discounts with our buying power (that aren’t available to most businesses)
- Implementation of effective ad category targeting (where available)
If you’re interested in testing Yelp ads for your company, we’re happy to report that there’s nothing between you but air and opportunity to try out a platform that has yielded success for companies that are doing Yelp ads right.
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