Yelp To Businesses: Want More Customers? Try Our Ads.

In a push to get more advertisers, Yelp put out a new blog post and video about why businesses should advertise on Yelp. Have you advertised on Yelp? Was the experience positive or negative? Are you c...
Yelp To Businesses: Want More Customers? Try Our Ads.
Written by Chris Crum
  • In a push to get more advertisers, Yelp put out a new blog post and video about why businesses should advertise on Yelp.

    Have you advertised on Yelp? Was the experience positive or negative? Are you considering giving it a try? Let us know in the comments.

    Let’s go ahead and get to the big elephant in the room right away. Yelp saves it for the very end of its post, but it seems to be one of the most discussed Yelp topics, so let’s talk about it up front.

    Yelp VP Revenue & Analytics Matt Halprin writes, “So, can a business owner pay to get a better star rating? Absolutely not. We treat advertisers and non-advertisers exactly the same and you’ll find plenty of Yelp advertisers with negative reviews, and plenty of non-advertisers with stellar ratings.”

    As you may know, Yelp is often on the defensive against businesses who claim that the site holds their positive reviews hostage in the review filter. Some of these businesses say Yelp makes their negative reviews more visible when they refuse to pay for advertising.

    Yep, you know the story. Yelp denies it, and denies it, but the accusations don’t seem to ever stop. And typically when we write about the company, we get even more angry business owners slamming the site in the comments. Obviously we can’t verify the legitimacy of any random comment we get, but again, we do get a lot of them.

    Here are a few we got on our article a couple weeks ago:

    “Yelp cares about profits more than the average small business owner. That is irrefutable and evidenced by their unethical actions. It’s 2014 and with the technology we have, there is no excuse for Yelp to filter a legitimate positive review. Yet, this has happened to virtually EVERY business owner I’ve worked with. Yelp does not filter negative reviews… at all. It doesn’t serve them to do so. I’ve worked with a few thousand small business owners and less than 10% are happy with Yelp…”

    “Ditto with my hotel business as well. They hold you hostage by only allowing the negative reviews to stick until you pay for advertise with them. Then they finally let the positive reviews you receive stay up. I wish the government would do an investigation on them.”

    “Yelp hurts small business more than it helps. They will post a negative review from a person with a new account,1 review, no friends, zero activity. If a new review is a 5 star, with a new account- they filter it. We manage online campaigns for small business. We submitted to YELP proof that 2 of our customers reviewers (4 total) used new accounts to write the same 1 star review. One of the reviewers was a competitor and his wife. Same info written days later. All showed up bringing clients rating down to 3 stars. They did nothing. BTW- Their PPC campaigns don’t work and their search capabilities within the site makes no sense. Reality is you have to deal with them.”

    They pretty much go on and on. And as we’ve seen before, these complaints are sometimes brought to the company’s events, and even to TV shows.

    So what is Yelp saying about its ads now?

    “An average of 120 million unique visitors turn to Yelp each month to help them make a spending decision,” says Halprin. “Since these consumers are already searching for a business with which to spend money, Yelp offers local businesses a wide range of advertising options that allow them to get in front of even more of these highly engaged Yelp users. In fact, a study done by The Boston Consulting Group last year found that Yelp advertisers generate average annual revenues of more than $23,000 from Yelp. With the average Yelp advertiser spending $4,200 annually, that’s a pretty impressive potential return on investment.”

    He goes on to talk up the company’s flat-rate subscription bundles, packaged CPC bundles and self-serve CPC ads, as well as the metrics it gives businesses as part of their Business Accounts.

    Here’s the aforementioned video with business owners talking about what they get out of the experience.


    Last week, Yelp expanded into Mexico, its 25th country. Additionally, Yahoo has started including Yelp reviews in its local business search results.

    Do you think Yelp is good for businesses? How about Yelp ads in particular? Share your thoughts.

    Image via Yelp

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