Learn the truth about Yelp Ads

Yelp is aggressive when it comes to marketing itself to small business owners. Many people take the bait of a Yelp salesperson’s promises of grandeur and accelerated business success. But unfortunately, Yelp isn’t the best place for many of us to advertise. Read on to hear our insider’s perspective on Yelp Ads for small business:

First, let’s talk about how most people use Yelp:

Yelp salespeople sell you on the idea that people are searching on Yelp for a business like yours. “Everyone uses Yelp!” they say! “And they’re looking for someone just like you who _____________________” (fill in the blank with your product or service). “All the time!”

Not true. People use Yelp, just like you and I do – we look up a specific business we already know exists (because we found that business on Google or from a referral or somewhere else) and we want to know what others have said about them.

We go to Yelp in the later stages of our research. Not many people start their research there.

How do the ads work?

If you pay for Yelp ads they’ll show your ad on Yelp pages of other “similar” businesses. (Can you see my use of air quotes there?)

Their algorithm is pretty awful actually. I see ads for law firms on our marketing agency Yelp page all the time. ….because if I’m looking for marketing, of course, I might need a lawyer too, right? Yeah, not so much.

Also, if you pay for Yelp ads they remove other advertisers from your own Yelp profile. This might be the only reason to give Yelp your marketing $ – so your potential customers have a more distraction-free experience when researching your company.

What do you actually get for your marketing $ with Yelp?

This is the most important part – if you’re skimming this post, STOP HERE AND READ THIS!

Most Yelp advertising contracts commit to giving you ad ‘impressions’ rather than measurable actions such as clicks or calls. “Why is this so important?” I’m glad you asked.

Because every other viable marketing channel understands that marketing dollars should be spend on performance, not hope.

If you pay for ad impressions, you spend your money hoping someone sees it and takes action. If you pay only for clicks (like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads), you are paying for measurable actions taken on your ad. You’re paying for users who intend to learn more about your business.

No one at this stage of the digital marketing game should ever pay for ad impressions. If you do, you’re being robbed.

Back to the point above about ads showing up in irrelevant pages of “similar” businesses (air quotes again) – since they have to make a delivery quota of ad impressions for you, they show your ad all over the place whether it’s relevant to the user or not. Yuck.

Here are the key takeaways from our insider’s perspective on Yelp ads:

  • People do not use Yelp to search for a business like yours
  • Ads are not targeted and displayed with relevance
  • Yelp promises you ‘hope’ rather than a commitment to performance

Want to know more about a few GREAT places to spend your marketing dollars where you’ll see real results? Get in touch with us to talk about Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. There’s much more to be gained from these platforms.

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Mark ChapmanAbout The Author: EAM Blogger, Mark Chapman, works with clients across all industries; helping them acquire more leads, who are excited to buy the products and services they offer. His ongoing work in pay-per-click marketing gives him endless amounts of insight for writing great blog posts and speaking to audiences nationwide.