In the year since we introduced the entirely reimagined Yelp for Business platform, we have continued to innovate on new products and features to help businesses succeed on Yelp. We’ve been focused on giving business owners more control over their Yelp page and ads, helping them reach and engage with the high intent customers they want the most, all while giving them the ability to better measure the effectiveness of their advertising.
Today, we’re announcing a new set of features to create a more seamless and intuitive experience for businesses on Yelp. With new Custom Location Targeting, budget recommendation and infrastructure updates, businesses can better optimize their budgets and target effectively. Businesses in Services categories, for example, are in search of a very specific set of customers, depending on the unique services the businesses offer and where they offer them. We are working to give these professionals tools to make reaching their target customers easier. The new Connect Audience Model enables businesses to expand the reach of their Connect posts to a wider more relevant audience. Additionally, a new unified set up flow and guidance on ad text enhances the Self-serve experience by giving business owners even greater control and helping them reach their customers efficiently and effectively.
By continuing to enhance Yelp for Business with these new features, we’re able to deliver more value to advertisers by enabling them to better reach high-intent consumers on Yelp. In fact, our data shows that our continued innovation on the Self-serve experience is working for our advertisers – when looking at a 90 day period, we saw that our Self-serve advertisers were substantially more likely to retain.
Optimize budgets and target effectively
To give business owners added control over their target audience and enable them to get the most from their budget, we’ve introduced new features and updates such as Custom Location Targeting and a modernized budget editing experience, as well as made significant infrastructure updates.
Custom Location Targeting (CLT):Businesses can now customize the specific geographic location where their Yelp Ads appear. Prior to this release, advertisers were only able to run their ads in a radius around their business location. We heard from many business owners, specifically in the Home and Local Services sector, that they preferred to run ads in geographic regions where they do their business, rather than around their physical location. This feature addresses that need and, especially as we’ve seen a rise in virtual service offerings, also enables business owners to reach a wider audience beyond their physical location. Self-serve businesses leveraging CLT are seeing a lower Cost-Per-Click (CPC) on their Yelp Ads due to more relevant targeting, and we’ve seen a lift of more than 7% in Self-serve service-enabled categories advertisers on average as a result of this new feature.
(Custom Location Targeting is currently available to all new Self-serve advertisers and will be rolled out to 100% in the coming weeks.)
David Ghahramany, owner of Art’s Heating and Cooling, who participated in the Custom Location Targeting pilot, shared his thoughts on the new feature: This tool has improved the effectiveness of my advertising program and has allowed me to focus on the areas that I want to work and want to advertise – my ad clicks are never wasted on areas that I don’t want to service. Within just a week of editing my targeted ad delivery I’m seeing much more value from my ads on Yelp. The leads are more relevant and my time is spent connecting with customers that will generate revenue for my business.
Budget Design and Infrastructure Updates: With the new modernized budgeting editing experience, business owners will be able to optimize their campaigns by leveraging budget recommendations generated through Yelp’s machine learning engine, that analyzes the business’s profile, historical campaign performance, and lookalike audience data to help advertisers get the most out of their Yelp Ads.
Just two years ago, we relied on local business owners to determine on their own what ad spend made sense for themselves. We started simple, sharing “what budgets were popular for similar businesses.” This was a good place to begin, but it perpetuated the cycle of business owners guessing or relying on the decisions of previous advertisers. In the past year, we’ve been able to not only look at what business owners tend to pick, but additionally what ad spend results in the strongest advertiser outcomes based on their exact listing, market, and advertiser history.
Business owners use Yelp to reach high intent consumers and these new features will make those connections even more effective. The past year has been incredibly challenging for business owners across all industries and we know that the decision to spend money on advertising can be hard, which is why we are constantly working to improve our product to ensure our customers get the highest return for their spend.
Connect with more relevant consumers
We’re always looking for ways to improve our existing ad products to create opportunities for more relevant and targeted leads. In 2019, we launched Yelp Connect to help business owners communicate in more ways with their existing and potential customers. Initially available only to restaurants, in March 2020 as the pandemic impacted the local economy, we expanded Yelp Connect to all categories to give business owners a way to share updates around changes to their hours, operations, specials, etc. We have since seen a significant spike in adoption of Connect with a 615% YoY increase in April 2021, compared to April of last year. Now we’re further innovating on the product with the launch of Connect Audience Model, that is specifically designed to improve the effectiveness of Yelp Connect for Services businesses.
Connect Audience Model: To help local businesses reach a wider audience of relevant consumers with Connect, we are launching a new model that matches more consumers with Connect posts in categories that they have shown interest in on Yelp. Previously, Yelp Connect allowed businesses to target people who followed or bookmarked their business on Yelp, as well as users located in (or near) their neighborhood. With Connect Audience Model, businesses can now expand the reach of their posts to people who engaged with similar businesses or searched for relevant categories on Yelp. Since our initial pilot, Home and Local Services businesses have seen consumer engagement with Connect posts increase by 3 times on average, compared to previous engagement levels.
Customizable Call to Action: In February, we rolled out an update to Connect allowing businesses to customize the call to action (CTA) button in their posts with text of their choice. Post engagement increased 40% on average in the month after the new feature was introduced and engagement levels have maintained since.
Businesses that use Yelp Connect found that reaching customers directly with relevant, targeted and authentic content has a positive impact on leads. These latest updates will further enhance the effectiveness of Connect, especially for Services businesses who are increasingly using Connect to engage customers on Yelp.
Seamless and easy to use
We heard from businesses that they wanted us to make it even easier for them to set up their business page and run their advertising campaigns on Yelp, so we’re rolling out a new unified setup flow and guidance on ad text to make Yelp for Business more simple to use.
Unified Setup Flow: We’ve made it even easier for businesses to set up their Yelp page and ads through a simplified step-by-step flow that guides business owners on how to make their page most impactful — from uploading photos and setting service areas, to creating an initial Connect post, for example.
Guidance on ad text: Ad text on Yelp is customizable, giving business owners control over what they want to share with potential customers. That said, not every business owner has ad copywriting experience. With this new update, we’re simplifying the process for advertisers and providing tailored example text to help business owners write compelling, engaging and effective copy.
One, streamlined experience
Last year we announced the new Yelp for Business web experience and this year, we’re rolling out the refreshed mobile ads dashboard for advertisers to the app. The new mobile Yelp for Business Ad Dashboard gives business owners the in-depth overview of their ads performance from the convenience of their business owner app. This release includes an entirely new design, new navigation and new features that were previously only available on desktop.
We have never been more focused on innovating to help local businesses reach high intent consumers that are using Yelp to find a business like theirs. By enhancing Yelp for Business with tools like Heatmap – or “Where You’re Reaching” – and Leads Visualization, which we rolled out late last year, business owners are able to see the effectiveness of their ads. Heatmap specifically helps to demonstrate the value of CLT, and Leads Visualization highlights the breakdown of their leads (organic vs. ads), enabling advertisers to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. It allows them to visualize what specific neighborhoods they’re reaching with CLT to ensure they’re getting the most relevant leads.
Even as we roll out these updates, we’re already working on the next iterations and will continue to listen to business owner feedback to inform how we can best improve Yelp for Business to help them succeed. We know a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work for local businesses — what works for restaurants might not work for home services, and vice versa — which is why we’re continuing to personalize and build new features in our Self-serve channel to give business owners more control and transparency, all while allowing them to harness the power of the Yelp platform.