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5 things to know about advertising on Yelp



Photo by Christin Hume

Your business is unique, and you need marketing tools designed to match your specific goals. Advertising on Yelp continues to evolve to offer you more options and flexibility to suit your needs. So whether you’re considering a Yelp Ads campaign for the first time or you’re a previous advertiser, there’s an assortment of things to know about Yelp Ads.

Simply put, Yelp Ads is for the business owner who wants to reach more customers and get more business through Yelp. Yelp Ads work to promote your business in key areas across the site and mobile app—including above search results and on competitors’ business pages—and bring people back to your Yelp Business Page where they can learn more and ultimately make a decision to contact you. These potential customers have a strong intent to buy: 97% of people make a purchase after visiting Yelp. So if someone is searching Yelp in your city for your type of business, you want to show up prominently as a possible candidate.

With that knowledge in your pocket, here are the five things you need to know about advertising on Yelp.

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1. Pause or cancel at any time

We understand that businesses have different goals and budgets depending on a number of factors. You need flexibility and control over your ad to make it work for your business. So whether you want to “set it and forget it” or you prefer to turn your campaign on and off throughout the year, the choice and the flexibility is yours. Note that there are no term contracts so you’re never locked into running your Yelp Ads for a specific period of time.

We also just launched the new one-click restart feature. This means your previous advertising settings are automatically saved, and you can start back up again with one step.

2. Reach the right customers with customization and targeting

Custom text and picture

Customizing your ad helps ensure you’re attracting relevant customers and highlights your business in a way that’s on brand. There are a couple parts to customizing:

  • Choosing the primary photo people will see when looking at your ad
  • Selecting what text shows up on your ad—you can choose a specific review that praises your business or add your own custom text

You can test different combinations, or if you’re not sure what image or text to use, you can let Yelp’s machine-learning algorithm find what photo and review combo will be most impactful.

Targeting and keyword blocking

The Yelp Ads platform automatically targets people who show an interest in a business like yours, based on factors like where they are searching, what they are searching for, and what kind of business you’re in. That means advertisers never have to guess at which keywords may be most responsive.

On the other side of the spectrum, keyword blocking (also known as negative keyword targeting) allows you to remove your business as a search result option for the goods or services you don’t provide. This allows you to appear for searches that are even more relevant and avoid receiving inquiries that don’t match your businesses offerings. 

Here are some examples of blocking/negative keyword targeting in action. If you specialize in window installations but do not provide repair services, you would want to block keywords like “window repair.” If you run a restaurant and also serve as a venue for small gatherings but can only accommodate up to 50 people, you may want to block “Wedding Venues” and “Party Venues.”

Yelp targeting and keyword blocking

Location-based targeting

Location-based targeting allows you to determine how far away you want your ad to be shown. You can geo-target your ad to be displayed in the radius of your choice around your business location, allowing you to better target your audience (radius options vary per business category). Some businesses serve larger areas and want to cast a wide net while others want to focus on customers very close to their business’s location. This feature caters to both.

3. Set and control your own budget

No matter what business budget you have, your spending strategy with Yelp Ads is completely up to you. Advertisers pay on a cost-per-click basis based on a monthly max budget that you set when you sign up. These flexible monthly budgets don’t require a long-term commitment and allow you to adjust your spend based on your business needs. For example, if you’re a landscaper and looking for more calls during the warmer months, you can easily increase your monthly ad budget during the month of April to drive more spring and summer traffic to your page.

That said, your return on investment does depend on how much you put into it, so be sure you set a budget that puts you in a position to make the investment worth it. You can strategically adjust your budget to specific needs and goals, like increasing your spend when you’re in growth mode and scaling back when you’re tighter on funds. You can make changes when you want and as often as you want. The Yelp Ads team can also help you with recommendations on how to determine your budget.

4. Keep your Yelp Page up to date

Yelp Ads help businesses reach more potential customers through more prominent exposure. Once people click through to your page from your ad—or they happen to arrive there organically—you want to be sure your information is accurate and complete. The more details you provide on your page, the faster potential customers learn what you have to offer so they can decide to do business with you. Start with the basics: your location or service area, your hours, and the best way to get in touch with you. Be sure to take advantage of all the free options, like adding unlimited photos, noting special holiday hours, and responding to reviews.

You can also consider Page Upgrades like Call to Action, Portfolio, Business Highlights, Logo, and more. These paid features complement Yelp Ads—they visually enhance the look of your Yelp Page and assist in converting potential customers. Some examples include. You can purchase Page Upgrades a la carte, or bundle them into your Yelp Ads budget.

You can also check out Yelp Connect, which lets you create posts and share updates about your business that get promoted automatically by Yelp.

5. Give it time

Like all investments of value, a successful campaign takes time. First, the campaign is working to make you more discoverable which can bring in more leads. From there, as you convert those leads into customers, a cycle begins: exposure, customer acquisition, retention, repeat. The longer you let the program work for you, the more success you’ll have.

Now that you know the drill, here’s what to expect when setting up your Yelp Ads—there are just a few simple steps that take less than five minutes. Or go ahead and log in at biz.yelp.com and click on the Yelp Ads tab.

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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