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Nielsen: 4 out of 5 Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money

Yelp before you buy. That’s the motto 4 out of 5 Yelp users live by according to a recent Nielsen survey. In the survey, 4 out of 5 Yelp users say they visit the site when preparing to spend money.

Why is this important? Because it reinforces what we already know – that Yelp users are searching for local businesses with the intent to spend money, and they’re using Yelp to decide where to do it. With a monthly average of 102 million unique visitors (as of Q1 2013), that’s a lot of spending power channeled through Yelp. In fact, just last week we introduced Call to Action, another new feature that helps business owners close this loop between discovering a business on Yelp and making a transaction.

Our recently released Revenue Estimator tool helps business owners determine the value of Yelp for their business by connecting customer leads on Yelp with their estimated revenue potential. Business owners from every category shared the average revenue they see coming from Yelp, and this new survey gives the consumer side of the story – Yelp users confirm that actions they’re taking on the site very often lead to a purchase.

Virtually all Yelp users (98%) have made a purchase at a business they found on Yelp, with nearly 90% of them doing so within a week!

If that’s not enough to convince you that Yelpers are on a mission, consider this: More than half of Yelp users (55%) take action with a local business (i.e. calling, visiting or making a purchase at that business) frequently or every time they visit Yelp. That’s not casual browsing, it’s direct engagement with local businesses.

What’s more, the survey confirmed that Yelp users are the most desired consumer demographic for local businesses: more affluent, more educated, younger and with higher spending tendencies than non-Yelp consumers. In addition, the majority of consumers access Yelp from multiple platforms (desktop or laptop, tablet, smartphone), meaning they are turning to the site whether they’re at their computer or out, on-the-go.

So what does this mean for business owners? Given these highly engaged Yelpers are turning to the site to discover – and spend money at – local businesses, business owners can take advantage of Yelp’s suite of free tools to build out their “virtual storefront” and increase the chances they’ll catch the eye of a Yelper near them. Some additional tips for business owners:

  • Make sure the information about your business (address, phone number, hours, etc.) is correct so that consumers looking to take an action are pointed in the right direction.

  • Upload photos of your business – we’ve found that people searching Yelp for great local businesses spend 2 and a half times as much time on a business page with photos as opposed to one without.

  • Respond to reviews, either publicly or privately, to interact with your customers and add a voice to your business.

  • Track the effectiveness of these tools and consumers’ progress on the path to purchase by monitoring your customer leads and estimated revenue coming from Yelp with the Revenue Estimate tool.

  • Consider purchasing a Yelp advertising package to drive even more customer leads and make more.

Interested in taking a look at what else the Nielsen survey found? Check out the below infographic!