If you’re an American using the internet, you’ve probably heard of Yelp. It’s one of the new online sensations – a free-to-use ‘aggregate’ that creates a page for any type of business and then gathers user reviews for it. Depending on the state of your business and your interactions with customers, this will either prove to be a very good thing or a very lousy one.
Yes, Yelp is free to use and even free to have your business listed, but everyone’s gotta make money somehow. Yelp owners do this, unsurprisingly, by offering paid-for advertisement to any and all businesses looking to get ahead of their competition. But does it pay to use this compared to some of the more traditional ad types like those on Google or Facebook? On a sidenote, the fact that we can now refer to some online ads as ‘traditional’ really shows the 21st century is well-underway. Moving on to Yelp…
Dealing with the competition
Perhaps the thing that separates Yelp ads the most from similar ones is how aggressive the incentives for advertisers are. You see, your direct competitors can actually advertise on your own business profile page(and heavily so). It doesn’t take much thinking to figure out what happens when someone checks your page with a few bad reviews surrounded by local competitors whose ads look slick and inviting.
This creates a kind of necessity to use Yelp ads just to level out the playing field: your competition is going to be using these invasive methods on your potential customers, so how can you afford not to do the same on theirs? And so, Yelp’s business model starts looking almost brilliant thanks to how ubiquitous the site has become.
The bottom line is: if your local competition is using Yelp’s ‘full service ads’ that are being displayed on your page, you can’t afford not to do the same. But there’s more to the business savvy of Yelp’s owners: you can actually pay the site to remove competitor ads on your own page. It’s a perfect microcosm of the business world – the company with the bigger budget will likely come out on top in the absence of too much negative feedback.
How useful are Yelp’s methods to you, though?
If you’ve been dealing with competitor ads on your Yelp business page and feel your profits have been suffering because of it, you can bite the bullet and pay for their removal. But how important are your own Yelp ads and does it pay to use them?
Yelp displays ads pretty much the same way most other sites do: relevant search results are ‘complemented’ by paid advertising in the niche. Here’s the kicker, though: Yelp ads are quite a bit more inconspicuous than most other forms of advertisement and often come off as a natural part of the site, at times making it hard to distinguish between regular and advertised results.
This fact alone makes Yelp ads worth some of your time and money, even if just to try them out. Start a campaign and closely monitor the data and statistics of your business – soon enough, you should have a good understanding of how much Yelp advertisement is doing for you and can adjust your investments accordingly.