We were recently helping our office masseuse (yes – we really have one!) decide whether or not buying advertisements on Yelp was a good investment for promoting her spa here in Indianapolis, Quiescence Experience. Monique had already been seeing some foot traffic from her presence on Yelp, so perhaps advertising on Yelp would generate even more.
In speaking with the advertising representative, the ads package is quite strong. First, Monique would get a dedicated advertisement on relevant, local searches of Yelp for businesses like hers. Yelp would never promote another business – only hers – on the search results page:
As well, the advertisement would run on the competitors' business pages:
Lastly, Yelp would also run the ads prominently on mobile devices:
The Yelp representative did a great job of walking us through their positioning in the space, comparing themselves to the Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor and Angie's List (our client). To visualize it, they provided this Google Trends chart:
Personally, I thought this was a bit deceptive. This chart shows the actual search volume counts for the sites themselves… not the searches for terms like Monique's business would require. If you do that search (“massage Indianapolis”), the search results are quite different – with Angie's List being displayed above Yelp and Yellow Pages with Google Business results dominating the page:
Finally, we received the pricing for the Yelp advertising. Cost was not prohibitive, and even included a custom video that Yelp would have produced with the client. The rep informed us that when there's a video, there's a 7% higher conversion. At issue with the pricing was that it required an annual contract. If Monique wasn't getting results, the penalty for getting out early was 2 months of payments in addition to the cost of the video. In other words, it could cost Monique a couple thousand dollars if the advertising wasn't working.
We recommended that Monique not move forward with the advertising… not because we thought Yelp advertising wouldn't work, but because of the requirement for the annual engagement. A thirty day trial would have been great to test if if the conversion rate would drive enough new business for Monique to fill her calendar. However, if it didn't, the annual contract requirement could devastate her new business – when she needs revenue the most.
Have you used Yelp Advertising? What was your experience?