Yelp Advertising Overview

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As a business owner, making sure your business is promoted and exposed to a wide variety of online platforms is crucial for longevity and reputation building. Yelp, which for many is a default review and business exploration platform, can also carry several benefits for business owners as users too. The following guide will show you the benefits of Yelp Advertising and how to implement them for your business.  

Advertising your business using Yelp is a powerful way to reach nearby consumers searching for the goods or services you offer. The end goal of Yelp advertising is to drive more leads and revenue to your business. On Yelp, this is most commonly done with targeted ads, as well as either of the two upgraded profile types available.

Targeted Ads

Targeted ads on Yelp appear in a variety of places, including Yelp search bar results and competitor pages. Most commonly, these targeted ads are displayed under a “Sponsored Results” section of the search results. These ads are designed to look like a natural part of the search results, especially if they fit in the same or similar Yelp Business category as your search query. Targeted ads feature images, a popular or most viewed review, and important contact information. For example, if someone searches for a dry cleaner in their area, an ad may appear above the natural search results for a dry-cleaning business nearby. 

Another place targeted ads on Yelp can appear is on business pages where it makes sense to do so. Surprisingly, your targeted Yelp ads can even appear on the pages of other competitor businesses similar to your category. Yelp serves these ads across all of their platforms, including their mobile website and app. This means your ads will reach customers as they search for your products and services on the go, a huge benefit and a great way to drive spontaneous traffic to your business!

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To set up your first Yelp Ad, follow the steps below: 

  1. Login to your Yelp Business Owner account. 

  2. Click on the “Yelp Ads” section: This section can be found as soon as you reach your account page. To move forward, press “Get Started.” Here, you can also turn on or off these targeted ads at any time. 

  3. Look closely at the preview of your ad: Yelp’s default information set consists of the following: your business name, contact information, photo, category, overall rating, and a snippet of a review. 

    • In this step of the process, you can also choose to write a brief description of your business too, but keep in mind that this text only appears if you don’t have enough reviews for your page.

  4. Decide on an ad budget: During this step, Yelp offers three ad budgets automatically. These budgets are estimated by the average daily cost-per-click and estimated clicks per month. These rates can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, such as your category’s popularity and general location. You are only charged when someone clicks on the ad, and you can also take advantage of choosing your own daily budget too!

  5. Opt-in to the Enhanced Profile upgrade: We will cover this in much more detail further below.

  6. Finalize your ad campaign: You’ll see an overview page of your progress and options so far, and here you can continue to fine tune your ad if necessary. After filling in your billing information, agree to the Yelp Ads terms before you click on the “Purchase” button. 

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Once this specific ad is live, you’ll be able to see it in the “Yelp Ads” section of your Yelp business account. Additionally, after it is live, you can click on “Customize Ad” to fiddle with its presentation. The things you can tweak are: changing to a different featured image, use your own text instead of a review snippet, and alter the distance targeting.

Yelp ads can also be configured to only show within a certain radius of your business. In the example below, notice how under the “Choose Where to Show Your Ad” header, there is a blue distance dropdown menu. This allows you to fine-tune your ads to a very precise level wherever you operate your business.

How Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Works

Yelp’s rationale for not charging you until your first click involves a myriad of factors. Since Yelp distributes many, many different types of ads on its platform, when and how much you are charged is heavily dependent both on what a user searches for keyword-wise, as well as their location. 

Let's pretend you created an ad for a dry cleaner in Los Angeles. A Yelp user in LA would open the Yelp app, and either search “dry cleaner” and find results based on their location, or they might go to a dry cleaner tab within the app first. At this point, Yelp takes over and combs its directory of Yelp Ads to find ones that are both the closest locally, meaning with regards to the distance from the searcher, and which ad most closely aligns with the search keyword-wise.

It’s safe to say that you’re probably not the only dry cleaner in the area with a Yelp Ad. Knowing this, Yelp compares your ad to those of your competitors with other hidden factors that the user, you, and your competition are blind from. Based on these factors, Yelp estimates a “click-through-rate,” which essentially is the likelihood that someone will visit your business profile from your ad.

An “Ad Ranking Score” on Yelp is calculated by the click-through-rate multiplied by the bid amount you set up in the beginning. The ad with the highest-ranking score “wins,” and is pushed to the top spot in the search results for “dry cleaner” in LA.

Again, you only need to pay for that winning spot if a Yelp user clicks on your ad. At the same time, you may not even have to pay the full price you bid, instead you’ll most likely just pay the amount needed to beat out the ranking score of your competitor’s ads.

But since the amount you actually pay has the potential to fluctuate on a daily basis, you are best equipped to run Yelp Ads with a set monthly budget. Yelp will then use that pool of money to determine the best bid amount every day.

Upgraded Profiles

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The Yelp Ads program also includes an upgraded profile, with features designed to help convert your Yelp business profile view into new customers, clients, or patients. Yelp offers two kinds of upgraded profiles: a branded profile and an enhanced profile. A branded profile includes a photo slideshow, an optional video, and a call to action feature that allows you to promote an announcement or special offer designed to entice consumers to take action.

An enhanced profile contains all the features of a branded profile, and also includes the removal of competitors ads from your profile. This can be incredibly beneficial for maintaining focus on your business, but also comes at a higher price.

Adding a Featured Video on Your Page

As a business owner, you can also add a “featured video” to the media slideshow on your business page. This is an additional feature in your Yelp Ads package. In total, there are two different options for creating the video for this slideshow. You can either film, edit, and produce this video yourself, or enlist Yelp’s help to do so.

Here are some helpful tips if you decide to make your own video:

  • Make sure your video length is under 2 minutes.

  • Make sure your video file size is under 500 MB (half a gigabyte)

  • Make sure your video file type is one of these listed formats:

    • .mp4

    • .wmv

    • .avi

    • .mov (We don’t recommend creating videos in this format. Even though Yelp takes this format, it’s the most prone to encoding errors.)

If you decide to instead get Yelp’s help with producing a video, you can contact one of two partnered vendors for more information. It is recommended to get in touch with them to get any information you need. Also, don’t forget to ask about pricing too. Remember that any footage shot and edited together by either of these partners is technically owned by Yelp. You can’t take this video and cross-post it on your other social media accounts, or your non-Yelp business page, like your Google results page for example.

  • SmartShoot: (877) 559-9898

  • StudioNow: (615) 577-9400

Call to Action Buttons

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Call-to-action (CTA) button functions range from allowing customers to book appointment, to enroll now, or to print a coupon. With up to 50 characters of text, your action button will direct consumers from your Yelp business profile to a page on your own website. Your call to action will be featured on the Yelp mobile app and website, allowing customers to find your business regardless of the type of device they use. According to Yelp, CTA buttons result in increased views and leads by between 33 to 38%. 

To set up CTA buttons, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the “Call to Action” section: You can find this on the landing page of your Business Owners account. Click “Get Started” to begin. 

  2. Create your mobile CTA button: You’ll need to:

    1. Pick a specific action type for the CTA from a dropdown menu

    2. Write a short description for the CTA

    3. Add what you see fit in the “Additional Information” section

    4. Add a target URL for the CTA button to link to

    5. Set an end date for the CTA button’s run

  3. After completing steps 1 and 2, you’ll see a preview of the CTA button at the top of your page. Click “Save and Continue” if you’re happy with what you see.

  4. Create your desktop CTA banner: The setup is nearly identical to a mobile CTA button, but the desktop banner lacks an “Additional Information” section. Click “Save and Continue” if you’re happy with what you see. 

  5. Sit back and wait for Yelp moderators to approve it! The wait time can be 2 to 3 days, and you’ll get an email once it’s approved and live on your business profile.

A quick side note is that editing any ongoing CTA buttons / banners can be done through the “Call to Action” page, but any changes you make are subject to a new moderator review.  

Our tips for creating an effective CTA for your business profile are:

  • Pick an action that will benefit your business the most. Preferably an action that doesn’t currently exist on your page. 

  • Make the text engaging! Numbers, percentages, and even more content all help. Just remember to be as broad as possible and add context in the description to give more curious users the information they need. 

Deals and Gift Certificates on Yelp

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Yelp deals or Gift Certificates are great ways to drive purchases for your business. Discounts are attractive to many people and can bring in new customers as well. However, make sure to carefully plan and word your promotions. These discounts should ideally only be used for very specific products or services, like sale items. Be careful and prevent users from combining one promotion with another if that isn’t what you intended!

Deals and Gift Certificates have their own section on the Yelp for Business Owners account page too. 

To set up a Deal:

  1. Click “Set up Deals and Gift Certificates”:This button is found in the “Deals and Gift Certificates” category on your Yelp Business account page.

  2. Choose your Deal settings: Here, you can adjust the amount of vouchers available for the deal, set your price, and even add any special terms and conditions attached to your deal. Keep in mind that the photos used in your deal are auto-selected by Yelp; you aren’t able to choose your own.

  3.  It is important to agree to Yelp’s Merchant Terms. Without agreeing to the terms, your deal won’t be made public to customers.

  4. Publish the deal: Publish your new deal by clicking on the “Post this deal” button.

To set up a Gift Certificate:

  1. Click “Add Gift Certificates”: This button is found in the “Deals and Gift Certificates” category on your Yelp Business account page.

  2. Choose your Certificate settings: At this step, you’ll choose the amount of the certificate itself and how unused balances are sorted out. 

  3. It is important to agree to Yelp’s Merchant Terms. Without agreeing to the terms, your Certificate won’t be made public to customers.

  4. Publish the Certificate: Publish your new certificate by clicking on the “Post this Deal” button to publish the link.

Managing Your Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates

Customers who see your deal or certificate and redeem it on Yelp will need you to then confirm the deal terms, as well as set the deal’s status to used. This is done by hitting the “Mark as Used” button on the customer’s app.

Alternatively, if you chose to have a printed or emailed version of your deal, you’ll need to input and verify the code attached to the physical copy. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the “Purchases” subsection: This falls under the “Deals and Gift Certificates” main heading on your Yelp Business account.

  2. Punch in the 6-character code: Make sure you’re doing this in the “Claim code” text box.

  3. Finalize by clicking “Redeem”: This button confirms the deal.

Be proactive and stay on top of redeeming deals for your business. Should a customer come with a dispute about a refund, Yelp’s check and balance is that they verify if the deal was redeemed before or after the customer requested a refund.

At the same time, you also have the power to reject a deal code. This is only necessary if you discover that a customer has violated the deal terms you set, or if they have abused the code in some way. If you think resolving the issue is a bit beyond your control, do not hesitate to reach out to the Yelp support team for help.

Making Money from Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates

When you have deals and gift certificates set up, the money you earn from these promotions are finalized and processed monthly on the 15th. If your business account is set up properly, the money earned is sent directly to the address you set in the “Payouts” tab within “Deals and Certificates.” On this tab, you’ll be able to edit the payout information, by pressing the corresponding link, in order to edit your address.

But if you’d like to break the monthly schedule and request a payment outside of Yelp’s preset schedule, you can click on “Request payment” in the same tab as above to do so. Keep in mind that this request can process for up to 10 days on top of the actual delivery time of your money.

Another important detail about Yelp deals and certificates is that any earnings above $599 for the year requires Yelp to send you tax forms before your money actually gets to your hands. This is where you’ll be able to input your social security number (SSN) and Employer Identification Number (EIN). Both of these can be entered in the “Billing” subsection in your business account.

  1. Navigate to “Edit” or “Add Tax Information”: These buttons are located in the “Billing” category of your Yelp Business Account page.

  2. Type in your Social Security Number or Employee Identification Number.

  3. Review and confirm the information: After inputting your address, make sure you click “Save Tax Information” as the final step.

Measuring Yelp Ad Analytics

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In the “Yelp Ads” section of your Yelp Business Account, you can track and measure your ad performance metrics.

For each current ad that’s live, you’ll be able to see a bar graph underneath that shows how much of your budget has already been spent for the month. This graph also includes information like the number of clicks and the average cost per click for your ad.

To adjust the time frame of your data and track trends or patterns, navigate to the “Historical Metrics” data that’s underneath the budget graph. In this section, you’ll be able to adjust the time frame for overall clicks and impressions spanning the last 30 days, the previous month, the past year, or even the current year. 

Finally, you can get even more information and insights on our data by looking at a small table below the “Historical Metrics” graph. This table shows the period you’re viewing, as well as ad impressions, ad clicks, cost per click, and total ad spend. 

Yelp Ads: A Summary

For customers and Yelp users that are discovering new places and new businesses to visit, Yelp ads can be a powerful tool to guide them to your business page. 

Targeted ads help you appear and beat out your competitors when someone does a search. An upgraded profile gives the customer more information and visuals about your business. Call to action buttons drive visitors to your site or location, and deals or gift certificates give them an incentive to spend money. 

All of these tools, when used together, can make lasting changes for your business. Consider setting up your Yelp Business account today!