Should DTC Brands Advertise On Yelp?

Carin Oliver, CEO

by Carin Oliver, CEO of Angelsmith

This article will provide an overview on which types of brands Yelp advertising delivers the most results for and which types of companies and situations where it might not be beneficial to advertise on Yelp. 

I’ve provided a checklist to review as you are considering your Yelp advertising and marketing program. 

Angelsmith is channel-agnostic and we dive deep into a brand’s situation to make the best recommendations for their challenges, goals, and resources. We are Google Partners, Facebook Marketing Partners and Yelp Agency Partners. We use flat fee pricing so we don’t make any more or any less money from any specific channel. This Yelp advertising checklist is how we evaluate whether or not part of the budget should be allocated to the consumer review platform. 

Advertising on Yelp can be an effective strategy for many businesses, especially those with a local service or with a bricks and mortar retail location(s). However, before diving in, marketing teams should consider the following factors:

  • Target Audience:

    Understand how and if your audience frequents Yelp. For wine, restaurants and fitness organizations, our research demonstrates that consumers use Yelp to discover new brands as well as research and verify those brands’ they’ve found elsewhere that are already in their consideration set.

  • Reputation Management:

    If your brand doesn’t have at least a 3.5+ star rating, you should work on your customer service to get those reviews up before you do any advertising. Poor overall reviews is problematic, but poor recent reviews are more likely to get your brand the veto vote. Don’t spend money to get the veto vote.

  • Competitors Advertising:

    If your competitors are advertising on Yelp and you’re not, they are potentially stealing your market share.

  • Costs:

    Yelp offers different advertising packages at different rates, but typically an entry level buy will be around $600 per month. You need to evaluate the potential ROI of advertising on the platform and see if it aligns with your budget and goals.

  • Timeline:

    Is your establishment open now? Are you ready for customers in the next hour? According to Yelp’s research and our own clients’ experiences’ Yelpers typically convert within 48 hours. It is one of the fastest channels for finding customers for your bricks and mortar business.

  • Ad Formats:

    Yelp offers various advertising options like search ads, display ads, and profile enhancements. Understand how each of the different formats will help you achieve your specific goals.

  • Competition:

    If your competition has listings on Yelp, but is not necessarily advertising, then it’s kind of a toss up if you should be advertising. Frankly, I’m competitive and it may be an opportunity to steal shares at a low acquisition cost. But if your brand’s star rating is higher and you have significantly more reviews than your competitor, then you may not need to advertise. However, if competitors are advertising against your keywords, you definitely need to advertise. If your competition isn’t on Yelp, you likely don’t need to be there. There are of course exceptions to every rule.

  • Time Commitment:

    Managing and optimizing Yelp ads and engaging with customer feedback requires time. Make sure your team has the bandwidth to handle it or you can outsource it to a certified Yelp Advertising Partner.

  • No Reviews From Employees Policy:

    You don’t need a formal policy (although check with HR and/or your legal reps - I’m not an attorney!) but you will need to let your team know that they can’t leave a review for your business. It is against the terms of service. Yelp has a strict policy against fake reviews. Most employees genuinely like where they work and want to share the news on Yelp, but just let them know they can’t do it!

  • Commitment Period:

    While Yelp doesn’t have long term advertising contracts, the results from Yelp advertising can take some time to ramp up. We recommend giving it at least 6 months. You should see results very quickly, but the longer the algorithm has to learn about who is responding to your ads the better your advertising team can optimize, providing enhanced return on your ad spend (ROAS).

  • Metrics and Analytics:

    Ensure that you have a system in place to measure the effectiveness of your Yelp ads and know which key performance indicators are important to you and your organization. This can help to justify the spend now and in the future. Just do know that sales attribution tracking is not 100% accurate. The ability to track sales conversions directly from Yelp is dependent on which platform you use to track appointments, whether your business is walk-in or a combination of both.

  • Align Advertising With Consumer Behavior:

    Consumers frequently use Yelp at the bottom of the sales funnel. They're looking for a wine tasting experience, a place to eat or a service to use immediately or in the near future, so tailor your advertising and your offer to this mindset.

Finally, always be ready to adapt. Monitor your Yelp advertising performance closely and adjust strategies as needed to achieve the best results.

Can Your Yelp Page Be Doing More For You?

Work with a Certified Yelp Agency Partner to Get More Consistent Tasting Room Traffic.

With more than 20 years experince in digital marketing, Angelsmith understands how to tailor your Yelp page so that people choose your venue. Plus, as a Yelp Agency Partner, we have special access to tools, products, and services to increase traffic to your tasting room. 

Let us prove it to you: let us do a free assessment of your Yelp page. We’ll look at how it’s structured, the content on the page, how you’re responding to reviews, your competitors, your keywords, and more. Then we’ll present you with our recommendations on how you can maximize your presence on Yelp.

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