By Eridani Baker & Ruth Corrigan, Mindshare
Yelp, the mobile enabled business review and listings site recently acquired Qype. Qype is Europe’s largest local review site and arguably Yelp’s biggest competitor. The $50m acquisition will give a combined service covering approx. 93 million monthly unique visitors and 32 million reviews across 13 countries. Details
Yelp puts the consumer and word-of-mouth at the center of its search and review strategy. Yelp search results deliver local business listings as well as consumer reviews. Pages on Yelp are not necessarily managed or owned by the businesses, as business listings and reviews can be added by anyone. Consumers are heavily influenced by other consumers and this makes the site relevant, trusted and informative.
This consumer-centric focus has always been at the center of Yelp’s offering, unlike Google which is currently working on building a location and review experience into its mobile search proposition. Also working in Yelp’s favour is that searches are carried out within the app itself. Last week Google’s stock value dropped by 10%, a large contributing factor being that consumers are increasingly migrating to mobile apps, an area that advertisers are yet to get the hang of monetizing. As Steve Jobs stated back in 2010, ‘Using apps rather than a generalized search is where the opportunity to deliver advertising is; not as a part of search but as a part of apps’.
The Yelp search and reviews platform is now baked into the new Apple Maps on iOS6. This partnership will expand Yelp’s offering, despite Apple Maps getting off to a rocky start. Buried under numerous negative Maps reviews, Yelp has been commended for ‘getting the places experience just right’. Implications
On Yelp, brands can place messaging in the right place at the right time. For example, automotive brands can target users that search for dealerships with automotive ads, or equally on search results for competitor dealerships. Automotive brands including BMW, Mercedes and Ford are even selling their cars with the Yelp app pre-loaded into their dashboards.
Currently advertisers can only buy on Yelp based on categories and not keywords. This means the targeting cannot be as specific, but something they may look to add in.
Ultimately, as a business, owning your own Yelp profile will allow you to better integrate your presence on the platform into above-the-line media. Summary
As in-app searches increase and consumers become more savvy about who they are influenced by, word-of-mouth advertising solutions should be taken into consideration when building any brand presence.