Yelp and Brandify Highlight Methods to Scale Hyperlocal Marketing

Damian Rollison | Aug 11, 2020 8:28:08 AM

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Yelp's Dylan Swift joined Brandify's Dustin Hayes last week for our latest partner webinar, "How National Brands Use Yelp to Achieve Hyperlocal Marketing at Scale." The session was chock full of interesting data points and compelling techniques for local marketing success at enterprise scale.

Dylan Swift shared insights that helped to underline the value of the Yelp audience for marketers who want to target local consumers. Whereas search engines like Google target every type of consumer intent, Yelp is all about connecting consumers with local businesses. Swift noted that 97% of consumers make a purchase at a nearby business after searching on Yelp, according to Nielsen.

In light of Yelp's highly localized and motivated audience, the company's slate of organic and paid tools for engaging with local consumers can produce results for brands that would be hard to achieve in any other platform. Swift mentioned numerous case studies including three that showed how Yelp was able to:

  • Help one brand increase awareness of delivery options in New York City
  • Help another brand promote curbside pickup in Los Angeles
  • Assist a third brand in highlighting drive-through options in Miami

As these examples illustrate, Yelp's heavy focus this year has been on promoting business offerings that respond to consumer needs during the pandemic. Indeed, Yelp has done more than many publishers in making features available that let businesses communicate special circumstances, contactless offerings, and health and safety procedures.

Screen Shot 2020-08-10 at 4.16.30 PM

Uptick in take-out and delivery searches since March, courtesy Yelp

Your Yelp questions answered

During the webinar, several questions came up that we thought it would be useful to recap here. Some content is rephrased for clarity.

  • How specific or broad are healthcare searches on Yelp? Are people searching for doctors only or also for healthcare facilities?

Yelp lists both practitioners and facilities, like clinics and hospitals, and users search Yelp for healthcare needs and recommendations of all kinds, from highly granular specializations to urgent care and everything in between.

  • What is Yelp's recommendation on providing information about health data collection requirements before entry into a store or place of business?

Actual health data collection activities -- such as temperature checks before a customer enters a store -- must, of course, be conducted outside of Yelp. But Yelp can help communicate such practices so consumers know what to expect. In particular, Yelp's new health and safety attributes can communicate a broad range of policies and procedures in effect at a given store or office location.

  • What is the best way to update health and safety measures at my location?

The best way to do this is through the Yelp API with a company like Brandify, or directly on Yelp via manual updates. The API can be especially helpful in managing this information at scale.

  • How do you track store visits and tie them to Yelp ads?

We recommend using a service like Placed to measure offline foot traffic in a manner that can be attributed to online ad views. Placed runs a control group and a test group. The test group is the group that was exposed to Yelp advertising, and the control was not exposed to Yelp ads during the same time period. They measure the differences in rates of visitation, then take the investment in Yelp ads and divide it by the number incremental visits in order to demonstrate return on spend.

  • What is the recommended minimum spend for a CPC campaign?

It depends on the number of locations and the category of the business. Some categories have a much higher value per lead than others. For a typical retail brand, CPC ad spend might run about $300-$400 per location per month, whereas for a category like insurance, it would be closer to $1,000 per location per month.

  • What do "hyperlocal" and "geotargeting" mean?

The term hyperlocal generally refers to a geographic area smaller than a city -- from a neighborhood down to a specific store location. Ad targeting is getting better and better at finding and messaging consumers at a hyperlocal level. This is what is meant by geotargeting: the ability to identify and message the consumer based on precise knowledge of their physical location.

  • What does the engagement ramp-up look like for a new Yelp ad campaign?

We start with listing cleanup, and we also make sure that photo content in the listings is in good shape. Ad campaigns often begin with a three-month trial period so that the business can evaluate early returns and determine how to grow from there. In some cases, a larger brand like an insurance company may purchase a nationwide advertising program that supports all of their agents across the country with search advertising and upgraded profiles. They will then invite individual agents to participate.

  • When a brand is considering where to put their ad spend, why would Yelp be a decision over the likes of Google and others?

Think of it like this. On Google, the top four search terms are "weather," "news," "amazon," and "movies." On Yelp, the top four search terms are "restaurants," "delivery," "coffee," and "pizza." This difference on its own speaks volumes about the local orientation and purchase intent of Yelp users.

Someone who searches for "pancakes" on Google may want a recipe, but someone who searches for "pancakes" on Yelp is looking for a great pancake restaurant. Again, the clarity of intent and likelihood of transacting are big differences.

That said, it's best to think of Google and Yelp as an "and" strategy rather than an "or" strategy. Google has great leads; Yelp has great leads. Their audiences may be different, but a coordinated ad campaign that makes use of both can be very successful.


If you missed the webinar last week, not to worry! Just click the link below to get access to the recording. 


Topics: Local Advertising, Yelp, Webinars

Damian Rollison

Damian Rollison

VP of Market Development and Strategic Partnerships

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