Advertising on Yelp: What you should consider. avatar
Advertising on Yelp: What you should consider.

Yelp appears to have been gaining more and more online awareness with consumers since it is considered by many as #1 online review site. I know I frequent Yelp more often these days. Clients had been asking me, “should I advertise with Yelp?” But often I would defer to Google PPC as I was skeptical of what Yelp could deliver. I would tell them if you’re getting results on Google, and there’s more inventory still available, add to your Google budget.

Click here to receive a PDF document outlining Yelp’s ad packages.

However, finally, I placed several eager retail clients on Yelp. One client was in Houston, the other in an affluent Southern California area. I figured it was worth a try, minimal risk, and I thought maybe the consumers on Yelp were just as far along in the sales funnel as a Google PPC customer.


I am an advocate of tracking all your marketing spend to understand fully the results and ROI, which I usually do with call tracking phone numbers for retail brick and mortar businesses. Effectively tracking leads and understanding ROI from Yelp advertising is harder than other marketing tactics. It doesn’t make sense to put a call tracking number anywhere in Yelp (absolutely don’t use a call tracking number in your Yelp profile if you care at all about local SEO efforts). Without call tracking, you have to rely on asking consumers when they call your business. Yelp does, however, provide some metrics, like page views, or ad clicks.  As you can see in the above chart, impressions in yellow were when we started advertising on Yelp–definitely an increase. When looking through our website’s analytics Yelp ads drove very low bounce rate traffic (25-30% range) which is very good when comparing it to other referring sources.

Why We Pulled the Plug on Yelp Advertising

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, we calculated a much higher cost/call and lower ROI than Google PPC, and we decided to put Yelp ads on hold and put the budget into other more productive tactics, primarily Google Adwords.

If your primary objective for your business are leads, and you cannot validate that a particular tactic is driving low-cost leads, stop it and put your money where you know you can get a lower cost per lead.

I have several clients on Yelp, and none has received very promising results. So I’m not advocating you not use Yelp, but I would minimize your budget exposure to Yelp by asking for shorter contracts until it proves itself (they require advertising commitments). And to be honest, the fact that Yelp requires you to commit to an advertising contract is a big downer for me — why lock in a business if something is not working. In Yelp’s defense, they’ve always stated the best results occur after you’ve been advertising with them for an extended period…take that for what it’s worth (kind of like the fox that guards the hen house). Most businesses with a finite ad budget are better off utilizing a comprehensive Google PPC campaign integrated with remarketing, and Facebook ads and Facebook remarketing — after all just about everyone on the Internet visits either Google or Facebook every single day, if not multiple times per day.

Pro Tip:
If you do decide to advertise with Yelp (or you are currently), do yourself a favor and experiment with the CPC (cost-per-click) bids. Yelp sets these for you (often I see these set in the $3 range), but we’ve adjusted these to half of that thus making the budget go MUCH further with more clicks and traffic for your business. You have to look out for yourself here – I’ve never seen a Yelp account manager move these down to your benefit, but if you do you can potentially acquire far more traffic from your ads. If you implement lower CPC’s, monitor the progress as sometimes it can go too low and you are outbid by competitors and you lose impressions.

Have you advertised on Yelp? What are your thoughts?

Related post: How to get rid of negative Yelp reviews.

And, How To Respond To Negative Online Reviews

Survey Results of Which Reviews Sites Consumers Prefer: Top Review Sites For Consumers – Survey Results

  • Lance Throttle

    I use yelp for my other business, I fear listing it as my Yelp credibility could get even worse than it already is. I have been paying the evil dollar to yelp to the tune of $550 a month. The filter has us losing our mind. The positive reviews do not stick more often. I can’t wait until my yelp contract is up. Do not sign up and do not pay them the monthly fees.

    • Chris Rodriguez

      i agree, i only got he 6 month plan and i regret it now. its 325 monthly which is ridiculous for not even getting any leads from it. I get more leads from traditional advertisement and word of mouth than what yelp has ever claimed to offer

      • Norma Christie

        Yes, I agree with Chris Rodriquez. I have a 3 month contract with Yelp & after over 150 clicks from the first month & half; and still haven’t received any new clients. I also think that something is wrong here. How could I have that many clicks & not even one prospect. I check the stats daily & I find it odd that the first two weeks of the month I only have one click per day; however I got 15 clicks overnight last month & again this month towards the end of the month & still not one new client. I’ve heard that Yelp is deceitful & I dare to say that it wouldn’t surprise me if a team member is clicking on my ad multiple times a day in order to receive the total budget amount I have set monthly.

  • Jacob

    I just got off the phone with yelp. Their packages are definitely a little weird and they were pushing me pretty hard to sign up here and now. I get great results with Google and if I was going to spend an extra $350-$550/month, I would put it in a place where I know people are clicking. The yelp packages they offered me were for impressions, and it was a moderately low impression count. It came out to around $.70/impression, which in Google Ads is outrageous. Anyway, after reading your review, I believe I will stay away from it until they get into the world of CPC.

    Dr. Canfield

    • Toby

      Yes, good points Dr. Canfield! I’ve tried with several clients to get more transparency on Yelp results and distill results down to a cost per lead but they always come in higher than other tactics. Yelp does offer a CPC option, but they set it at $3/click — it’s not a Google efficient real-time auction for keywords.

      • Jaime Mansfield

        My ‘wanna be” rep, who was trying to get me to come aboard as a yelp client, quoted me $4 a click, capping the ceiling at 25 clicks would be the most I’d be charged for. I told her we weren’t ready at this time.

        • Eva Cotter

          they told me $4 per click too. They’ve charged me two months in a row, over $8 per click. They just charge up to the limit of your ad spend budget, which for me is $600, so, magically, my bill this month is $600. Imagine that!

  • Phillip Mosby

    I just signed up with Yelp and after reading your comments, I am wondering if I should call back and cancel. Let me know, thanks!!

    • Toby

      Phillip, I generally recommend clients tap their budget on Google first if possible before moving to Yelp. Leads are pre-qualified in Google search and Google is a proven advertising channel with results that are easily measured. Understanding results from Yelp is more difficult.

  • Seeker

    7 days after signing up Yelp,
    I canceled the account.paying $600.00 early termination fee is way better than sticking to them for a year.

  • DrB

    As a business owner, Yelp is basically it is a shakedown. Their advertising doesn’t produce, but they may gradually delete negative reviews, which can help your business. Kind of like paying off the concentration camp guards so they give you favorable status.

  • Vicki Stuart

    I would prefer not to be listed on yelp ever, but consumer like to check out business on yelp and your positive reviews will not stay on the site unless you have advertising account. This is form of blackmail from yelp, and I would say that this is disturbing tendency. Business community should be aware of this business practice.

    • WLV Lighitng

      That’s not accurate at all. I have 4 5 star reviews for my business and have never given a dime to Yelp.

    • Yla

      Vicki, I agree greatly! Def. feels like blackmailing. All of our new reviews would get filtered until we began advertising with them. then they all magically came back. A few months later got a call from our rep and was asked to increase our budget, i told him that it was not possible at the time and what do ya know. 4 positive reviews were filtered 2 days later.

  • Screaming Stone

    Like others have mentioned – the Yelp ad rep tried pushing the Cost Per Impression method – $350 for 600 impressions/month requiring I commit to one year contract. When I inquired about the Cost Per Click, the rep had very little knowledge about the product, continuously stated that that was not what I wanted – and pretty much made me reconsider working with him at all as an ad rep. We are considering the $3.50/click program – because it has other advantages. They need to reconsider their sales training.

  • Xander Cage

    Great review ! So Helpful I was going to advertise with them but just found out there is a one year contract and no guarantee of any kind !
    This helped a lot.

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Thanks for the comment. Glad it was helpful. I would look to Google Adwords first before going to Yelp if your goal is lead generation.

      • beyondbrandi

        Totally, I literally am deciding right now…and the rep has been calling every 3 hours….just that alone is annoying! ugh.

  • Art

    I don’t like Yelp. Even though they are saying that if you pay them it doesn’t affect your reviews, I decided to test it out myself. I can’t give 100% if it was true and not random algorithm change, but you can make your final decision yourself. So they called me with an advertise offer. I said them that I had only 3 reviews and 4 filtered ones. My point was to get my filtered reviews back so I had something to show and only after that I could start advertising. What if Yelp filters all my reviews and I sign up a year contract – doesn’t make any sense. Then I ask them to call me next day. Believe it or not but one of my reviews got back from filter, so I had +1 review when they returned a call next day. This company doesn’t seem playing white hat all the time at least I made this decision for myself after all my conversations with Yelp and following all its behavior. Conclusion: I have all 5 star reviews and I have constant traffic that comes from Yelp, BUT I would wish if Yelp disappears one day – ASAP :) P.S. the review that I got back after first conversation as a sort of ‘deposit’ (probably) got filtered in two-three days after my second conversation when they failed to make a sale.

    • sandra Vitale

      It’s sad that Yelp does that to almost all the small businesses. I recently started a salon faced by heavy competition in the locality, I was struggling to get new clients being my first. That’s why i made my Yelp account, much to my horrifying days they started pushing me to buy their packages. Just because I said no to their advertising all my previous reviews got filtered out. It’s been 3 months and yet no reviews stick on to my page, still everything gets filtered away. The best thing to do is not to answer their calls. To avoid them and believe as if they don’t exists. Personal advice even better stop using Yelp. Stick to google.

  • James Mallory

    Heads up – Yelp finally rolled out a true PPC campaign recently. It still has lacks the transparency of Google AdWords and has the silly contract and monthly fee though.

  • aaron

    I just signed on with yelp. I felt the video they now offer would help my business stand out among the competition. After two weeks of advertising, I am so ready to quit. I put a halt to my video shoot because I am listed 52nd in a general search.
    For me and by the admission of my representative, the only results that matter are the top ten. I was told that my position could change if I offered a “yelp deal”, that means I offer my service for 20,40,50%off and give them a percentage. they have a great business model to maximize their control of advertisers.

  • davidahn

    I find I’m relying on Yelp as a consumer less due to inaccurate search results (burger joints show up on a Vietnamese food search, advertisers preempt higher reviewed businesses. As a business owner, I feel like they’re extorting us… a 4-review, 3.5 star business’s Yelp page shows up at the top of page 1 in Google search results despite our 8 review, 5-star business. So I don’t know if we should advertise to try to get on page 1 of Google searches (we could really use it), or if we should stick to our principles and not negotiate with extortionists.

  • Robert Marcos

    I invested in a Google Adwords campaign for almost five years. The results got worse over time, probably because a million wedding photographers entered the marketplace over that period. So I pulled it and have had no advertising whatsoever for the last two years, except for a free Yelp listing. It’s only because of the occasional BAD review that Yelp can be trusted. If they allowed no bad reviews than they’d just exist to make money. The fact is all of the local search lead portals charge – Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and Google Adwords. Of the four of them Yelp leads by far in actual usage…

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Google doesn’t have a local portal, but they drive far more awareness and leads for just about all businesses by a large margin over any other. Not sure exactly what happened to your campaign over time, but even in the most competitive industries (personal injury law where cost per click can be $150+) I’ve seen Google deliver.

      Some markets as yours (wedding photographer) are highly competitive but there are additional tactics to make Google Adwords campaigns much more effective, i.e. retargeting on both Google and Facebook for anyone that visited your site, or running targeted ads towards people on Facebook that are engaged and if they go to your website and you’re doing remarketing you can then follow them around for up to a year serving them ads reminding them of your service at very little cost — almost nobody converts on the first visit.

      Yelp has its place in some limited form, but a thorough well thought out marketing plan with multiple online tactics will make everything work better and will certainly out run your less savy competitors.

      • Michelle

        I am thinking of using Yelp but since reading the comments Google seems to be far better. What forms of advertisement should I use with Google?

        • Toby Danylchuk

          Hi Michelle,
          Google offers two basic forms of advertisement: search and display. Search is often the best place to start. With search you are bidding on keywords that are relevant to your business so the benefit is that customers are pre-qualified since they had to type in a query related to your products or services – they are actively searching for you. You can also integrate remarketing campaigns too which allows you to follow customers around for up to 1 year serving them ads – this is very beneficial when you consider that only a small percentage of site visitors convert to a lead on the first visit to your site. Hope this helps.

  • Michael Denufrio

    I own a personal training company in providence RI . I am in the beginning stages with purchases of equipment, my website, and now marketing/ advertising. Yelp called me from AZ and a man named Daniel was EXTREMELY pushy with the sales. I don’t appreciate someone nearly forcing the advertising down my throat. He spoke very slow but when it came down to cancellation he very quickly stated the cancellation is $200. There is an annual commitment which seems very shady. I like yelp and think they are reputable but the sales approach really angered me. I will stick with google

  • zack craig

    The lady from yelp called me twice this week with all the sales pitches. I told her i was still thinking about it and she is going to call me again tomorrow. Its a good thing i read this article because i was locked with superpages and yellow pages who were not delivering for my other company and i was considering a new type of advertising venue for my new company but i will not go that way. They just want to lock me in for $350 a month and then they will disappear they can care less whether or not i get calls or not.

  • Abatar Cls

    After 3 years of hundreds of phone calls from , I deal with a New York representative Meredith Hottinger who lie in very sweet way and sell $325.00 per month advertising program that should create 800 leads of clients who’s looking for airport transportation in New York.

    My small business “Abatar Car Service” locaten in Brooklyn NY was a victim of bogus advertising that created only 7 links or phone calls to my business. If you divide $325 in 7 leads it’s $46 for each leads.

    I argued with Ashley Wilbraham (My advertising Manager) about the enormous cost and zero business results and she told me “if I need better exposure” to be more aggressive and increase to $1000 a month . I refused because $325 was proving that was bogus advertising already. I better canceled. Am going to New York small claims court for the return of my money.

    Stay away from it’s a ripoff company that will steal your money and create difficulty’s to your company.

  • miss415

    I almost signed up for yelp ads and locked myself in for a 1 year committment but when I logged in to my business owner account for the first time, (mind you, while on the phone with a yelp sales rep) the first page one lands on prompts the user to “Set Up Yelp Ads”. On that page it says “No contract. Cancel any time”. When
    I asked about, the rep said “oh that’s a different program” but when I read the agreement I was supposed to sign, it sounded like the exact same thing except for the 1 year commitment. Maybe I’m wrong & just didn’t understand all the jargon in my agreement, but the rep could not clearly explain the difference to me & was pressuring me to sign saying “the price increases on Monday”. It was Friday afternoon and I didn’t sign. It’s a shame they are so dishonest & aggressive because after hearing the initial sales pitch, I thought it sounded like just the boost my business needs right now.

  • martinw392

    Yelp advertisers will be targets for other businesses being hurt by yelp, they will hit you with negative reviews to try and deter your support for yelp, I wouldn’t touch yelp if you value your good will and reputation.

  • Eric

    I just got off the phone with yelp and must say I’m very surprised. The pricing seems a little silly to me, I was offered a 6 month contract at $325 per month for 500 impressions, early termination fee is 1 month on the 6 month contract and 2 months on the 1 year contract. It is $25 more for the same impressions if you choose a 1 year contract. What I don’t like is how few of my questions they were able to answer, I asked if I could pay to increase my service area and was told they didn’t know and I would have to speak with my account manager whom they are not able to forward me to until after I make the commitment. They also could not tell me how many others I would be competing against nor how often my ad would come up (every 8 searches or 12 or 50). The information was not available. I find it difficult to give this company $2000 of my hard earned money when simple questions cannot even be addressed.

  • Brad

    My law firm decided to advertise on a Yelp for $375 per month with a free video and one year commitment. There’s an early termination fee of about $1000. It has been two months and we have seen no results. All our reviews remain filtered, competitor firms show up all around our “sponsored listing” and the whole experience has been underwhelming. Google AdWords produced much better results. Demanding an early termination penalty should have been the first clue that this campaign would be a dud.

  • EON Electric

    Great article! Thank you. I tried the Yelp paid advertising when I 1st joined and got nothing out of it, BUT… my local business had no reviews at the time.

    Now that I have some good reviews on there, I’m wondering if it would work better this time.

    Big fan of Yelp, just not sure about the “locked-in” one year commitment to their advertisement.

  • Daniel Chan

    They need to automate a bidding system and get rid of their pushy sales team, similar to what Facebook and Google does.

  • Timothy Maina

    This was very helpful. We were considering using Yelp for our brand as well as for some of our clients but after reading this, I think we’ll pass. Thanks for the great article.

  • Ganesh Gs

    i signed up with Yelp advertising starting june1, 2014 and so far the results have been VERY DISAPPOINTING! 1 CLICK THRU TO MY WEBSITE AND 2 CALLS, THAT’s IT, i believe i’m not getting the number of impressions i was promised. they said i needed to sign up for a minimum of 12 months, mandatory, with a $200 early termination fee. i don’t recommend it, waste of money.

  • Eric Shaw

    I have to admit that yelp has been great for our business but I just can’t get around
    paying them to drive more people to our Business Listing and not to our Website. This is something that yellow pages and city search have done as well and it continues to fail. Also showing additional ads on competitor’s business pages doesn’t really jive to well with me. Google has done this with the business
    bubbles on google maps and all it does is confuse people and tricks them into
    clicking on ads. What bothers me the most is when customers call and say
    they saw our yelp listing and wanted to call but never got around to actually visiting
    our website. It leads me to believe that getting more people to visit our
    business listing is not the answer if they don’t click on the website link and for that reason I wouldn’t advertise on yelp.

  • Warren Peck

    I was very happy with my free Yelp business profile, so when the Yelp salesperson told me that with paid Yelp advertising I could expect great results almost immediately, I was suckered in. Not only did my leads from Yelp not increase, they actually decreased the month I started advertising with them. The second month, I noticed that I had only a 10% increase in my Yelp traffic, when I was told to expect 50% to 100% because I would be at the top of my category for 1300 views. Big waste of money, big money to get out of the contract, horrible customer service. I will never give Yelp another penny.

  • Joel LaRusic

    I paid for a pay-per-click campaign with Yelp and wished I hadn’t. First off, they charge you $100/month just for the privilege and then its about $5/click… so the net cost is about $10/click. Ridiculous (and not made clear by the way). I decided to cut my losses and cancel and pay the $200 cancellation fee but was told I had to give a months notice. I did that and just before it ended my Yelp guy called me and convinced me to give it another month and he did help me fix up my profile a bit. So another 3 weeks goes by and I’m getting nothing so I tell him I’m still going to cancel and he tells me I have to give ANOTHER 30 days notice. That’s a low blow. So, expensive and unethical business practices is my take on them (also untrustworthy but don’t even get me started on that!). Thanks for your review.

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  • Fl Spa

    DO NOT ADVERTISE with Yelp. We are a small business that believed YELP to be a reputable way to advertise. We entered into a $250/month contract, and from the get go were not given what promised. I confirmed with the sales rep 3 times that we would be able to downgrade to $100 month if we were not seeing results and he said yes. When we tried to do so after the first 3 months we were told that this was not possible. We were paying a flat price with a monthly report showing Less than 4 clicks per month.WE never received 1 Call from Yelp! Often times we were still on the 6th page of yelp search for our industry in our zip code. We have 10 reviews that are not showing (only 3 that are). These are our customer, not paid reviews. We convinced them to allow us at least to change to a pay per click (yet were still being charged $200 for an “upgraded Profile.”) Suddenly they claim we are getting 60 Clicks per month and our bills increased! This is when, clearly, our report shows only 3 clicks. I can not believe how bad we got scammed. Put your money in Google – that is honest to advertisers and gets results. Advertising with Yelp was the biggest mistake we made!

  • Chrissy Lee

    Yelp Is AWFUL DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THEM!. They do nothing but market to you. They told me that the most inexpensive advertisement they have is $555 per month and if I even get that many clicks I will definitely make it up clients coming in, COMPLETE LIE, Now I have to pay an early termination fee of 1500 even though I am only 7 days into a year contract. AND i told them I was given information when I signed up I was given opposite information. Its free to be on yelp and they tell me after I sign up that I will not be receiving many clients for a few months. Its free to be on Yelp. Only Sign up if you can afford to give a company $2000 before seeing any results of it.

  • Chris Terry

    I too was suckered in to yelp, having established a great yelp on my own I became a target of their relentless sales calls. They promised to deliver 5 to 10 times more traffic to my page, which would lead to “thousands” of dollars in additional revenue. Man they are good at convincing people, I don’t know how the reps sleep at night.

    In the end I thought it was a great idea, month 1 of advertising I received 3 visits to my website. That’s a 300% DECREASE from my pre-advertising days. Month 2 I received a whopping 4 visits to my website, down 266% from my pre-advertising days. So I cancelled and they want to charge me a cancellation fee. Go efff yourself yelp, I gave you enough of my hard earned money for zip in return.

  • Robert Teegarden

    I have a small auto detailing business that I advertise on Yelp! and get almost 80% of my business through there. With that said, I am aware that this particular market frequents Yelp! which is why I decided to to pursue paid advertising with them. I will concur with others that the sales rep, although very nice and professional, was very pushy to get me to sign up for a package that would have been roughly half of my revenue on am monthly basis. After a month of cat and mouse, I got a CPC package with a three month term, which I am now month to month on. I am considering lowering my ad budget as I am generating more business than I can handle at the moment, (again,it’s a side business for me). You just have to have patience and keep poking back at them to get what you want. Hope this offers a different perspective than what has been mentioned here.

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Thanks for your comment Robert – I do think Yelp ad results vary on industries as per your business it seems to be working well. If you can do short-term contracts as you have and then measure results I believe that is the best which allows you to exit if it’s not working.

  • jc

    Completely worthless and extremely over priced. They coaxed us into signing a contract, promising everything from a video to a 4 to 1 return on our ad spend. Once the contract was signed, I never heard from them again. Didn’t get a customer login, screenshots of any advertising campaigns, the video never materialized, we got ZERO customers and ended up spending almost $1,500 for exactly 5 (alleged) clicks on an ad that was placed on our own profile….that linked to our profile (aka: the same page). The only thing I got out of this was a bill and a bunch of BS from our sales rep. Hang up when they call.

  • Brian Benson

    I had a free listing on yelp. An ad rep called me and while she started off pleasant, turned rude at the end when I told her I wasn’t interested. When I looked for my company today,our companies listings have been taken off the site totally. And we don’t even exist on there site anymore. Talk about extortion

  • MDamron

    I joined Yelp as a paid advertiser on Febuary 9th and my page wiews increased dramatically day one fo rthe next 7 days until I pulled the plug. Every morning before 7:00 am it looks like Yelp served up my ads and I got burned bad for a week solid. Spent $900 and cannot contribute a single phone call or inquiry from Yelp.

    So who’s doing this a competitor protecting his advertising or Yelp raking in revenues. At this point I’m just happy I pulled the plug.

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  • Indi

    I wish I did not sing up the contract with yelp, but I did since I saw and was recommended to do it. But now I see o did a big mistake. They don’t do anything, I did increase calls advertising myself, that’s click impressions doesn’t look like it’s true , they just adjust it to the money you pay them monthly. I want to cancell my agreement with them but I don’t wanna pay them and this cancellation fee. Does anyone know who can I do it? they called me before all the time, but now when I want to cancell the agreement and talk to the Accountant manager Ashlee , and I tried to connect her they do not allow me to talk to her. They lied to me that it was a trial month. When I wanted to cancell their service in three days after I singed it , they said its a trial month you don’t need to pay anything. I got abt 8 calls from yelp to my business and they kept silence abt a minute that’s how they put calls and impressions. When I said to the yelp agent he cant say anything. Please If you know how to help me or give me an advise I’ll appreciate your help. Thank you.

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Hi, unfortunately you will have to deal with your acct mgr at Yelp…it’s really up to her and her manager. If you signed a contract my sense is you will have to pay the cancellation fee to get out of it.

  • J. Dirom Photography

    Thanks for the article. I had received a call form Yelp a week ago about advertising with them. Wanted to do some research and found what others have experienced.

  • Michelle

    I originally signed up with Yelp because I wanted to keep competitors’ adverts off my page. (We have a competitor who is a really aggressive advertiser!) I just cancelled my Yelp contract and sucked up the $600 early termination fee. We’re a very small business – highly personal service – with just 20 clients. I surveyed the most recent 10 and none of them had even visited the Yelp page. Just not a good ROI when not a single lead has come that way.

  • Bonnie

    I just cancelled YELP and have to pay the early cancellation fee. My formerly nice account manager called last night to see “how he could help me.” Don’t think I have ever been that angry in a phone conversation. Everything he said was more insane than the earlier one. Our salesman emphasized that YELP would be as good for our service business as for a pizza place. Wrong! We teach reading. Search for reading and you get a company that had that word in a review not a company that has it in its name. Type in reading improvement and you get Lowes. Typing in reading instruction and you get Yoga. He said that when you use two words to use a comma. Like those searching would do that? That didn’t work either. Our ad only appeared once in a great while. Reviews sometimes show up and sometimes don’t. The salesman said that we could get more business with a special offer. But (after we signed the contract) we discovered that you can only offer dollars off but not say what the deal is for! I can’t yelp loud enough about YELP.

  • Sanja

    Here is the problem, I am advertising with them, and my 5 starts reviews are still hidden. Advertising with YElp doesn’t bring any positive results. I am so upset I sign up with them, the biggest mistake. Just have your customer give you positive review, after they review few more before, and they need to have friends on Yelp, other way, they would be hidden.

  • Anton Gio

    Do not go with YELP.. They’re just sucking money from your pocket

  • James

    Toby danylchuk. I’ve ben with yelp now over 3moth and its not helping me at all, they told me, it would be guarantee help with advertise my business.. what I don’t no is the high percentage rates and they were real clever on getting me to join with them.. my bill this month is 350.00 with and this just on clicks. if I’d known it would have been like this I wouldn’t have never hooked up with me..

  • juicejug

    I was approached today by a one of their reps.

    I also found them to be pressuring and she wanted me to sign up today or I’d miss the June 1 deadline. DON’T CARE!

    In just the small amount of research I’ve done, I’ve found it probably won’t be worth it. I did a test on one of the example businesses she used in her presentation that was paying for ads. I searched from several different computers on different networks so that I could bypass any IP tracking that might give me different results. I also checked on my phone and a tablet.

    What I checked for was the prepopulated search category this business was focused on and their city and their zip code from their listing. The results I got were that this businesses ad never appeared on top of any results, additionally their business page showed up at the bottom of the second page from the computers and was the 56th result on the mobile devices.

    Also on each search, the top results were always businesses that could barely be classified in the same category and were businesses still using their free listing.

    Full disclosure, I still use Yelp and think it’s great to get reviews. I do however think most people will be best off using their free listing but directing their clients to review them as it seemed that the most reviews would show up at the top of the results.

  • Eric Tolley

    I was told that I could create my own video and that I would get 350 impressions per month…neither were true. So now I’m disputing the charges including a $600 early termination fee.

  • Ali Sotoudeh

    yelp is the worse way to advertise your business and exposure to the consumers since they first approach your business with a very pushy tactics and or then come back with strategy if you advertise with them higher budget then they claim they make your phone rings off hook like crazy for which I was not a fool as business to fall for it since I knew words of mouth is always best way of advertising specially if you are a small service oriented business and don’t need very high exposure and consumers most of the time find out for himself by appropriate judgement of service you provided them and or they ask through friends and or at least they give your business a try first but not the kind of prepaid of customers they sent your way to vent out their dis-pleasure and you have no chance to defend your business simply the yelp acts like a business bureau without any chance given to explain and or dispute false hood of comments and yelp claim you can dispute through your account but there is no account if you are not advertising with them any more and they sent you around as they do filter your good reviews and even

    now they claim this that ” There’s no amount of money a business can pay to manipulate their reviews or rating and Yelp does not skew things in favor of advertisers or against businesses that don’t ”

    Though you can try to contact the people with bad reviews they vented however as they wished they are no reply from the viewers bad mouthing your business and yelp doe not give a damn about how hard you built up a business over numbers of years to where as a few yelp viewers come in and try to damage it since they were not pleased with you and or the type of customers they sent in and I have read that they are prepaid bloggers. and they do damage to your business reputation and long standing and yelp think that they have you all on the hook just like what Douglas Karr said on a different site about yelp advertising that:

    I’d still recommend having a page on Yelp, Facebook and Google+… but not sure I’d advertise on Yelp given their requirements. If you’re a service provider in Angie’s List, they have the most valuable audience out there and a fair way of mediating between the providers and the customers and so do your self a favor.

  • Paul

    Yelp has been trying VERY hard to sell one of these packages to me. After finally forcefully rejecting them my listing went from #1 to #10 and they removed two of my three 5 star reviews! Like the BBB paying seems to be the key to the kingdom. I’ve read enough Yelp horror stories from businesses to know to not support such a thing. My marketing dollars will be spent elsewhere.

  • Ulysses Gonzalez

    I am going to pay a $700 early termination fee to cancel my yelp business add. My Yelp add has not paid off . I feel that yelp has robed me. They only care about themselves and their sales. Yelp is a scam which cost my new business $1200.

  • Todor Jelev

    Ive put all their numbers as SPAM. I have 30 positive reviews listed and more than 18 filtered….realy Yelp…go suck

  • Ron S

    Yelp is a huge ripoff! The sales rep bombarded me with a sales pitch that basically told me that my business was going to explode! I don’t think he bothered to mention to me that it was $400 to cancel the contract. I have now paid them $700, and have not received one single phone call. Not even a phone call! Trying to contact them is difficult, and they have just stolen my money. Do not advertise on Yelp.

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  • disqus_nbAgbMvX5O

    I started an advertising campaign with Yelp and had the ad run for about 10 days. It seemed very simple but it is not. They make claims that your exposure will increase drastically and drive more customers to your business. During this campaign they give you updates, for instance “A man in his 40s located in Houston just got directions to your business”. This gave me hope, but it was a false sense of hope. I am a startup so I ask every single customer how they heard about us. 99% of new business is from people driving by the B&M location or from a referral. Yelp was the first online marketing I did and I received ONE customer from Yelp. In their defense advertising is not a science, however the claims made did not translate into an increase in business as stated. The most frustrating thing was how the campaign is structured. They have you pick a daily maximum amount you want to allot toward your ad campaign. I chose to do $5/day so that after ten days I would only be out $50 if it was unsuccessful. I was going to track this after a few days of activity; only to not be able to login to my account. I requested a password reset be emailed to me and it simply was not making it into my inbox or my junk mail. I send an email to Yelp with no response. Finally, I found a phone number and called in to get my password reset. The lady on the phone was very pleasant and sent me the email which made it straight to my inbox. I was able to login and discovered the marketing campaign had run over $100! I asked the representative what happened and she explained that they take the $5/day and multiply that by 30 days in a month, so the overall monthly budget is $150. So it is not $5/day it is $150/month and they can use that $150 up in a day if that’s how many clicks you receive. I was less than pleased but was told there was nothing they could do as services were rendered. I am writing this review to warn others of what you can expect. This is not the end of the world for me but I hope that others have a better experience. Good luck all!
    P.S. I will be trying Google PPC next as that seems to be a more cost effective option.

  • Thuc

    Today i call to stop my advertisement with Yelp and…Boom…two of my 5 star reviews were filtered, and a one star review that was previously filtered now released which lowered my overall rating down half a point…that how Yelp intimidates business owners.

  • Anthony B.

    Don’t do it. I don’t know what kind of scam Yelp is running but it’s a successful one. I lost $1,400 advertising with Yelp. Terrible. Not one call for business. Completed my page successfully, had many pics, spoke to Yelp account managers and followed their advice and nothing. I was getting mystery phone calls. Just dead air calls through my Yelp page and being charged by Yelp for the clicks. Don’t do it. Yelp is good as a free business listing and that is it. Also 5 of my customers left good reviews for me on Yelp and they didn’t approve them as valid reviews. Do not advertise with this scam.

  • Duddioman

    How are some of the comments on this thread 3 years old, when the article was published in Dec 2015?? =/

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Because we update the post periodically with new information, the last of which was Dec 2015 thus an updated date.

  • John Doe

    I was approached the same way every comment starts and today I told them I was not interested. She is still trying to get me into a smaller package but in the meantime, I went to my Yelp page, took all the great rating comments for my business with Windows snipping tool and saved them as JPEG’s so now I can add them to my website. This way I don’t care if I exist on Yelp or not.

  • Ashley Espejo

    I signed up last wednesdah and theyre charging me 13.83 per click which they lied to me about they said it was fonna be 9.83 per click and now i want out of the contract and cant find a way plus i havent gotten one customer call. Yelp is a HUGE SCam they want to charge me a 650 fee for terminating and a month which is gonna be up to 300.00 and i just started this company so I am broke.

    • Donald Hajdari

      wow this literally just happened to me right now fml

  • David Tierney

    I had an hour long sales presentation yesterday with Ben. It was painful to say the least as it was the most aggressive and manipulative sales interaction I have literally had in my whole life, and I am 49 years old. He lied to me when he told me that the videos increased conversion by 38% as I later learned that is the statistic they say is from their whole upgrade package that includes the video.

    He constantly referred to what most people do and what package he sold his mother (yes, he said that multiple times), pressured me to sign up asap because I might miss leads tomorrow or my package might not be there on Monday if I waited from Wednesday through the weekend. He over and over told me that he liked me more than most of his other clients and customer and referred to me as his friend until later in the conversation when I was not willing to sign up asap he said maybe we should not be friends – I mean really. Unbelievably insincere, constantly, every word out his mouth was working me, trying to push my buttons, tweak me emotionally, and drive the sale asap.

    In the presentation he told me that he could not tell me the click rate because it varies but that is super important to know to value your investment. So I emailed him and he responded,

    “The estimated click price is right around 10$ — it could be higher or lower. Based on that number, you would be getting around 27 clicks. If you believe you can get at least 1 of 27 of those targeted transactional leads to pick you then you should do it. But if you don’t then I’d be confused and recommend parting as friends.”

    Again – what is up with the “…parting as friends”. Who doesn’t actually get turned off by such insincere sales tactics.

    Anyways, I was looking at their iOS business app reviews and was surprised to find their app had 1.5 stars which is horrendous. So I started reading reviews and began to see the light. Then I searched more online and found this post and the non-stop comments about how bad their service is and how no one has had any results.

    The sales presentation was pretty convincing. Ironic how the concept of real people reviewing services is what is turning people away from Yelp – because it seems their service is unethical and lacks value.

  • Josh Pavich

    Yelp is the biggest rip off ever! Stay clear

  • April

    Please don’t do this! Yelp is the worst way to pay for advertising. Pushy reps will call you almost everyday to promise you and ensure more business. They target new business owners because they are more likely to sign up cus they use fear. My struggling business now is struggling more because of their marketing campaign I signed up for that got me one customer in the one month used after cancelling. They billed me for 2 months as well as the $600 cancellation fee. These reps don’t care about your business. They say they do as a selling tatic. If you care about your business, Google and having good SEO helps. Maintain your free Yelp account with good reviews and answering bad reviews in a professional manner. Just don’t EVER pay Yelp a dime! They should be called out for the damages caused to businesses

    • Natalie

      Totally agree with this!!! I did not get any adds. Very good at marketing and have an answer for everything I threw at her. Questioned everything but not into paying 275 per month. No I will use FB adds and get better conversion from that! Glad I found this!!! Sorry April you had to pay that. I told the gal I will work on my own listing and go from there.

  • Elizabeth

    It says this article was written 12/15 but these comments are 2-4 years old. What is up with that?

    • Toby Danylchuk

      We updated the post with additional info which updates the date of publishing.

  • Krystal

    I just got off the phone with them and they told me it’s $7.32 for each click and minimum package was $400. Covering a 125 monthly fee and 275 advertising budget at $7.32 per click. With a average of 32 clicks without yelp ads I’d be paying for my normal free traffic plus New . . Min 6 month contract and 360 buy out fee . . Very pushy

  • A.Haile

    Me being stupid, I sign up for a year contract at $1575 a month hoping my new business will get much need exposures has not worked at all, now the worst thing I want pull the plug from Yelp with required $700 termination fee but the account rep trying to extend the AD every time comes with excuses. Ironically my Ad gets pop after I close the business during sleeping hours, I did ask the rep why is the AD is not showing during business hours like use to on previous two months he’s replay was “your Ad is running 24hr” I firmly believe he is lying, If I can’t see it whom will see the ad?

  • cliff

    Total rip off. Dont ever advertise with them. They started and agreed to $9.50/ click which is outrageous in itself. My last bill they charged me $17.00/click. Ourtageous. Worse yet is that in 3 months I have not gotten one single call or emai business lead from Yelp. I think their friends click on the site to generate click revenue for them.

    RIP OFF!!!

  • Elaine Carlton

    I have had a terrible time with Yelp Advertising. I am very unhappy. I did not get good results. I paid too high a price for the advertising I got. They are not helpful. The contract is expensive to terminate and apparently now I have no control over when and how I pay my contract termination fees. STAY AWAY FROM YELP!!!

  • Markus Maro

    I tried advertising with Yelp and it’s the worst idea I have ever had! I was cold called by a persuasive sales rep offering me a FREE consultation on how to maximize my profile. I said ok but please call me later as I was busy. He does, and when he does there is no free consultation he goes straight into selling me on signing up. I brought up some examples of how people in my industry that have been advertising with them have quadrupled their business getting many leads daily. I signed up and after the 1st month I had 1 lead and had spent over $500. That lead was in email form and almost seemed written by a machine and never went anywhere. I start calling Yelp terminate my contract but because it wasn’t the first of the month I needed to pay for the whole month in ads and the termination fee, because you have to close your account at an end of a month which is ridiculous! Why couldn’t they just stop the ads when I ask to close my account? They are already charging a fee to brake the contract. But I ther for had to have my ads running for all of last month. Owe them over $800 WITHOUT A SINGLE LEAD LAST MONTH! Complete bullshit and a terrible company to advertise with! I tried to Yelp their ad service to give them a 1star rating but of course they don’t even have any of yelps offices listed on their own service.

  • Daniel Graham

    I have a profoundly negative opinion of Yelp. The revenue return is not worth the spend and Yelp presents the hazard of allowing trolls to post fraudulent reviews. We have had demonstrably false reviews and Yelp just yawns. Hadeed Carpet in Virginia successfully sued Yelp for the names of fraudulent posters, and Yelp paid fines rather than offer up the fraudulent posters. Be clear: Yelp has an adversarial relationship with business, and businesses are foolish to reward them with advertising dollars

  • Kenneth Durrum

    I just had a conversation today with a Yelp representative. I had turned my back on yelp for many years as I too felt that could not prove ROI. I was a little pleased to review their self serve advertising tools. I may try a few rounds of this before recommending the tool to clients. I thin Yelp still has a way to go and I found that the Representative had little to know insight on the tool and cod not even tell me how long the platform had been around. Has anyone tired the pay as you go options provided by yelp?

  • Eric Calistro

    I was called by yelp on Monday and after 30 minutes we set up another phone conversation for the following day so i could be in front of my computer , I expressed to him I would not make a decision based off the conversation tomorrow but he said he was fine with that. Spoke with him yesterday and he was getting a little pushing asking me if I could see the benefit of yelp Ads. I told him I could see some but was still unsure. I asked him a couple times for pricing and after much hesitation he finally emailed them over. I was taken back by the year commitment and the $825.00 per month they wanted. He told me the cost per click was roughly 8 dollars and couldnt tell me when the price would fluctuate or give me a cap price for CPC. After pricing he was still pushy but I reiterated that I would not be making a decisions at that moment but to call me in two day. He managed to set up an appointment with me the following day and said it would only take a few minutes to sign me up. After reading the reviews I will be holding off and look to spend my money elsewhere.

    • Danny J

      I’ve been on the same path. Close to committing to a 3 month contract, but at $13/click for a small podiatry clinic with no reviews it just doesn’t make sense. He offered to knock down the monthly fixed cost from $100 to $35, which threw me off a bit too.
      Now I’ve read several reviews and I get the impression they are basically out to take our money. My rep also forgot to mention if I want to cancel, there is a fee and you need to pay for another month or two.
      I think I’m going to hold off and invest more in our SEO campaign..
      For any of you other small, private healthcare businesses, any experience/success with advertising on healthgrades?

      • Toby Danylchuk

        Danny, you can also advertise on a pay-as-you-go plan with no contracts with Yelp. I’m sure they prefer not to promote this and it doesn’t come with as many features (blocking competitor ads on your page, or video hosting), but you can control your spend and not be locked down in a contract. Most are not aware of this, and it’s probably not something a sales rep will mention.

  • Patrick Guiett

    I tried it, got nothing from it, informed them I was cancelling (after 8 months) they charged me for another month and as well as the 600 cancelling fee..of course after I informed them of my intention of cancelling I magically get a few phone calls from yelp users (the only ones in 8 months), which of course they tried to convince me of staying. I think they are a shady business, and chalk the horrible results (and major money losses) to a learning experience. I requested for them to delete my account because I want nothing to do with them.

  • Morgan

    Yelp protects bad reviews like precious commodity, but good reviews like trash. It gives all the power, advantage and the sword to a client with a vendetta. Us poor business owner can be burnt at the stake and can’t even defend ourselves. This is extremely unjust and unfair.

  • Paul

    My problem with Google PPC is that they keep adding search phases that do not pertain to me, evey time shut them off they add new one’s, I called Google Addwords and they told me to send them a list of words I didn’t want them to use… I advise in a small local area and out of 50 + clicks not one call, that makes no sense. Now I get a ton of work through my free Yelp add but I think they did something to it because my phone stopped ringing and now they are calling me to advertise…..

    • Wuzla

      Maybe take a peek at Toby Danylchuk’s comment under Lance Throttle’s thread at the top of this page

  • Toby Danylchuk

    Paul, regarding Google, depending on how you set up your keywords in Google, yes Google will match to variations – it’s set up that way by design depending on how you set your keywords up. It’s possible to set up your keywords so that there are no variations, but the drawback with that is that you miss queries that were relevant and that you didn’t think of. Unless you negative out those phrases you don’t want, Google will continue to show your ads to queries that perhaps you don’t want them to. There are several categories of how you can enter your keywords into Google: broad match (just keywords with no modifiers), modified broad match (+my +keyword), phrase match (“my keyword”), and exact match ([my keyword]). Broad match will match to all sorts of variations including synonyms, modified broad that has a + before each keyword tells Google these words have to be in the query but can be in any order and other words can appear with it, phrase match tells Google these keywords need to appear in exactly this order as between the “” but words can also appear before or after it, and exact match means exactly that – only the words between the brackets [my keywords] can appear in the query in exactly that order with nothing before or after them.

  • Casey Jackon

    Does anyone suggest yelp for nationwide companies? I own Ace Connect Auto Shipping and Yelp has been calling me quite a bit. I was interested until I was told that it is a 1 year contract with a cancellation fee of $700 if it was not working out. We ship vehicle across the country and the cost per click is $8 on yelp, not to much higher than what I would expect on google adwords to be at the top. We are based out of Dallas but most of our customers are not in or near Dallas.

    • Toby Danylchuk

      Yelp does have a self-serve option too so you if you want to experiment you can without being locked down – apparently the sales reps don’t make people aware of that. However, I still think you will be far better off with Google Adwords for a couple reasons.
      First, there’s not a lot of transparency with Yelp ads, meaning you don’t have any idea of the actual queries that Yelp searchers are using to click on ads – also, the cost -per-click is not as efficient as it is in Google and seems arbitrary. And since you’re a national company – most likely the consumer behavior would be to go to Google first to search since this isn’t something many people are thinking about locally perhaps. Regardless of above, with Google you can be very precise in your keyword targeting and limit your waste – these leads are “warm” since they had to type in a query so we know the person is interested….just need to get them to the website and convert them there.

  • Eva Cotter

    I am totally disgusted with YELP. They charge me over $8.00 per click which coincidentally just happens to add up to my total ad budget by the end of the month. After they charged me 561.38 for August advertising which resulted in two new patients who came once and did not return, my telephone stopped ringing for three weeks! It was eerie, I have been in practice for over 20 years, and I’ve never had that happen. I was lied to by their representative to get me to sign up for this travesty, if she had been honest about costs and results, I would have told her to take a hike.

  • Jeremy Carl Hinton

    $3-$4 a click? Im charged $37. Somethings wrong.