Choices – where to put your marketing budget is a common question with all our clients. Clients often ask us about Yelp advertising, whether they should allocate funds to it, and should they use Yelp over Google? I wrote a post a while back on Yelp advertising here that was one of the most commented posts we have, and the majority of the comments are negative about advertising on one of the top online review sites. Business owners have a love-hate relationship with Yelp.
But here’s a more factual list about why you’re better off choosing Google, especially if you have to choose between one or the other. Your mileage will of vary based on your industry and situation. (this post is updated ongoing)
- The most searches: Google captures 70% or more of all search traffic between the 3 search engines. It’s one of the primary place people go to begin their research.
- No contracts with Google Adwords. Yelp, on the other hand, pushes contracts and prefers 12 months! They do offer a self-serve option, but the sales reps will never tell you about this option. So if you’re considering advertising, ask about the self serve option before being locked down in a contract.
- Tracking: Google Adwords provides tons of great data on exactly what keywords are driving traffic, campaign performance, and integrates completely into Google Analytics. Yelp provides almost no data whatsoever about what keywords people are using and who is seeing yours ads or clicking.
- Pre-qualified Leads: People completing Google queries are pre-qualified, you know exactly what queries are driving clicks to your website and which queries are converting to leads. This is not necessarily the case with Yelp ads as Yelp determines which queries to show your ad for, but you have no visibility whatsoever into that query data – nada!
- Remarketing/Retargeting: Many of your customers will not convert on the first visit to your website, but that’s ok if you’re using Google Remarketing because you can target those people for up to a year serving them ads about your brand to bring them back to convert them to a lead. Can’t do this with Yelp. Also, Yelp sends a low percentage of people through to your site (obviously since they want to keep that traffic on Yelp) so even if you are using Google retargeting, very little of your Yelp traffic will end up in your Google retargeting lists. (I would add that the traffic that Yelp does send through is very low bounce rate which is generally a positive indicator).
- Easily start or Stop: Google Adwords allows you to start or stop a campaign very quickly, and thus control your spend. If you signed a contract with Yelp, you’re locked (see point 2).
- Flexibility to go after different types of customers: keyword selection in Google Adwords allows us to target customers at different stages of the buying cycle based on the type of query. For example, people just starting to search for digital cameras might query for “digital SLR versus Point and Shoot Cameras” – this customer is not ready to buy, but you could target that query to at least create a awareness of your brand. Or you could put all your budget on the bottom of the funnel where people are ready to buy right now, “where to buy digital SLR cameras near me.” Yelp advertises you in your industry/niche, but there’s no choosing the types of queries you go after.
- Integration with Facebook campaigns: there’s a great post here detailing how you can create Google ad campaigns targeting just your site visitors that are coming from Facebook. Conversely, when looking in Google Analytics at referral traffic from Yelp to your website, it’s usually very low so you cannot easily integrate Yelp with other marketing campaigns (i.e. through retargeting Yelp website visitors on Google, Facebook).
- Lowest cost-per-click (CPC): Google’s Adwords auction system is designed so that you pay exactly the lowest cost per click possible to maintain your ad position (referred to as the Adwords Discounter. More info here and here), and its Smart Pricing system will actually reduce the cost-per-click if it believes a click is less likely to lead to a conversion. With Yelp advertising the amount you pay is primarily determined by Yelp – there’s no real-time auction ensuring you pay the minimum. And for most campaigns that means CPC for Yelp from our discussions with reps is usually in the $3 – $4 range.
- Support: Google provides a toll-free number for support (866-2-GOOGLE) with technical Adwords specialists, or Google Analytics reps. Yelp provides a sales rep.
What are your thoughts? Which do you prefer and why?
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