Those visiting Yelp for the first time (or the first couple of times) might deem the site’s owners as altruistic: such a useful service consisting solely of user reviews and without any monetization scheme to it,?
Yet upon further inspection, it becomes clear that Yelp’s owners are well-aware of their need to put food on the table: the site features a form of advertisement that, while not quite as in-your-face as Flash-based neon signs, ranks among the most powerful on the web. But should you use it?
The pros of Yelp advertising
As you might have imagined, one of the biggest benefits to advertising on Yelp is… well, that it’s Yelp! The site is considered as the most important of its kind, overshadowing Google Places and the like for reasons known only to the traffic gods.
Therefore, it certainly pays to have an ad on Yelp, and you won’t have to worry about it not being seen. In fact, this brings us to why Yelp advertising works even better than it should: ads aren’t very overt and are often featured on the pages of your direct competitors.
Yelp ads aren’t too eager to show themselves as such. Instead, they’re perfectly content to appear as natural search results for a business in an area while taking first and second place based on advertisement money alone.
And can you really get much better than having your ads featured on the pages of your competitors? Yelp is pretty open about facilitating this, and you’d do well to make use of these less-than-exemplary methods – it’s a war out there for each and every customer, after all.
This video explains why Yelp ads work from a dental practice perspective. Clearly, even a single venture into Yelp’s advertising can help your business a ton: become a mainstay on your competitors’ pages and at the top of people’s search results and you’re headed for great things. With that said, there are certainly drawbacks to this form of marketing.
Why you might not want to advertise on Yelp
We’ve said a good deal about what makes Yelp advertisement work. But really, whom is it working for? Most prominently, the owners of the site – the rest are just playing ball.
Yelp’s status as the premier review site on the internet almost creates a need to advertise with them. Why? Even if you have the greatest business, how can you compete with others who are paying to get listed above you? And what about the actual business page: no matter how good your reviews are, can you really afford to have competitors advertise their services on your page?
And so, the issue with Yelp becomes clear: instead of choosing the site with no repercussions either way, business owners are, in a sense, forced to participate.
Yelp’s advertising costs are high and their model certainly isn’t going to be winning any awards for fair play. If you don’t want to feel like your brand is being used to line someone’s pockets, you can always choose to forgo Yelp ads altogether: sure, your competitors will gain more exposure, but plenty of business owners out there would argue that it’s nothing that hard work can’t fix.