Does Yelp Matter?

Should you care about Yelp? 

Not to be too abrupt, but the simple answer is YES, Yelp matters.

It matters a lot.

If you’re not paying attention to Yelp…if it’s in your periphery but not something you give much thought to…there’s a very good chance you’re missing out.

Why should you care about Yelp?

Well…if your business deals in any way with people who might write a review or prospective customers who might read a review before deciding who to work with, Yelp is incredibly important to you.  Yelp has become the Google of the customer review/recommendation arena.  There are others, to be sure, but Yelp, right now, reigns supreme among them.Yelp Infographic

Let’s take a look at the numbers and a little editorializing by yours truly on what those numbers mean:

  • Founded in 2004 – as of the time of this writing, they’re about 11 years old.  Pretty mature in today’s online world, which means they’ve weathered a lot of storms.  Unlike a lot of competitors (many of which are no longer in business) Yelp has managed to maintain their focus on customer reviews.  They haven’t branched out into other forms of marketing or tangential features that lessen their focus or dilute their customer base.  They do reviews…and they do them well.
  • Yelp Traffic – they get a lot of traffic.  More than you.  More than you and I put together.  About 140 million unique visitors each month.  I’ll say that again and bold the important points – 140 million unique visitors each month. (See what I did there?  They’re all important points!)
    • Unique visitors – that means new Yelp users…140 million of them…
    • Each month – this sounds like a yearly statistic but it’s not…140 million…each month.
  • Yelp traffic is divided fairly evenly between mobile and desktop users.  Why is this important?  It’s been pretty much proven that those seeking recommendations or services on a mobile device are out shopping – therefore they’re in a buying mood.  Searching from home on the desktop is somebody thinking about buy and might get out of the house to fight traffic and find their way to your doorstep.  If you run an online service, or maybe a mobile service then these desktop searchers are about equal in value to you since they can pick up a phone and call for an appointment.  But the mobile searchers – those who search for “best tires in Atlanta Georgia” on their iPhones are very likely out searching for the best tires in Atlanta Georgia and are ready to buy.  The point here – don’t discount mobile searchers.
    • Don’t forget, Yelp has a mobile app and that app generates about 200,000 calls to local businesses every day.
  • Over 2 million businesses listed – break that down by state.  50 states, 2,000,000 businesses and you get about 40,000 businesses per state.  We all know it doesn’t work that way as there are far less businesses on Yelp in North Dakota than there are in New York or California.  So throw out maybe 15 lesser populated states and  you get a number closer to 50,000 or 60,000 businesses per state that Yelp posts reviews on.  That’s a lot of businesses in your local area!  Oh, and it’s growing!
  • As of April of this year, Yelp posted that their user base had, so far, posted 77.3 million reviews.  Somebody did the math and that comes out to about 26,380 reviews per minute!
  • Here’s a biggie…very important.  The percentage of Yelp users who have made a purchase at a business they found on Yelp is 98%.  I would do the “I’ll bold the important points” thing again, but I think you get the idea.  This isn’t saying that 98% of Yelp users have posted a review – this is saying that 98% of Yelp users have researched and subsequently done business with a company they found on Yelp.  This is a staggering statistic.
  • …no wonder Google reported offered to buy Yelp for $500M
  • …and then Yahoo doubled that offer to $1B

Should you pay attention to Yelp?

I would say “yes”, but that’s just me.  Any company that can focus on a single core competency for so long, attract so many loyal customers, attract so many unique visitors, and keep everybody satisfied with their offering is a business that is designed to stay in business for the foreseeable future.