Are Yelp Ads Worth It?

It depends.

Whether or not to pay for Yelp ads is a question we are frequently asked by clients. Truth is, deciding whether to fork over the high prices for Yelp advertising depends on a variety of factors – the main factor being: what is your ROI per customer acquisition.

Let’s take a look at the reason people use Yelp

In general, web searchers find their way to Yelp after they’ve already done a significant amount of preliminary research on the service they need.

Of course, how much a “significant amount” actually is varies based on the service they are looking for, i.e. one spends less time researching thai food before choosing a restaurant than someone does shopping around for a mortgage lender.

The bottom line is that people searching on Yelp know what they want, but are looking for more information on WHO to buy it from. They are a warm market, and are open to advertising. This is one of the reasons why, at Design SEO Hosting, we always push our clients to obtain positive Yelp reviews (but that’s a whole other post entirely).

Let’s look at how much advertising on Yelp costs

Because Yelp does not publish their ad rates or even make them known unless you contact them directly as a business interested in advertising, be forewarned that these numbers are subject to change/speculation.

Estimated Yelp Advertising Rates:

Annual Commitment (Billed Monthly)
$350 – 600 targeted ads/month & cost of the Video Production
$300 – 600 targeted ads/month & slideshow
$550 – 1500 targeted ads/month
$800 – 2575 targeted ads/month
$1050 – 3600 targeted ads/month

6 Month Commitment
$400 – 600 targeted ads/month & 2/3 of video production with 1 time fee of $299
$325 – 600 targeted ads/month & slideshow

CPC Advertising (Paid Per Click)

Click advertising = $3.50 per click

Customers can pay Yelp can have competitor ads removed – unsure of the cost for this service

Can you afford to advertise on Yelp?

For many small businesses, those advertising rates are simply out of their budget. And frankly, it doesn’t make sense to even consider it unless your ROI is above a certain threshold.

For example:

Let’s say you are a yoga studio. You pay $800 to have 2575 targeted ads shown per month through Yelp. A normal click through rate for advertising is between 1-2%, so we’ll be generous go with 2%.

For that month you will have 52 people that click through to your page. Let’s be generous again and say that of those 52 people, 2% of them convert. That means 1 person that saw your ad and clicked through actually became a paying customer. Therefore, you just paid $800 for that customer; i.e. an $800 cost per acquisition. This makes no sense for a yoga studio. Even if that student purchased a monthly unlimited membership (average price $150), and they continued that monthly membership month after month, it would not be until the 6th month that you received a return on your investment for that customer.

Who are Yelp ads good for?

Referring back to the example above, advertising on Yelp does make sense for a certain segment of businesses – those that can afford to and find value in a high cost of acquisition.

If you’re a lawyer, doctor, real estate agent, broker, lender, dentist, chiropractor or other service provider, Yelp ads may be worth your while.

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