Yelp Data Shows the Power of Mobile Marketing

With the rise of local, mobile and the social Web, small business owners have a lot on their plates in terms of marketing to customers. With so many options and avenues, you want to make sure you’re using the services and the platforms that your customers are gravitating toward, while also staying on top of trends.

But how do you do that? You do it by seeking out data. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to do too much research to find out just how many million users are flocking to Yelp via their mobile phones each month.

Last week Yelp released some impressive mobile numbers that small business owners should take note of. According to the data:

  • Yelpers called a local business every other second via the mobile application.
  • 35 percent of all searches on came from a Yelp mobile app.
  • Every other second a consumer generated directions to a local business.
  • A photo was uploaded every 30 seconds from a Yelp mobile app.

As a marketer and SMB, there’s a lot of useful information tucked inside those statistics. For example, the data show that Yelpers aren’t passive about their searching, especially when coming from a mobile application. They’re engaged, they’re on a mission, and if you can entice them via a Yelp check-in offer or a Yelp Special, they’re going to click on your listing and make contact. This is something we’re constantly seeing with mobile users (that they’re searchers on a mission), and it’s once again reaffirmed here.

I was also interested in seeing that more than a third of Yelp’s searches are coming from mobile applications, because it gives us a sense of real search numbers associated with mobile. We’re far beyond the days when it was just the ubergeeks with their smartphones surfing while on the go. Mobile now has a mainstream audience and, as a result, small business owners need to be there.

As an SMB, what does all this information mean? Two things:

1. Mobile is alive and thriving: After years of false hope that this would be the year of mobile, the year of mobile is here and it is right now. With Yelp now claiming 3.2 million mobile users and Google recently releasing a new mobile app for Google Places and Google Hotpot, mobile is seeing real activity. And it will only gain more momentum as Google enters the fray and users become more adept at searching via mobile devices. As an SMB, if you’re not taking advantage of mobile now, you’re already behind the rest of the pack. Your business should be as widely represented on the mobile Web as it is on the traditional Web.

2. Yelp may be an SMB’s best friend: I’m a really big fan of Yelp. As a small business owner myself, I think they provide an enormous opportunity to appeal to motivated users and to use discounts or special offers to lower the barrier to conversion. With more than 15 million reviews, there’s a good chance that your current customers are there talking about you, and that others are there looking for information about you. By taking advantage of new Yelp features like check-in offers and better mobile tracking, you can reach out to customers at the exact moment they’re searching for you and get the intel you need to create better offers and incentives.

The data is another sign of both the power of mobile and the power of Yelp as a platform to connect with users. If you’re a small business owner, I’d encourage you to pay attention to both.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

11 Reactions
  1. Lisa, do you think this is going to lead to Google launching a Pay Per Call service for mobile ads? If I was them, I’d be casting an envious eye over Yelp’s data…

  2. Since Yelp has so many reviews of restaurants and eateries, I’m not surprised at all by the data. Many people decide to eat out when they’re already away from their computers, so if you need to check on hours you can easily check a mobile app like Yelp (I have it on my Blackberry Storm) and if you need to call you just click the number and it dials. The convenience is amazing.

  3. Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Gotta be careful with the data Lisa. A photo every 30 secs is 2880 per day or 57.6 per US state. 860 calls made per state per day is much better but still very few in the scope of things.

    But Yelp mobile is great. I use it. It allows check ins, reviews, and photo uploads from the location. It also allows you to see what is around via the GPS. I am definitely Pro all such sites for businesses especially restaurants.

  4. Gabster is a social media agency

    Yelp is definitely the most relevant LBS I’ve used. They do a great job rewarding Yelpers who contribute reviews, stimulating the content flow surrounding local business in your area.

    I hear what Howie is saying but just think of where this will be in 3-5 years.

  5. Good Article.

    I think it’s mostly perspective and it may be inflated but we know where this is heading. For what it’s worth, It was said a long time ago that there are “three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”

    Yelp is very helpful to SMB and since it is integrated with layar’s augmented reality browser it’s like a video game searching for businesses. Using you can add three dimensional business listings and blend the best of both worlds pun intended…

    This is going to be an exciting year for mobile marketing for qr codes, augmented reality and more success stories from businesses that embrace the change.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    With trends changing so drastically, there is no doubt that the mobile is now over taking other mediums to research which makes it an excellent platform to use to market your company by making it more mobile friendly.

    Howie is right about the data but I feel this is just the beginning and these statistics would definitely increase in the coming years so one should be prepared.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Riya Sam
    Training for

  7. What are Yelp’s plan for expansion? When will it move to Europe in greater detail? What do you think about a service like FoodSpotting?