Yelp has been rolling out a lot of new tools, ad types, and features lately in a bid to become more than just a restaurant destination. The latest new feature is called Yelp Store Visits (YSV) and it is exclusively for Yelp advertisers. The idea is that Yelp will gather data on what real people actually visit a physical location after seeing an advertisement on Yelp and then provide that data to the advertiser in the platform’s backend.
According to Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land who broke the news, Yelp has denied using data from the company they bought “TurnStyle” or third-party data from companies like Foursquare and instead is using first-party data likely obtained from users of their mobile app and other Yelp-based activity. When Greg asked Yelp for comment about how the data for Yelp Store Visits is obtained they told him
“…We use a variety of signals, like check-in behavior, user engagement with business pages, and opt-in location data provided by consumers.”
Don’t get too excited just yet though, Yelp Store Visits is only available to larger, multi-location, advertisers such as retail or restaurant chains and is not available to smaller local businesses. Though one has to wonder why that is and if they are planning on rolling this out to everyone at some point.
There is also a concern about correct attribution. For example if a heavy Yelp user comes to a restaurant based on a Facebook ad or an Eventbrite event listing, but then uses Yelp’s check-in function will that user be counted as a Yelp Store Visit? Before fully trusting Yelp’s YSV metric your in-house marketing department or local marketing agency should run a test using something more concrete like a password special at your restaurant or a local area coupon that has to be shown for retail and compare those numbers to the YSV metric. An experiment like this will provide a measure of error around the YSV metric to use in future marketing decisions.
We’ll update once we know more about Yelp Store Visits. If you do any research studies with this new metric, please let us know the outcome!