If you have a business on Yelp, chances are you’ve been contacted by one of their salesmen. They probably told you all about how there are thousands of people in your local area who are looking for your product/service and that you could have a major advantage over your competitors. We decided to take it upon ourselves to see just how good Yelp advertising is by investing our own money into it and seeing what results we’d get.
Our Yelp Advertising Experience
The process started with a web design company called Nashville Web Design. The name of the company alone gets it to the top of the Yelp results. That means that despite advertising it should be getting clicks (and it does). On top of that we managed to get 3 Yelp reviews for the business which would also help with getting people to convert to calls and customers. With all that in mind, we expected to receive some good response after signing up for Yelp advertising.
The first charge we received for Yelp advertising was in March, and it was around $150. After a month we didn’t receive a single call. We were then charged another $325 in April, but once again there wasn’t a single call or inquiry for Yelp. We checked to make sure our online forms were working, and they were working just fine.
After spending about $475 in advertising with no results we decided to pull the plug on the whole thing because it really didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. Unfortunately we had to spend over an hour on the phone with Yelp to get their agreement to let us cancel. It’s not even that you’re not allowed to cancel, but rather that they’re account representatives work very hard to try to persuade you to not cancel.
The excuses that they made for not receiving any kind of benefit from advertising included “you’re leaving too early and you need to do it for at least three months to see any results” as well as “Well you are getting results because people are clicking your ads.” We had to let them know that from the standpoint of a business owner, paying money for advertising clicks doesn’t generate income. Phone calls and interviews with potential clients is what generates income, and Yelp advertising isn’t helping with that. We also let them know that nobody on the sales team ever said that it would take 3 months or more to see any kind of results. In fact, they made it sound like the phone would be ringing all day!
Needless to say, we’re leaving a poor Yelp advertising review. However it doesn’t even stop there. We got their agreement to let us cancel, but they require 30 days advance notice, so we had one more month of advertising ahead of us. We paid another $325, thus bringing our total to over $700. We also were going to be charged another $325 cancellation fee at the end of the month.
Well it’s the end of the month now (this is being written on May 31st). We were charged $325, just as we expected, however we received a call from Yelp stating that we would have two more charges… Wait… What??? That’s right, Yelp called to let us know that there were two more charges coming up that we had no idea about. The grand total spend for our Yelp advertising experience is over $1,000 and not a single call came from it, or even a form filled out on our website.
More Yelp Advertising Reviews
So obviously the above story could make anybody cranky. I mean, who wants to give a company $1,000 and get nothing in return? It was definitely a lesson learned. But what are other people saying about Yelp? We took a look at the Better Business Bureau to find out how past customers like Yelp and to find out more about their Yelp advertising reviews. Take a look at the image below.
You’ll notice in the above picture (which was taken from the Better Business Bureau) that 95% of people who used Yelp had a negative experience, and 95% of people who used Yelp would not recommend them. Those are pretty terrible statistics. Here are excerpts from some of of the negative Yelp advertising reviews we found:
Blackmail is blackmail, and we will not do any advertising or add any money to their parade. We see this as giving a reward to bad behavior. We will not play their game. Something should be done about them. Can anyone help us?
I will not let them profit any further from my business advertising as their business practice is very unethical. Please do not do business with yelp, if you have a better alternative. I’m sure other businesses have experienced a similar situation with yelp as they offer terrible customer service and their entire business operation is “automated”.
If we have to get our lawyer involved further, we will. People need to know what a scam this company is and we have no problem being the company that takes this public to help protect other small businesses from being ripped off.
But even after that, are you still not sure about whether or not to advertise with Yelp? Let’s take a look at a few more facts regarding advertising and marketing. We’ll take a moment to discuss the benefits of some forms of marketing that Yelp is lacking.
- You can see exactly how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
- You can see how much people are paying per click and compete with them.
- You pick and choose what time of day you want your ads to show.
- You can pick and choose what phrases will trigger that ad to show.
- You can customize your landing page to look however you want it to look.
- You cannot see how many people are searching for a specific phrase.
- You don’t know how much other people are paying for ads.
- You don’t get to choose when your ads show.
- You don’t get to choose what phrases will trigger your ads.
- You can customize your Yelp page, but only within the framework of Yelp.
Just as a note on point number 4, when we did our Yelp ad campaign our ads were showing up for search phrases that were unrelated to what we did. Can you imagine being a painting contractor and getting people calling you about fixing your roof?
So what about positive Yelp reviews? As you may have noticed in the image above, there are positive Yelp advertising reviews on the BBB. To be fair, we’ll show you those reviews as well, and here they are:
You’ll notice in the above review that it appears to have absolutely nothing to do with Yelp or Yelp advertising. In fact, it seems that the person who left the review must have been very confused at the time. In the bottom right corner of the review, you’ll also notice that 3 people didn’t find that review helpful.
It isn’t fair to say that nobody has ever had fortune with Yelp. In fact, we’re sure that there are people who are doing great with Yelp advertising. We took it upon ourselves to give our own review of Yelp’s advertising and this is what came up. We dealt with poor customer service, pushy salespeople and no return on investment. We also went out to an authoritative organization (the Better Business Bureau) to see what people are saying there, and it would seem that most people aren’t happy with their Yelp experience. In fact, we haven’t found a positive review yet!
If you’ve experience Yelp advertising, please let us know about it! We’re open to hearing about positive or negative feedback! If you’re looking for online marketing services, be sure and reach out to use and let us know about your project!