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If your business is still not on Yelp, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity to reach customers who are prepared to spend money and make a purchase decision.

This is one of the key insights from a new Nielsen survey concerning the influence of the popular online reviews aggregator. In fact, according to the survey, 82 percent of Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money on a product or service. This means that Yelp is typically the first site people with spending power tend to go to – before other such sites like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Consumer Reports, YP.com, and Foursquare.

Moreover, 55 percent of Yelpers engage – by calling, visiting, or purchasing – with a local business frequently or every time they visit Yelp. A staggering 89 percent, meanwhile, make a purchase decision within a week of visiting the site, while 39 percent buy “within a few days.”

(Check out: Measuring the Real Value of Yelp for Small Businesses)

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The Nielsen survey is based on a collection of 1,415 responses, with an online rep sample that represented the population of Internet users who search online for information on local businesses and services. Here are some more highlights from the survey:

  • 78 percent of Yelpers who are ready to purchase search for restaurants; 65 percent search for beauty and spa services; and 42 percent search for hotels and other travel-related businesses.
  • Asked to indicate factors that they might consider when choosing a local business on Yelp, 44 percent of respondents said that online reviews are the most important factor in their research; 26 percent cited the local business’ aggregated Yelp rating, while 17 percent were influenced by a local business’ number of reviews.

Wrote Matt Halprin, VP of Revenue and Analytics at Yelp: “Why is this important? Because it reinforces what we already know: that Yelp users are searching for local businesses with the intent to spend money, and they’re using Yelp to decide where to do it. With a monthly average of 102 million unique visitors (as of Q1 2013), that’s a lot of spending power channeled through Yelp.”

“Anyone working in or around the yellow pages industry or any ‘directional medium’ (e.g., search) during the past decade or so will recognize this ‘ready to buy’ consumer behavior,” added Screenwerk’s Greg Sterling. “I have little doubt that the survey findings, though they form a self-serving argument for Yelp, are accurate. Google and online yellow pages benefit from the same behavior.”

The results of the survey come on the heels of the launch of Call to Action, a new Yelp feature designed to more effectively convert site visitors into customers. The feature – which biz owners can pay to enable – promotes desired transactions, which can be anything from scheduling an appointment, printing out a coupon, or buying tickets to an event. Whatever it is, the offer appears on a business’ Yelp listing, and is designed to attract people who are ready to engage.

For more information on the new Nielsen survey, check out the infographic below:

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Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

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