Online review site Yelp is a great source of consumer-generated data, having collected more than 57 million reviews of local businesses over the course of 10 years. Every day, tens, even hundreds, of thousands of consumers visit the site to find information on where to eat, where to stay, where to go, and where to have the best fun.
It makes perfect sense that as it celebrates its 10th year anniversary, Yelp is introducing a new feature that enables users to harness its massive wealth of data to find out what’s hot – and what’s not – in local neighborhoods. Called Yelp Trends, the feature is a search tool that creates beautiful visual displays of trends over time in cities around the world.
“From food trends to popular slang to short-lived beauty fads (Brazilian blowout anyone?), Yelp Trends searches through words used in Yelp reviews to show you what’s hot and reveals the trend-setting cities that kicked it all off,” wrote Yelp product manager Travis Brooks. “With search capabilities in 98 cities throughout 20 countries around the world, there’s virtually no limit to the trends you can uncover.”
While not necessarily the most accurate or scientific-based source of data, the reviews on Yelp can help consumers, businesses, and review management professionals identify what’s most popular (and what sells best) in a given location.
Using Yelp Trends
To use Yelp Trends, all you have to do is type a search term (“craft beer,” “food truck,” “cupcake”) in the given search box and choose the city where you’re located. You can then choose from a group of review categories: restaurants/nightlife, active life, shopping, health and medical, beauty and spas. The results and graphs will display how many local reviews talked about or mentioned the search term over the course of the last 10 years.
You can even analyze Yelp reviews and make comparisons by searching for multiple trends at once. For example: you can type in “sushi” and “pizza,” choose the city you’re located in, and find out instantly which of the two has been the hotter trend.
Yelp Trends can also display where certain trends actually started, based on where trend-related search terms first appeared on Yelp reviews. For example, we now know that “poutine” was popular in New York way before it began to catch on in LA. Interestingly, “hair extensions” was big in London in 2008, before the trend shifted to “bobs” in late 2009.
Check out some screenshots of Yelp’s coolest new feature: