Yelp Ads vs Google Ads

Yelp Ads vs Google Ads: What’s better? How Much?

Are you thinking about advertising on Yelp? Have you been wondering which to choose, between Yelp and Google Ads? Then you really need to read this article. My name is Francisco, and I am here to help you. My company, Planet Marketing, specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. I have been in business for over 13 years! In all those years, I have helped countless companies find the best advertising platforms for their businesses. Today, I am going to try and settle, once and for all, the Yelp Ads vs Google Ads debate. In this article, I am going to;

  1. Give you a Yelp vs Google Ads comparison table
  2. Talk about Yelp advertising and its pros and cons
  3. Make a comparison of Yelp ads and Google Ads

Yelp vs Google Ads comparison table

  Yelp Ads Google Ads
Campaign Type Category based Search Based (Keywords)
Pricing Starts at $400/m No Minimum
Contract 12 months (Try 3 months) None
Cancelation Fee 1 month fee None
Max CPC Determined by Yelp Determined by YOU!
Radius Out to 20 miles. Can’t change As small as 1 mile minimum
Control Yelp runs itself You manage everything

Yelp Advertising Pros and Cons

Yelp, on the face of it, is a great advertising platform. Today, over 178 million unique visitors flock to the platform every month on the hunt for online reviews. That’s over 178 potential customers for the would be advertiser on the platform. Yelp’s potential is, in this regard, quite astonishing. So, does this mean Yelp is a good bet for those that are looking to market their businesses?

The reason why I decided to focus on Yelp first in this article is because advertising using the company can be a tricky proposition. If, as an example, you blindly decide to choose Yelp Ads over Google Ads, you may end up making the wrong decisions. And should it turn out that Yelp is not good for your company, then you will be stuck because you will be tied to a contract. So, it’s important to go through this article before choosing between Yelp Ads and Google Ads!

Where do Yelp Ads Appear?

Should you choose to advertise on Yelp, then your ads will appear in a variety of places;

  • Your Yelp ads will appear on Yelp Pages.  This gives you access to the millions of people who use Yelp on a daily basis.
  • Your ads will also appear on your competitors pages. That is a great way through which you can generate leads even from people who may not have initially been interested in your particular business. Let’s assume that you are a small town electrician, as an example. Should people in your area look up your competitors’ profiles on Yelp, your ads will appear on these pages.
  • Yelp delivers ads on both desktop and mobile platforms, making it ideal in today’s diverse operating environment.

Yelp Ads Pricing

Yelp's pricing
Yelp’s pricing

So, how much does it cost to advertise on Yelp? Well, the prices are liable to change at any time. However, you get a pretty good picture of current costs in the above screenshot. As you can see, Yelp has the following pricing plans;

  • Intro:                     $400
  • Basic:                    $600
  • Standard:            $850
  • Premium:            $1,100
  • Super:                   $1, 650
  • Ultra:                     $2,250

Does advertising on Yelp work?

You will notice that I have said quite a number of negative things about advertising on Yelp. However, truth of the matter is; Yelp does work for certain companies! I know of companies that spend up to $20,000 per month on Yelp Ads. And it’s working just fine for them. Indeed, Yelp is a great platform on which to market your business. However, it’s not going to work for all businesses.

Yelp advertising pros and cons

Yelp comes with a number of pros and cons. You should be well aware of these before choosing to advertise on the platform;

Yelp Advertising Pros

Yelp Advertising, contrary to what you may hear, is not all negative. The following are some of the advantages of advertising on Yelp;

  • Reach: You get to reach all those millions of people who go to Yelp on a daily basis to check out online reviews.
  • Yelp Ads run themselves: One of the biggest advantages of Yelps Ads is that, once you have everything set up, Yelp Ads basically runs itself. It’s really a nice platform if you can get it going. Once everything is set up, all that you need to do is simply pay them. You don’t have to have a marketing agency behind them. You also don’t need to hire a full time employee to control it. If you are in one of those industries where Yelp advertising works great, such as the service based industries that we mentioned above, they Yelp Advertising basically just runs itself.
  • The FREE version of Yelp is good. Use it! Indeed, there is no good reason for any business not to use the free version of Yelp. The platform is, after all, the place where your prospects go when they are on the hunt for information about your business!
  • Yelp has recently added new features that allow you to have better control over who sees your ads. This should eliminate the incidences where ads get lost that I mentioned above. Now you have the ability to seen the keywords that were used when your Ad was shown. You can then block some of the offending keywords.
  • Yelp is great for local businesses: Anybody that carries out a search on Yelp probably is well advanced on the purchasing decision making cycle. They already know what they want. And in most instances, they are looking for local businesses. Yelp is, therefore, great when it comes to local businesses. Advertising on Yelp is a great way of getting calls and getting more foot traffic to your business’s location.

Yelp Advertising Cons

Location targeting for Yelp Ads is too broad
Location targeting for Yelp Ads is too broad

Yelp comes with a number of disadvantages when compare to other advertising platforms, such as Google Ads. The following are some of the things that you need to be aware of before advertising on Yelp;  (20 miles).

Location targeting can be a bit too wide: Yelp promises to have your ads “reach consumers nearby.” But what does this mean in reality? What is nearby? Well, you will find that for Yelp, nearby can be as far as 20 miles out from the physical location of your business. If people aren’t close by, they expand the radius of where your ads display. That’s NOT good for a local gym or restaurant, as an example. People won’t travel that far just to do business with you. BUT it works great for plumbers, electricians, general contractors (where businesses travel to give quotes). Yelp is also good for service-based companies where people are willing to make a one-time drive; like a lawyers office, Accountants office, Dr’s Office.

Yelp’s Additional Costs Suck! One of the things that suck about advertising via Yelp is that they tend to charge you for things that should otherwise be pretty basic for each of the pricing plans on offer. The result is that should you choose to go for the Intro plan, you may end up having to fork out more than $400 to get some additional features. If you have ever watched the Yelp’s self service advertising video, you will understand what I am talking about here. The Enhanced Profile, as an example, will set you back about $75 per month on top of the $400 (or any other amount depending on your plan), that you are already paying.

An example of an ad getting lost on Yelp
An example of an ad getting lost on Yelp

Your Ads can get lost and will appear on irrelevant queries: Make sure that everything is okay by doing searches for your own stuff. That’s because ads often get lost on Yelp. The above screenshot shows search results for “piano lessons for kids.” As you can see, the first Ad is a perfect match. However, the second has nothing to do with piano lessons. It’s an ad for an auto pawn shop, which is absolutely not related!

Yelp will upsell you on the long contract: Be careful when signing up so that you are not tied into a 12 month contract. Yelp will HARD SELL this to you, in spite of the fact that there is a 3 months plan available. The 3 months contract is not something that they will tell you exists upfront. However, you need to go in there haggling! PROFESSIONAL sales people will convince you to sign-up. Be careful. Learn to say, “NO.” Not that there is anything wrong with a 12 month contract. However, should things not turn out to be that great, you want an initial contract that runs for a few months so you can painlessly walk away.

Early termination fee: Yelp will charge you an early termination fee which is usually a 1-month fee. This is not something that Google Ads charges.

No control over your CPC: Any time someone clicks on your Ad on Yelp, Yelp is the one that determines the CPC that you are going to have to pay. You have no control over it unless you choose a Certified Yelp Advertiser. Your CPC could end up being almost any amount.

How to remove your competitor’s ads from your Yelp page

Remember what I said about Yelp delivering your ads to your competitors’ pages, such that when people look up these businesses, your ads will also pop up. Well, the whole thing sucks if your are at the receiving end. Let’s go back to our example of the small town plumber. Now, such an individual wouldn’t want to have competitor ads appear on his or her page! The good thing is that there is something that you can do to remove your competitors’ ads from you Yelp page.

Get an enhanced profile

Yelp, as already mentioned, likes to charge a lot of extras, which makes the entire idea of advertising on the platform rather tricky. One such add-ons is the Enhance Profile. The great thing about this is that it allows you to remove your competitors’ ads from your page. This ensures that visitors will not be distracted from reading reviews about your business by having ads popup from the competition. 

Google Ads vs Yelp Ads

So, it would not do to just talk about Yelp Ads here. This, after all, is a Yelp Ads vs Google Ads head to head. The great thing is that Planet Marketing specializes in Google Ads. I have a number of clients who advertise on the platform. As such, I really know what I am talking about here! So, what are the most notable things about Google Ads? Who wins the Yelp Ads vs Google Ads battle?

Google Ads is better at keyword targeting than Yelp ads

Google is better at keyword targeting than Yelp
Google is better at keyword targeting than Yelp

The great thing about Google Ads is that it allows for precise audience targeting. The same cannot be said of Yelp! With Google Ads, you don’t have to worry about your ads showing up all over the place. Google has exact match, phrase match, broad match, and broad modifier keyword targeting, which all give you control at keyword level. Where Yelp is more like category based, Google Ads is more keyword based.  In Google Ads, there’s a feature called “Search Terms”. Google will show you what keywords (misspellings and all) people physically typed into Google. This allows you to make adjustments on your campaigns.

You have better control on Google Ads

Google offers you better control over your campaigns
Google offers you better control over your campaigns

Another great thing about Google Ads is that you have better control over the way that your ads are turning out. The above screen is from one of my motorcycle shipping clients. Under the Search Terms tab, I can see what the people who are clicking on the ads that I am running are typing into Google. The bids that I am running are not only for motorcycle shipping, but also for typos like “motorcyvle shipping.” We are actually getting conversions in spite of these misspellings. I can also see the cost per conversion in my Dashboard. I am, therefore, able to block any keyword that I think is too expensive in terms of bidding.

Google allows you to set your own bids

One of the complaints that you will hear with regard to advertising on Yelp is that you have not control over your bidding. That is something that I have already mentioned in this article. The great thing about Google Ads is that, unlike Yelp, you are able to set your CPC bid cap. That is great as it gives you greater control over the running of your ads.

You control what your ad says

This is something that’s not available in Yelp Ads. With Google Ads, you have precise control of what you want to say to your prospects. Yelp doesn’t really have that feature. It’s not build that way.

Location targeting can be down to 1 mile!

A major complaint when it comes to Yelp Ads is, as I have already stated at the top, that location targeting can be rather wide. Just think of a restaurant or bar whose ads are delivered 20 miles around the physical location of their business. Truth is, nobody is really going to drive all that distance just to sit in your bar! With Google Ads, you do not have this issue. Indeed, it is possible for you to set your target radius to show ads only within 1-mile or to show them worldwide, or anything in between. Yelp sets the target radius for you. Google allows you to target your audience using the following;

  • ZIP codes
  • Cities
  • Counties
  • States
  • Countries

You can exclude certain areas in Google Ads

Another great thing about location targeting in Google is that it allows you to exclude certain areas. Let’s assume that there are ZIP codes to which you do not wish to have your ads delivered. Well, then simply exclude all these places. This is something that I actually do here in San Diego. There are some areas of the city where some of my clients do not wish to have their ads delivered. These include some of the poor neighborhoods. Advertising there would be a waste of money for my clients. So I use the option to exclude them. That is not something that’s available with Yelp Ads.

Google Ads Cons

One of the major challenges when it comes to Google Ads is that you manage everything on your own. That’s another area on which they differ from Yelp Ads. Unlike Yelp Ads, Google Ads do not run themselves. You need to have someone always keep an eye on things to make sure that everything is working as it should. They do have something called Google Ads Express, but I do not recommend it because you are giving all the control to Google Ads.

Why not use both Google Ads and Yelp Ads?

Now that I have given you this Yelp Ads vs Google Ads write-up, here is a bit of advice; why not use both for your business? Indeed, many companies will be able to use both Yelp Ads and Google Ads for their businesses. There is nothing in one that says you should exclude the other. Perhaps, you may choose to do this as a way of finding out which one between the two works best for you. Whatever you do, don’t forget to use the free version of Yelp. It’s free and it’s a great way through which you can begin gathering those all important online reviews!

Wondering how Google Ads does vs Facebook Ads? Read the provided article for more! Also feel free to check out my Facebook Ads remarketing vs Google Ads remarketing article.

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