Yelp has introduced a “revenue estimate” tool for SMBs. The new ROI calculator aims to show or prove Yelp’s value to business owners.
It’s free for all businesses that have claimed their Yelp profiles. There are no additional features for advertisers right now. It will, however, show whether advertisers are receiving more customer leads — SMBs can compare lead volume as advertisers to the period before they became advertisers.
Here are the key things to understand about the tool:
- Yelp is capturing a broad range of actions and defining those as leads (more on that below)
- Yelp is using a default “average revenue per customer” figure derived from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study I wrote about last week. (BCG asked business owners to estimate how much an average customer was worth. Those values populate the tool [and vary by vertical] but SMBs can input their own figures)
I asked Yelp what the were considering a “lead.” Yelp said all of the following are “leads” for purposes of reporting:
- Clicks to the SMB website
- Calls (from the mobile app)
- Maps or directions lookups
- Photo uploads
- Deals sold
- Open Table reservations (where they exist obviously)
- Menu lookups
When I asserted to Yelp that the value of these numerous actions could be quite different from one another (Open Table reservation vs. a menu lookup), the company acknowledged this. Yelp originally considered weighting these lead types differently. However it decided that would introduce too much complexity into the system for SMBs. I agree.
I was also able to discover some additional information and background about the BCG study. Yelp didn’t pay for the study but in discussions with BCG (there are some alums at Yelp) there was mutual interest in a Yelp business-owner survey. So Yelp partly suggested the study.
As I mention in my Marketing Land post on this, some people and Yelp critics will be cynical about Yelp’s motivations in creating the ROI tool. Other than the variable quality of leads being reported in a uniform way — and perhaps Yelp can be more transparent about all the categories that qualify as leads — I think it’s useful.
What do you think?