Yelp Launches Request a Call to Connect Local Service Providers and Customers

Yelp announced this morning Request a Call, a feature that will allow customers to easily submit a request for a call to local service providers. The feature represents Yelp’s acknowledgement that there is still too much friction in the local services customer experience and that listings and review sites can help.

Why Yelp’s Local Data Keeps Popping Up in Unexpected Places

Since the debut of Yelp Fusion in 2016, thousands of platforms and experiences have added Yelp search and local content. Integration partners can choose which attributes to show on their platforms, with millions of business updates coming in each month.

Local Platforms Promote Integrity with Consumer Confidence at Risk

Nextdoor is the latest local platform to publish what it calls a Transparency Report, designed to offer information to the public about efforts made to maintain an online community that is free from problematic content. In Nextdoor’s case, the focus is on reducing incidents of hate speech and incivility in order to promote healthy community interaction.

Yelp: Consumers Want Reviews, Not Just Ratings. OK, Google?

For Yelp, consumers’ stated preference for written reviews is good news to share, as the company forces reviewers to leave written text, whereas Big Tech rival Google, which has gained sway in the local reputation space in recent years, allows reviewers to leave a rating out of five stars without further commentary.

Yelp Guest Manager

Yelp Introduces Guest Manager, A Front-of-House Operations Tool for Restaurants

Yelp today introduced a new, comprehensive solution for restaurants to manage their front-of-house operations. With online searches for takeout remaining above pre-pandemic levels, the new Yelp Guest Manager is being billed as a comprehensive solution that brings together many of the digital tools restaurants have been using to manage digital ordering, reservations, takeout, guest loyalty, and table management.

LBMA: Yelp’s Audiences Platform

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Yelp launching their Audiences platform, AirBnB partnering with What3Words for staycations, Billboards in Paris getting brighter for the “Fearless Night” safety campaign, and imageHOLDERS launching touchless kiosks with Ultraleap technology.

Scorpion Expands Its Toolbox with Yelp Partnership

The digital marketing services provider Scorpion announced a new partnership with Yelp this morning, in a move that demonstrates just how important Yelp’s advertising platform has become to the local ecosystem. Scorpion clients will have access to Yelp tools like zip code targeting, campaign goals, negative keywords, and other pilot programs that take a granular and customized approach to ad delivery. They will also be able to optimize their Yelp presence and unlock new profile optimizations that weren’t previously available.

Yelp Launches New Takeout Management Tools for Restaurants

Yelp announced that it would be evolving its Waitlist system and introducing new features designed to streamline restaurants’ front-of-house operations.

Yelp Lets Users Fact-Check Local Business Covid Safety

Despite the vaccine rollout and improving economic sentiment, a majority of consumers remain concerned about engaging with local businesses in many places across the US. Yelp is now allowing businesses to provide more information about health and safety practices to customers in hopes of fueling a quicker recovery.

How Are Brands Preparing for Native Ratings in Apple Maps?

A foundational element of local marketing strategy could be changing. Rumors began circulating last week that Apple would be giving users the ability to add ratings and photos to local business listings on Apple Maps when iOS 14 releases this fall. That could mean big changes are in store for brand marketers who’ve grown accustomed to monitoring reviews and ratings on a core group of third-party platforms.

Apple’s move into the ratings and review space isn’t totally unexpected, but it’s still causing the local marketing community to question how the update will impact local search and discovery.

Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

Brandify Study Shows Consumer Search Preferences for Healthcare, Restaurants, and Retail

Google in particular has made significant moves in recent months to verticalize the consumer search experience. For example, the team responsible for the relatively new Google Travel and Google Hotels sites has reported that they built a new consumer experience for hotels specifically because they noted important differences in the ways consumers searched in that category. 

Brandify’s study illustrates that consumer preferences for additional verticals are similarly differentiated, both in the channels consumers prefer for each vertical and the sorts of information they seek out when searching. Already, the search experience for restaurants, retail stores, and healthcare providers varies by vertical, especially on Google, which has added prominent vertical-specific attributes as a result of Covid-19 such as dine-in, takeout, and pickup availability for restaurants.

The State of Reputation Management 2020

Not long before the COVID-19 outbreak was officially deemed a pandemic — it seems like years ago, but it was only March 11 — we planned to commemorate Street Fight’s March theme, Word of Mouth, by surveying a select number of experts in local marketing about the state of reputation management and what to look forward to in 2020. 

Current events got in the way of our plans, and therefore we’re releasing this report in April rather than March. But we were pleased that the experts we asked came through and offered a great deal of valuable insight on the priorities and challenges of reputation management for local businesses. So let’s dig in to the insights provided by local marketing leaders at ThriveHive, Reputation.com, Chatmeter, Brandify, GatherUp, Uberall, and BrightLocal.

Businesses Find Opportunities to Fundraise, Connect Through Local Platforms

Consumers say they want to help the local businesses in their communities, and many are buying gift cards and launching GoFundMe campaigns to help their favorite restaurants, retailers, and brewpubs avoid going out of business. But restaurants and other essential businesses that remain open still need a way to let customers know how they’re selling their products and services, and how they can place orders without showing up in person.

The neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor is one of a number of platforms working on ways to ease that burden. Yelp, Facebook, and Patch are joining the fight.

Local Businesses Lean Heavily on Digital Tools During Covid-19

Digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Yelp, and Twitter have never been more important for local businesses. With 80% of customers saying they are scaling down their restaurant visits now, restaurants are in uncharted territory. Local businesses in every industry are being forced to adapt their marketing strategies on the fly and use digital channels like Google and Yelp to keep people updated on their status.

Restaurants that were previously hesitant to use delivery services are now jumping on the bandwagon, and apps like DoorDash, Instacart, and UberEats are seeing a surge in businesses using their platforms. Smaller restaurants, retailers, and other local businesses are also beginning to accept more orders through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Larger organizations are managing an influx of customer service calls using chatbots on these same platforms.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Accurate Location Data Can Save Hassles and Even Lives

Updating your location data management information to reflect new hours, store closures, different contact information or special announcements is important for business success in general. In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining accurate location data can actually have vital consequences for public health.

Yet a BrandMuscle study found that less than 60% of local business owners had even claimed their online business listings, which can lead to confusion about whether businesses are open or not. 

Brandify Launches Covid-19 Updates Page

We are not the only ones helping businesses with online communication at this critical time, and businesses themselves need to know the latest so they can craft flexible and responsive strategies. With that in mind, we’ve decided to publish our tracking sheet on changes to local business marketing channels as a new webpage called “COVID-19 Local Search Updates,” live on our website today. We will keep it up to date, and we hope you’ll find it useful.

Location Leaders Step Up to the Plate

During the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re seeing tech companies step up to the plate in a mixture of altruistic and opportunistic moves. That’s everything from Comcast removing data caps to Amazon removing its paywall for streaming kids shows. But what about local specifically? Again, that’s where businesses are getting hit most.

We’ve seen moves in the local space over the past week from Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Though there are several others, we’ll drill down on this representative sample. We’ll also give a shoutout to Google for its work to free up human and compute resources for local listings updates, covered Monday by Damian Rollison.

Google Disables Reviews and Q&A, Yelp Announces New Features Amid Outbreak

Important announcements were posted Friday by Google and Yelp as part of the effort to contend with coronavirus and its impact on businesses.

Google has published a new help page titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.” Before diving into the details in the announcement, I’ll mention the most important headline. Due to a rapid reorganization of priorities, Google has determined that at this time, they will disable the ability to leave new reviews, reply to reviews, and post new Question and Answer content.

Location Weekly: Foursquare Partners with Vistar Media, Yelp Launches Store Visits

In this 452nd episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Foursquare partnering with Vistar Media, Al Arabia Outdoor using Streach to measure OOH in Saudi Arabia, Walmart shutting down its Jetblack text service, Panera reaching 9.3M with AR campaign, Unilever piloting drones for ice cream delivery, and Yelp launching a new Store Visits product.