What Yelp’s Store Visit Attribution Means For Advertisers

Recently, we shared Yelp’s announcement about increased tracking for better store visit attribution. Since then, we’ve had detailed conversations with several clients about what Yelp’s recent offering really means for their media analytics, and we wanted to expand the conversation to include you.

The recap

Yelp released a new Store Visits product that utilizes a variety of signals to measure the user response to in-app advertising campaigns. These signals include check-in behavior, user engagement with business pages and opt-in location data provided by customers. Leveraging these data points, Yelp will generate a cost per visit metric for businesses, so they can get a better sense of return on ad spend. By utilizing first-party consumer data, Yelp takes the lead as many publishers face privacy issues with the crackdown of sharing and selling user data. This is Yelp’s attempt at closing the loop between online and offline activity, which is done on competitor platforms, including Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

The advantages

Here’s what we like about Yelp’s Store Visits offering. Depending on your objectives, this could be an insightful metric for your business. Brands looking to track their post-ad activity and understand ROI directionally on Yelp could find this tool helpful. By utilizing first-party data and user signals, this also protects brands from privacy issues on the web. In addition, the new tool can provide insight for advertisers on how to increase their Yelp business engagement, as well as improve local brand reputation management.

The disadvantages

Here’s what has us raising an eyebrow. One downfall of the new attribution feature is that Yelp aggregates various forms of in-app user engagement activity and counts them in the Store Visit metric. This could mean that a user checking-in or engaging with a business’ profile would be counted as a Store Visit even if they are not physically inside that business.

Our recommendation

Mindstream Media Group’s point of view is that Yelp’s new offering appears promising for brands who want to understand their ROI on Yelp directionally. In the meantime, there are three other options we recommend if you want to measure true foot-traffic to your business:

  1. Store Visit Measurement with Google Ads: Available for certain advertisers, you can track Store Visits to your physical locations. When someone is served an ad via Google, it doesn’t end there. Along with online metrics (CPA, CTR, CPC, etc.), Google also estimates Store Visit conversions by looking at phone location history. “Store Visit data is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics. Google Ads creates modeled numbers by using current and past data on the number of people who click or view your ads and later visit your store,” according to Google.
  2. Sales Matchback with Facebook Ads: Businesses that have customer sales data can take advantage of Facebook’s sales matchback process. All we need is a list of customers that include First Name, Last Name, Email and Phone Number. Mindstream Media Group takes this data and ingests into the Facebook UI, and Facebook matches your customer to anyone who has viewed or clicked on your paid ad. If your business has physical locations, this is counted as a Store Visit.
  3. Display Geo-Fencing: We start off by blueprinting your business locations and then provide an estimated cost per visit threshold. Ads are served in-app to your target audience across various networks including: The Huffington Post; USA Today; ABC; CBS Sports; New York Times; NBA; The Weather Channel; GasBuddy, etc. Your brand will only be charged when a potential customer physically walks into your business and billed based on the pre-set cost per visit threshold.

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