Yelp announces Custom Location Targeting and more features to expand reach for local businesses

Affiliate Marketing

Yelp is now rolling out Custom Location Targeting, machine learning-generated budget recommendations and a number of other new features designed to give business owners more control over their presence and ads on the platform, the company announced Tuesday.

Custom Location Targeting (CLT). Businesses on Yelp can now designate specific locations for their ads to appear. Before this, they could only advertise in a radius around their location.

Yelp's custom location targeting interface
The Custom Location Targeting interface. Image: Yelp.

CLT is available now to new self-serve advertisers and will be fully rolled out in the coming weeks.

New budget recommendations. The platform has also redesigned its budget editing experience, adding machine learning-generated budget recommendations for advertisers.

Yelp's redesigned budget editor
The newly redesigned Yelp budget editor, with budget recommendations. Image: Yelp.

Yelp’s machine learning model analyzes the business’ profile, historical campaign performance and lookalike audience data to generate budget recommendations.

Connect Audience Model. Businesses that use Yelp Connect, a publishing tool not unlike Google Posts, to communicate with their customers are now able to market to a wider audience. This expansion, known as the Connect Audience Model, enables businesses to show their posts to people who have interacted with similar businesses or searched for relevant categories. Previously, Yelp Connect only allowed businesses to target people who’ve bookmarked or followed their Yelp profile.

This product was specifically designed to make Yelp Connect more useful for service-based businesses. “Since our initial pilot, Home and Local Services businesses have seen consumer engagement with Connect posts increase by 3 times on average, compared to previous engagement levels,” the announcement reads.

Additional announcements. The company also made several minor updates, including:

  • A step-by-step guide to help business owners set up their profiles and use Yelp to market themselves.
  • A revamped ad dashboard for the Yelp for Business mobile app, including some features that were previously only available on the desktop version.
  • Guidance on ad text to help business owners write more compelling copy.

Why we care. Yelp’s announcements are all about expanding reach and making advertising easier for local business owners. The new Custom Location Targeting has the potential to be a very useful tool for service-based businesses that operate in a geographic area different from their physical location. With the new consumer behaviors introduced by the pandemic, this might include real estate businesses, online tutoring services and various other service providers.

The Connect Audience Model helps businesses market to potential customers based on their interests and search history, which can enable them to reach higher-intent audiences. And, Yelp’s new budget recommendations may be able to tap into data that the platform has access to, but individual business owners do not, which may help them run more efficient campaigns.

About The Author


George Nguyen is an editor at Third Door Media, primarily covering organic and paid search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.

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