Yelp, the search platform best known for turning up restaurants and reviews, has partnered with YP to upgrade its offering. The mutually beneficial deal provides YP’s advertisers a wider audience, and Yelp extra content.
Yelp’s strategic move marks its second major tie-up in as many months. This past February, the San Francisco company teamed with Yahoo to bring Yelp listings to the former’s search product. When consumers look up restaurants and other businesses on Yahoo, content from Yelp appear at the top of the page. In the past, Yelp’s content had been incorporated into Bing Local search pages and Apple maps. Seemingly driven by the need for more clicks and engagement from users, Yelp now turns to YP, the company behind the The Real Yellow Pages directory.
The deal is significant mainly for the augmented reach it affords YP enterprises. “This is a game changer for local businesses which will now gain industry-leading consumer access to potentially reach 95 percent of the U.S. Internet market through YP and Yelp’s combined audiences,” said YP CEO David Krantz in a statement. According to its website, YP’s consumer brands, such as YP.com and its affiliate app, get utilized by more than 70 million visitors monthly. The company leverages a Local Ad Network with hundreds of mobile and online publishers such as Yahoo, CityGrid and Mapquest, and claims its services could hit 90 percent of the American Internet population. Meanwhile, Yelp racked up on average roughly 120 million unique visitors per month in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The deal could be especially crucial for both companies with regards to mobile advertising. Terms of the transaction are hazy — most likely intentionally so — and obscure the extent of Yelp and YP’s collaboration. But a continued partnership could give advertisers on Yelp a longer mobile reach through YP’s Local Ad Network in the future. There are those have questioned whether Yelp’s mobile future is secure; therefore its partnership with YP could be extremely beneficial to its development off the desktop.
In 2013, about 53 million of Yelp’s unique visitors came via mobile, as did nearly a third of new reviews, while almost half of YP searches go through mobile devices. Gartner predicts this year’s mobile advertising spend will come to $18 billion and could swell to nearly $42 billion by 2017. YP takes a small share of those revenues, though more than Yelp. This March, eMarketer gauged YP’s take for 2014 at 1.6 percent of net global mobile Internet ad revenue, down 0.5 percent from the year prior. The company still makes the top 5 behind Google, Facebook, Twitter and Pandora, with the first two titans casting a long shadow with respective shares at 46.8 percent and 21.7 percent expected this year.
Terms of the deal were not revealed but it is expected Yelp and YP will split revenue in some way. And while it may seem YP gets the better end of the stick, the transaction also lands Yelp resources from its new teammate. “This partnership allows Yelp to tap into YP’s, large, local sales force and advertiser base,” said Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in a statement. “Yelp’s significant consumer engagement combined with YP’s scale and advertiser reach will help both companies grow and take local advertising to the next level.”