Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp's CEO): "Mobile is the Future of our Business"

Excellent keynote to start the first day of the BIA/Kelsey conference. Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s CEO, shared with us a lot of interesting data points regarding their business.

  • How they define what they do: “connecting people with great local businesses”
  • 14 million local reviews as of today
  • Top review categories: 26% restaurants, 24% shopping, 9% beauty and fitness.
  • Expanding geographical coverage: France, Germany, Austria this year, more coming soon.
  • Yelp currently has 39M unique visitors vs. 26M last year (per their Google Analytics).
  • Monetization model: video ads, paid (ranking) ads, daily offers (what Stoppelman called the “transaction business”)

The CEO then discussed the main traffic drivers for Yelp mentioning search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing and he also listed Facebook as a great source of Web traffic. He talked about how search engine optimization (SEO) in the local space (read Google…), is becoming problematic. He doesn’t think Yelp (and other local media sites) will be able to rely on Google for traffic down the road but the good news is that the industry is heading towards “mobile”. People don’t search on mobile, they use applications. At Yelp, mobile is a startup within a startup and it’s been very successful. 30% of their total traffic comes from mobile now and a business is called every 5 seconds.

He also shared his strategies for driving distribution on mobile:

  • Leveraging your web assets
  • Store promotion
  • Partnerships
  • Battle for on deck

When prodded at the end of the session, he mentioned that “Mobile is the future of our business”.

What it means: Looking at Yelp, it looks like they are becoming a more mature business (with all the good and the bad that comes with being “mature”). Google’s moves in local is definitely a threat but their move into mobile is creating huge opportunities for them. Monetization is probably still problematic (it’s very difficult to monetize merchant reviews) but “daily offers” might be a great way for them to speed up revenue generation. I think they are a good example of the strategic importance of mobile in local/social.

2 thoughts on “Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp's CEO): "Mobile is the Future of our Business"

  1. Hey Seb,
    Thanks for the update. Trust you have no snow down in CA?? lol.

    I can appreciate how Yelp’s move or focus on mobile might help them grow the business beyond basic in-home pc/mac based searches, but I’m not so sure the “daily offers” isn’t already saturated. Don’t you think those looking for “daily deals” would be more inclined to align with the big boys (both vendor and consumer) or in your experience are companies playing with more than one of these platforms and testing what works best for them?

    I’m also not very familiar with Yelp except for the fact that one can offer up reviews of just about any business on there. Time to freshen up I suppose.

    And finally, were there any other notable company types that made up the balance of the remaining 41% of total reviews on Yelp? Or was it scattered all over the place?

    Safe travels. I’ll have a crudite in your stead at the SMBMTL cocktail. Take care, Jeff

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