As Yelp’s Mobile Rise Continues, Tools Like Request-A-Quote Get The Spotlight

The local guide's message to brands and consumers is that Yelp isn't just reviews; it's a place for driving transactions.

Yelp continued to make good on CEO Jeremy Stoppelman’s vow to build up its mobile gains to become a $1 billion company by 2017, as revenues jumped 30 percent on an unexpected profit of $2.1 million for Q3.

Aside from its decision last year to shift from national display ad sales in favor of a local-focused, performance-based ad model, Yelp executives pointed to marketing services like Request-A-Quote as helping to support its “transactional” offerings such as the food delivery feature Eat24 and its restaurant reservations programs, Yelp Now and Yelp SeatMe.

The Request-A-Quote feature has been around for years – it was previously known simply as “message a business” that allowed Yelp users to ask for a price of services before making a purchase. But it got the full revamp this past spring.

To hear Stoppelman tell analysts during the company’s Q3 2016 call, heretofore unsung tools like Request-A-Quote as well as recently celebrated integrations such as its work with mobile platform Nowait, are making a difference.

“With about 70 percent of paid views coming from the Yelp app in the third quarter, we’re focused on driving high levels of app engagement for both consumers and business owners,” Stoppelman said. “For example, we recently integrated Nowait, which allows users to get in line remotely at more than 3,200 popular restaurants nationwide. We’re working just as hard to drive engagement on the business owner app, responding to customer interest in lead tracking and review notifications.

“To make our apps even more valuable, we’re investing in product development resources,” Stoppelman continued. “Our continued development of transaction capabilities has created a rapidly growing revenue stream of $60 million over the last 12 months and successful new offerings like Request-A-Quote.”

Request-A-Quote’s volume grew 20 percent from Q2 to Q3. Among the reasons for its growth, which evolved as Google and Facebook began ramping up their own respective services to small businesses, was attributed to new features that allowed consumers to to upload photos with requests, and expansion into new categories with “Request an Appointment.”

Additional enhancements, such as showing businesses’ response rates, also generated higher engagement between consumers and businesses with roughly 75 percent of consumer queries receiving responses within 24 hours during Q3.

At the moment, Yelp just started running tests that will have advertisers compete for the valuable leads Request-A-Quote generates.

“While Request-A-Quote is just one example of the transaction opportunities we’re working on, we believe it has the potential to significantly impact our business over the long-term,” Stoppelman said. “When businesses advertise on Yelp, they experience compelling results. In fact, a commissioned study by professors at Harvard Business School and Lehigh University supports that advertising on Yelp delivers results for businesses. In their study of more than 18,000 restaurants, the researchers noted significant increases in views of advertisers’ pages, clicks for calls and directions and traffic to their websites.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.