As of late a Nielsen survey commissioned by Yelp has been circulating. The consumer survey argues that Yelp drives higher conversions than both Google and Facebook and that the overwhelming majority of consumers made a purchase after visiting Yelp. Below are some of the survey highlights.

Review Sites & Yelp

  • 74% of the consumers searching online for a local business turn to consumer online review sites at least monthly.
  • Consumers who use consumer online review sites rank Yelp as the most trusted, most influential and most useful for making a final purchase decision, when compared to other consumer online review sites and excluding search engines and social media platforms.

nielsen1 Why This Popular Study About Reviews Should Be Taken with a Grain of Salt

Purchase Behavior on Yelp

  • 92% of consumers who use consumer online review sites say they made a purchase after visiting Yelp at least sometimes, frequently or almost always.
    • 25% within a few hours
    • 42% within a day or less
    • 79% within a week or less
  • 79% of Yelp users say they are looking for a business they can visit multiple times.
  • 85% of Yelp users share the businesses they find on Yelp with friends at least frequently or occasionally.

nielsen1 Why This Popular Study About Reviews Should Be Taken with a Grain of Salt

The survey goes on to include findings on restaurant ordering and delivery, as well as Yelp’s two cents on what these survey results mean for local businesses. Yelp notes that many consumers make decisions about whether or not they’ll spend money with you based on information found in reviews about your business. This information isn’t new, as most business owners are now aware that the majority of users trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, especially as it pertains to local businesses. But what these findings do show is a 55% spike in the number of consumers who say they make a purchase within a day or less after looking at Yelp for reviews- a significant increase from Nielsen’s 2014 study commissioned by Yelp.

Something to Consider

While Yelp is generally a reputable source for information, there has been chatter for years that the reviews they share aren’t really unbiased. I’ve heard from more than one business that good reviews seem to get filtered out more than bad reviews unless businesses buy into Yelp advertising. Similarly, I’ve heard from consumers using Yelp that the ratio of good reviews that get posted to bad reviews is suspiciously disproportional. Whether or not these claims are completely true remains a toss-up, but what we do know and have always known about Yelp is that they calculate “conversions” a bit differently than the rest of the SEO community tends to.

Unlike most sites, Yelp counts calls, directions, and clicks on links to businesses as conversions, even if it doesn’t result in a purchase. Counting all of these actions as conversions skews the picture and results Yelp gives users and makes for some not so reliable reporting metrics. While this survey exists separately from that, it’s still important to take this Yelp-commissioned survey with a grain of salt and look at reviews holistically. Online best practices would never have marketers or businesses put all their eggs in one basket, so even if Yelp truly is the greatest source of reviews for consumers it’s still important to look at your reviews cumulatively. Accounting and striving for a balanced review profile across Yelp, Google, Facebook, and any other platform relevant to your business is the best way to use consumer feedback to your advantage.