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Introducing Custom Ads on Yelp: Allowing Businesses The Ability to Select Which Photos and Reviews are Highlighted in Their Ads

We’re excited to announce that, starting today, business owners have the ability to customize their ads. With the introduction of Custom Ads, advertisers will be able to select which photos and reviews are presented in their campaigns. This announcement is the first in a series of tools we’re working on to put advertisers in the driver’s seat of their ad campaigns.

Though online ads are largely driven by algorithms designed to optimize an ad’s performance, we’ve surveyed advertisers and understand that they want the ability to tailor ads and ensure that they are representative of their business and appeal to their target customer. Today, more than ever, they are seeking to customize their content and Yelp is continuing to develop ways to give them the tools and data to better understand and tailor their outreach to users.

By giving advertisers the ability to select which photos and reviews they would like to feature in their ad, we’re providing a unique tool that leverages the voice of a customer to promote their business. Based on our initial tests, businesses owners and marketers are loving the increased controls of Custom Ads. We’ve already seen 30% of new advertisers using this feature.

Not sure what content to use? You can also opt to employ a two-step machine learning process that will select which Yelp photo and review content will be most impactful. This process has been shown to increase the rate that people click on ads by at least 15% compared to ad content selected at random. First, we’ll rank your photos and reviews by the likelihood that Yelp users will respond to them, based on similar photos and reviews we’ve shown in past ads. Second, we’ll create and test up to thirty sample ads with varying combinations of photos and reviews to determine which combination performs best. Based on these learnings, the best combinations will be shown more and more over time.

Starting today, business owners with a single location or a small number of businesses can start using Custom Ads with just a few easy steps:

  1. Claim your business and start a Yelp ads campaign at biz.yelp.com
  2. Click the “Customize Ad” option on the desktop version of the Yelp Ads dashboard
  3. Pick a review and photo yourself, or let Yelp’s machine learning process pick for you

If you’re a larger business, contact yelpnational@yelp.com to learn about our offerings.