Yelp unveils enhanced ad targeting capabilities

Yelp has announced improvements to its ad-targeting capabilities through the expansion of its neural network usage.

The search engine announced that this strategy would also improve:

The quality of its search results.

Its photo classification abilities.

The accuracy of the Yelp Waitlist.

Why we care. Serving ads to high-value customers at optimal moments significantly enhances the probability of conversion, engagement, and potential sales. Advertisers can leverage these new capabilities to maximize the cost-effectiveness and performance of their campaigns.

Improved ads package. Yelp can now better identify suitable pictures for a brand’s local business profile by leveraging neural networks to intelligently identify the content in images. It then makes a decision based on a range of factors that will appeal to consumers and match their search intent.

Enhanced search and photo relevance. Yelp is now using a range of AI tools to understand users’ search intent better, enabling the search engine to serve photos from businesses that are more relevant to search queries.

Accuracy of Yelp Waitlist time estimates. Yelp added that the increased usage of neural networks has significantly improved wait time accuracy, which not only benefits diners with regard to planning their restaurant visits but also helps enhance restaurant efficiency.

Why now. Yelp started implementing neural networks earlier this year to improve its ability to match ads to relevant consumers based on the context of their search query. By leveraging neural networks further, the company has said that it’s been able train the model with exponentially more data to drive more accurate matching. Now, it can process years’ worth of data as opposed to just months.

What Yelp is saying. A Yelp spokesperson told Search Engine Land:

“For local advertising businesses, our photo selector tool for ads has resulted in a significant increase in clickthrough rates for advertisers, as well as decreases in cost per click across the board.”

“With these new models, we’re able to more clearly understand consumer intent and optimize ad
placement for businesses, in turn surfacing more relevant ads for consumers.”

“We see neural networks driving even more growth for Yelp, as we continue to invest in new capabilities, like an even more accurate search experience that understands the nuance of language, and more advanced ad systems that drive relevant leads to advertisers.”

Deep dive. Read Yelp’s announcement in full for more information.

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