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Demystifying Yelp in 2023: Key Stats and Facts on the Review Giant‘s Users and Impact on Local Commerce

Yelp has become a go-to resource for finding the best local restaurants, salons, mechanics and other services. Those crowd-sourced star ratings and reviews hold huge sway in where we spend our money in our neighborhoods and cities.

But who is the driving force behind all those 5-star raves and scathing takedowns? Exactly how influential is Yelp in impacting local business revenue? If your pizzeria, spa or law firm appears on Yelp, what should you know about engaging with this huge audience?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep on the need-to-know facts and figures about Yelp‘s users, platform trends and just how vital an effective Yelp presence is for local establishments. Read on for insights from an industry expert on capitalizing on this essential site.

Yelp by the Numbers: A Snapshot

Let‘s start with a bird‘s-eye view of some key statistics on Yelp‘s platform and users:

  • Over 178 million monthly active users globally
  • More than 90 million monthly mobile visitors
  • Over 265 million reviews and counting
  • 53% of users are female, 47% male
  • The USA accounts for 93% of all visits

From these numbers, we can already see Yelp‘s tremendous reach among consumers, massive mobile adoption and the site‘s current concentration in the US market.

But there‘s much more to the story, especially when it comes to the demographics and behaviors of Yelp‘s audience. Let‘s analyze who Yelp‘s users are and what motivates them.

Who‘s Writing Those Reviews? The Yelp Demographic Breakdown

While apps like Instagram and TikTok skew heavily towards teens and young adults, Yelp‘s user base shows a very different profile:

  • 39% of users are aged 55+
  • 34% are 35-54 years old
  • Just 27% are 18-34

"This older demographic is an asset for Yelp," says Simon Davies, an analyst with Omdia. "While younger users have disposable income, older generations are looking to spend more on services, local shops and dining as their free time increases post-retirement."

The age distribution also helps explain the near gender balance on Yelp, with women comprising 53% of users versus 47% for men. Platforms like Twitch that target younger tech enthusiasts still see over 70% male audiences.

For advertisers, Yelp offers a way to target influential consumers ready to spend, but in a more balanced male-female split.

Digging deeper, here are some key facts on Yelp‘s demo makeup:

  • 57% of US users earn over $100k per year
  • 24% earn $60-99k
  • 20% earn less than $60k

And geographically:

  • Leading states are California (23% of users), New York (9%), Texas (5.5%)
  • Other top metro areas are Chicago, Atlanta, Denver

Mobile Rules the Road for Yelp Reviews

An astounding 90 million monthly users turn to Yelp‘s mobile apps and sites. This gives the convenience of checking for the hottest new eatery or hair salon on-the-go.

Breaking down that mobile usage shows:

  • 33 million monthly mobile app users
  • 59 million monthly mobile site visitors

Meanwhile, desktop has stagnated around 38 million monthly visitors.

"Mobile optimization is now a requirement for any business to effectively engage Yelp users," says Leslie Walker, an e-commerce analyst with TechCrunch. "Things like menus, reservations and coupons need to work seamlessly in the Yelp app. Desktop-only optimization won‘t cut it."

Reviews Drive Real Purchasing Decisions

What motivates this huge user base to visit Yelp? The platform‘s internal data shows how vital reviews are to guiding actual spending:

  • 25% of users made a purchase within hours of visiting Yelp
  • 17% purchased within 1 day
  • Over 50% purchased within 1 week

"Consumers going to Yelp have high intent to buy something locally," Walker says. "Those reviews reduce the risk in spending significant money at a restaurant or service provider new to the consumer."

Rather than casual browsing, people turn to Yelp when ready to pull the trigger on a purchase but needing final affirmation. A few 4 and 5-star reviews provide that extra push.

Home Services and Dining Lead Review Categories

Across Yelp‘s vast database, some categories see more active reviewing than others. As of 2022, the top categories were:

  • Home & Local Services – 19% of reviews
  • Restaurants – 17%
  • Shopping – 15%
  • Beauty & Fitness – 11%
  • Health – 7%

Home services like plumbers and contractors carry significant financial risk, making reviews essential. "…and everyone has an opinion on the local restaurants," Walker notes.

Advertiser Options Tailored for Local Success

So how does Yelp make money from all these users and reviews? Primarily through its advertising model focused on local businesses.

Yelp offers a range of options for enhanced listings, search placement, call tracking and campaigns targeted by geography, gender and more. Pricing models include cost-per-click, impressions and monthly subscriptions.

"Yelp ads manager allows granular targeting and campaign optimization," says Chris Wong, an analyst at Forrester. "Just be sure to closely track ROI as campaign spend can add up fast."

The Yelp Demographic and Strategy Roadmap

Optimizing a local business‘ presence on Yelp requires an understanding of its core users. Some key takeaways for developing an effective strategy:

  • Cater to the 55+ crowd and their preferences, without alienating younger visitors
  • Build reviews and reputation with women who dominate the platform
  • Mobile responsiveness is a must – optimize for on-the-go use
  • Focus ad campaigns on your top categories – dining, services, shopping, etc.
  • Closely monitor performance of ad spending and promotions
  • Respond professionally to negative reviews and feedback

"The competitive landscape for local advertising dollars is intense," says Wong. "But establishments that strategically craft the optimal Yelp profile reap the rewards of this huge, motivated user base."

The Bottom Line

While newer platforms grab headlines, Yelp remains a local advertising and recommendations titan. The sheer volume of reviews and mobile-centric audience make Yelp a must-have venue for local establishments to engage customers.

Thriving on Yelp requires an understanding of the site‘s visitors – who they are, what motivates them and how their usage patterns. Advertisers willing to tailor their presence to that influential demographic can gain a considerable competitive edge.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.