Yelp will be increasing its sales force to go toe-to-toe with other companies looking to get in the online review space — specifically, Google and Facebook — said company executives on an earnings call today. When asked how Yelp plans to compete in a growing market (specifically since they have raised wages for some employees), executives said that competitors "don't really have sales forces of the kind that we have" and are therefore not a "direct" competition. Yelp still plans to grow its sales force 20-30 percent over the year, in an effort to ensure those statements hold true.
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Though 146 million users accessed Yelp via its website in the first quarter, the biggest point of pride for the company appears to be its increasing number of mobile users. Approximately 21 million unique devices accessed Yelp's app each month during the first quarter of 2016 — an increase of 32 percent when compared to the same period in 2015. Nearly 70 percent of page views in the first quarter were attributed to app users.
So why the focus on mobile users? According to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, mobile users are "more than 10 times as engaged than website users," as measured by the number of pages viewed. Also likely important to the company? The data they can access from mobile users. "Instead of going through an intermediary — otherwise known as Google — we get to know [mobile] users one-on-one."
Though Yelp has some 29 million app users, engagement still falls behind some other sites, which executives plan to combat with a continued investment in marketing. Still, Stoppelman likened the company's "tremendous web presence" to "having several Super Bowl commercials per month," in terms of reach.
Stoppelman also touted the results of a recent University of Pennsylvania study, which found Yelp reviews to sometimes be more comprehensive than federal government surveys of patients' hospital experiences.According to Stoppelman, Yelp officially surpassed 100 million reviews in March. No word on what percentage of those reviews was actually legitimate. Recently, Yelp has gone undercover to crack down on fake reviews (i.e. reviews given in exchange for gift certificates or other rewards).