Yelp adds AI summaries, budgeting tools in push to aid businesses

Yelp, the leading business reviews platform, has just introduced its Winter product release, adding more than 20 new features that enhance its artificial intelligence capabilities. The features help businesses reach more customers and optimize their spending, building on Yelp’s previous AI innovations that focused on user and business needs.

The announcement comes amid a surge of interest in artificial intelligence and large language models, which have been adopted by various industries and brands, including Yelp, to improve their products and services. Yelp said it would continue to invest in its AI technology and offer more features in the coming months.

“We’re continuing to double down on new product updates that harness our rich, trusted content to elevate moments of discovery and inspire even more meaningful connections. With recent advancements in AI, you can expect to see us further leverage LLMs to ease the discovery experience, facilitate more seamless connections with service providers and help local businesses succeed,” Craig Saldanha, Yelp’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post.

How is Yelp using AI?

In the blog post, Saldanha wrote that Yelp is introducing AI-powered summaries for restaurant, food and nightlife businesses. The feature, as the name suggests, taps the power of large language models to provide end-consumers with a crisp summary of what they can expect from a business. 

The offering works by using language models (details of which remain undisclosed) with recent user reviews to highlight what a business in question is best known for — the atmosphere, service, amenities, value or a popular dish. This information ultimately enables the customer to get past decision paralysis and find the right business for their needs with just a glance. Saldanha confirmed that it is already available on iOS and is expected to roll out on Android and the web later this year.

AI-powered Business Summaries

In addition to the summaries, Yelp is also revamping its home feed with AI to help businesses, especially those who have just joined the platform, connect with potential customers more easily and grow their business. The company says that the new feed will use AI to surface new businesses in a user’s community, complete with relevant photos shared by other users and video content. 

Further, the company is strengthening its analytical and recommendation play with AI. This includes two main developments: a revamped Yelp for Business homepage with detailed insights into business performance, customers and competitors as well as an offering recommending how much should be spent on advertising.

“The updated performance summary highlights a snapshot of a business’s success on Yelp, such as the number of impressions, page views, and leads a business has received. Customer insights detail audience data like what neighborhoods have the most consumers searching for the services they offer and the trending search terms in their area. New competitor insights provide performance comparisons detailing page visits over time compared to similar businesses, and the names of highly-viewed competitors,” Saldanha added.

Meanwhile, the ad budgeting tool leverages neural networks to take into account various business factors — including their rating, category, listing age and region – and come up with advertising options that can lead to the highest potential return on investment. This capability can also be paired with a predictive “Getting Started” feature that will provide recommendations that are most likely to drive success for the business listing.

Yelp's new smart budgeting, insights and consultation features
Yelp’s new smart budgeting, insights and consultation features

Other new features coming to Yelp

Beyond AI-powered tooling, Yelp’s Winter release includes consultation scheduling to help businesses instantly connect with Yelp support; an enhanced “Projects” experience to hire service professionals; “review topics” to help draft relevant reviews; and a revamped visual search experience with highlighted popular and recent searches.

“Search results for restaurants, food and nightlife businesses will now feature photo-heavy search results listings, visually bringing businesses to life. For frequently searched foods, you’ll find new carousels that highlight popular dishes,…If you still can’t settle on the right business, the new “People also search for” component in search results helps narrow down your choices with search recommendations for fine dining, hottest restaurants, restaurants with views, local favorites, and more,” the CPO said.

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