Yelp Will Spend $50 Million on National Ad Campaign in 2016

Company Rids Itself of Display Advertising

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Credit: Yelp
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Yelp will begin a $50 million advertising campaign in 2016, the online review site said during its fourth-quarter earnings call Monday.

In September of last year, Yelp launched its first national advertising campaign and spent $30 million in the process. The last campaign featured Ben Sinclair, who plays a pot dealer on the HBO series "High Maintenance," and was created by San Francisco agency Reid Sheehan Latimer+Crew.

The spend might have paid off for Yelp, as its brand awareness increased to 41% at the end of the fourth quarter from 26% when it debuted, the company said Monday.

Yelp didn't disclose additional details about the new ad campaign, but said it plans to spend about $13 million on it during the first quarter of 2016.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 40% from the period a year earlier to $153.7 million, the company said.

The bulk of Yelp's revenue comes from text-based local advertising, which came in at about $126 million, up from $93 million, for the period ending compared to the same time a year ago.

Yelp appears to have made good on its promise last July to phase out display advertising entirely by the first quarter of 2016, saying Monday the vertical will not generate any revenue for the company moving forward. Last quarter, display advertising revenue came in at about $9 million.

The company will look up to make up that loss by focusing its efforts on mobile, where the bulk of its users engage with the brand. Consumer adoption of the Yelp app remained strong, with the number of unique devices opening the app reaching nearly 20 million across the quarter as a whole, up 42% from the year earlier.

Additionally, the company said Chief Financial Officer Rob Krolik, who joined the company in 2011, will be stepping down in December of this year. Further details weren't provided.