Yelp Broadens Toolset, Buying WiFi Marketing Platform Turnstyle

Yelp has acquired WiFi-marketing and loyalty platform Turnstyle for roughly $20 million:

Turnstyle’s core technology allows consumers to tap into free guest Wi-Fi while helping businesses re-engage those customers in the future in order to drive repeat visits and in-store sales. Businesses can build highly targeted customer contact lists and access powerful analytics tools that provide insight into visit frequency and duration. Combining this with Yelp’s search data will deliver a comprehensive intent-based marketing resource available for local businesses across the U.S. and Canada.

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Turnstyle offers free guest WiFi in exchange for customer log-in information. As a practical matter, this does a number of things:

  • Helps the SMB marketer build a better and more comprehensive customer list
  • Provides customer analytics on visits and frequency
  • Enables Yelp’s customer to remarket (offline to online) to customers

Zenreach also does something very similar and demonstrated the efficacy of the platform and approach at Place 2016 last year in Chicago.

Yelp has been gradually expanding its marketing capabilities and the products if offers to advertisers. It’s not clear how this will be packaged/priced to Yelp SMB customers. But it adds a powerful new set of tools to Yelp’s growing arsenal — and potentially gets them into email marketing (albeit indirectly right now).

It also offers more tangible proof of value for advertisers, which will increasingly become a theme this year. Along with online booking/scheduling, it connects Yelp with offline visits and transactions (in the SMB mind) in a much more direct way.

While there may be a few exceptions (read Facebook) for those serving the SMB segment, most vendors will soon need to be able to show direct value like this or be dropped. It will no longer be enough to show impressions, clicks (maybe even calls) in the relatively near future.

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