Yelp Fusion Revs Up In-Car Local Discovery

Yelp has announced that it’s coming to an Uber ride near you. This comes about through a partnership with Uber that brings Yelp Fusion to high-intent users in transit. The thought is that these riders are out and about in high-intent mode, and thus inclined to local search and discovery.

Before getting into details, what is Yelp Fusion? First launched in 2016, this is essentially Yelp’s formal API program that brings its content to various third-party products. Thousands of brands and developers participate, bringing Yelp to a range of local search, mapping, and discovery apps.

With Uber now in the mix, Yelp will be a central component to the new Uber Explore. As my colleague Charles Laughlin examined this week, Explore is Uber’s latest play to be a local discovery engine. It also brings Uber closer to the vaunted “super app” status for sticky one-stop-shop functionality.

Explore Pushes Uber Closer to Super App Territory

Impulse Moments

Going deeper into Yelp’s Uber integration, users of the ride-sharing app will have front & center access to Yelp local business content. This content will be available in the Uber Explore tab and include typical Yelp fare including business details, location, hours, contact, and of course ratings.

Riders can also make reservations right within the Uber app, thus reducing friction and boosting the chances of engagement. In other words, it’s a direct integration that captures user intent while it’s hot – preventing riders from having to bounce around to different apps to convert on an impulse.

Speaking of impulse, the UX is an important component in that Uber Explore is positioned as a discovery engine. To that end, Yelp business listings are fed to users based on their destination and other contextual signals (seasonal, daypart, weather) to pique their interest while riding.

As we’ve speculated in the past, one of Uber’s most valuable and untapped opportunities is what we call “in-ride mode.” When a ride starts, the UX shifts to useful content such as ETA, payment info, and local fare from Uber Eats. It captures riders’ captive attention in focused and coveted ways.

This is the opportunity that Uber Explore jumps on… and that Yelp now joins by association. Next – in true “super-app” style – we could see more direct payments integration. This is generally the glue that holds super-apps together and further captures conversions in those impulse moments.

Uber Quietly Advances its Advertising Business

Opportune Channel

Stepping back, Uber Explore joins a list of existing Yelp Fusion partnerships in the automotive realm. In fact, Yelp boasts integration in more than half of new vehicles sold in the U.S. This includes in-dash smart-car systems of a dozen+ auto brands like Ford Motor Company and Audi.

This takes form in a subset of Fusion known as Yelp Fusion Automotive. Like the main product, it’s available as an API and set of data feeds for auto manufacturers to integrate in their infotainment systems – which are table stakes in new cars. This makes it an opportune channel for Yelp.

Back to the Uber Explore integration, it’s rolling out starting this week in more than a dozen U.S. cities and regions including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, New Jersey, Memphis, Upstate New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Minneapolis – St. Paul, and Orlando.

“We’re excited to integrate Yelp’s trusted content and data into so many great consumer platforms across automotive, technology, AI and search industries,” Yelp SVP of Business and Corporate Development Chad Richard told Localogy Insider. “Our consumer data is a proven boon in helping companies enrich digital experiences that connect consumers with great local businesses in new and meaningful ways. These integrations represent the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible through our Yelp Fusion program, which we anticipate will continue to grow in the years to come.”

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