TechCrunch (now down) uses comScore data to compare growth and engagement at Yelp vs. Citysearch: “Yelp Is Growing 80 Percent A Year, While Citysearch Remains Flat.” I only saw an excerpt of the piece so I don’t know all the points/arguments made.
Here’s what Google Ad Planner has to say about both sites:
Note the engagement metrics: time on site, page views, visits per visitor.Yelp is driving higher engagement — almost double the time on site despite having only slightly more uniques.
All this appears to validate the thrust of what TechCrunch is saying. Here’s Compete data showing he sites in a virtual dead heat, with Yelp slightly ahead:
Obviously the local space is not a “winner take all” segment; however the trend data — to the extent it’s accurate — is probably worrying to Citysearch.
Yelp’s mobile efforts (originally an afterthought) have become more and more strategic (the site just launched for BlackBerry w/Bing Maps). This has helped boost Yelp the brand and user loyalty. By contrast, Citysearch’s site relaunch and Facebook Connect integration appear not to have done much to help the site (unless it would be further behind and those changes helped retain users).
I don’t have time to do it but it would be worthwhile to take a number of sites that have integrated FB Connect and do traffic and engagement comparisons before and after. We may have an “emperor has no clothes” scenario here.
Update: A number of people have made the fair point that if ad dollars are considered then it’s a different picture. Citysearch is effectively a local ad network and has many more SMB dollars than Yelp at this point, although I don’t have exact numbers. Anyone care to estimate?