Yelp Trends Tool Reveals Ten Years Of Local Reviews Data

yelp-logoYelp is ten years old this year. Since 2004 the company says that it has collected 57 million reviews from users in nearly 100 cities in more than 20 countries. Yelp is now making that data accessible through a new Yelp Trends tool.

Similar to Google Trends but more narrowly focused, the Yelp tool allows users to compare the popularity of up to three keywords or phrases over time. These can also be brands or product names. For example, I’ve compared the relative mentions of three high-end San Francisco restaurants and further below three vodka brands.

Yelp Trends

According to Yelp’s blog post this morning:

Our massive wealth of data and the high quality reviews contributed by the Yelp community are what allow us to surface consumer trends and behavior based on ten years of experiences shared by locals around the world. For example, are San Franciscans still sipping PBR or craving craft beer? Is the CrossFit fad still going strong or losing steam? Are Londoners loving bob hairstyles or feeling more fringe (that’s bangs, for you Americans) these days? And every city has its favorite food trucks now, but where did this meals-on-wheels phenomenon first take off?

The data come from the full text of the Yelp review corpus (not just search queries). Right now you can’t compare cities in a single chart — say the popularity of “hot yoga” in London vs. New York. Each city must be examined individually. But the data are nonetheless interesting.

I’ve not played with the tool extensively I just had a brief opportunity to do a few searches. I’m sure a number of very interesting use cases will emerge.

Yelp trends

Yelp is offering a much deeper look at its data from one city (Phoenix, Arizona) to “students and academics.” It has also created what its calling the Yelp dataset challenge and will award $5,000 to students “for showing us how you use our data in insightful, unique, and compelling ways.”

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