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Yelp's frustrating attempt to push users from the mobile web to its smartphone app has apparently paid off.

Yelp executives said the company is going to continue with its mobile-first strategy that pushes users to its smartphone app, despite losing ground to Facebook and Google in 2015 in the crowded location-based listings space.

On the company’s yearly earnings call yesterday, the focus was on the company’s success in 2015, particularly as a result of increased traditional marketing.

“With approximately 30 percent share of smartphone users in the U.S, we think we are starting from a great place, but there is an opportunity for us to really touch every smartphone user who is looking for local businesses,” said Rob Krolik, Yelp’s departing CFO. “I think we have talked to this group in the past about our unaided brand awareness that was running at about 29 percent based on another study we did a year ago in the end of ‘14. And based on our TV advertising and other marketing campaigns in ‘15, we have seen that number grow up to 41 percent in just a single year.”

The company said it now has 20 million unique devices use its app each month and has increased its year-over-year advertising revenue by one-third. The company is searching for a new CFO is it attempts to scale, and its attempt to own the mobile space is crucial to its growth.

Yelp claims it stands to benefit from companies moving their marketing dollars online, even if competitors like Facebook and Google are more visible to consumers and businesses alike.

“I think what I hear from our sales team is that Google and Facebook do come up, but in general, when they hear Google and Facebook from a local advertiser, that’s a really good sign,” said Geoff Donaker, Yelp’s COO. “That means that the local advertisers who has already started to shift online and it’s a great opportunity for us to talk with them about Yelp advertising.”

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Tags: earnings, facebook, google, ugc, yelp

Photo credit: Yelp is banking on mobile to return it to its former glory. Skift

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