Yelp Purchases Turnstyle To Expand Targeting And Offline Attribution Capabilities

Recently, Yelp bought up a company called Turnstyle for a reported $20 million.  Turnstyle calls itself a WiFi-based marketing and loyalty platform.

Not only that, it can even be called a “marketing automation” platform, as well as a “marketing personalization platform.”

With Turnstyle, business can offer guest WiFi in exchange for customer email addresses (opt-in).  The company uses the phone’s MAC address to identify the device, when it returns to the venue, for either loyalty or attribution purposes or both.

Over the last couple years, Yelp has been trying to build up their marketing capabilities and programs relatively quietly.  But in late 2016, Yelp introduced loyalty program Yelp Cashback (using Empyr).  They’ve even been working on booking, messaging and transactional tools.

With the inclusion of Turnstyle to Yelp’s arsenal, a new set of capabilities is available to help businesses market to customers and figure out if those efforts are working.  Here’s what Turnstyle can do to help out Yelp:


  • Help businesses build customer lists.
  • Help them identify and segment audiences (e.g., frequent guests, lapsed customers).
  • Find/segment audiences in other ways (i.e., demographic, behavioral) when combined with other data.
  • Track online ads or email to store/venue visits.
  • Retarget in-store customers online on Yelp or third-party networks.
  • Offer email marketing or an enhancement to its customers, based on offline visits (combined with other data).

Will Yelp be able to do all things?  Maybe not, but Turnstyle will provide the technical capability to do them.  With Turnstyle and all of Yelps other tools and capabilities, it moves Yelp closer to being a full-blown CRM platform for customers.  It’s also another online-to-offline attribution play, in the context of a broader mobile market moving in that direction.

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