Yelp and Zynga: Big Business capitalizing on our desire to connect to our communities

The best way to reach customers in today’s digital world is through social media. How, though? One commonly believed differentiator is whether the company helps people connect or now.

Connecting people

Does simply connecting people really help the success of a company though? If the company’s revenue stream is generated simply through advertising, then yes. The more people you connect, the more advertising you can pump through. If you are selling a product or service though, it is more complicated than that. Let’s compare a couple companies: Yelp and Zynga.


Since 2004, Yelp has grown leaps and bounds. Yelp was founded to help people find local businesses. In 2016, Yelp had a monthly average of 21 million visitors through the Yelp App, and 69 million visitors through the mobile web. Yelp is a stand-alone app that provides this connection between people and businesses while selling ads to local businesses. So they make money off of advertisements, but the core of their business practice is around connecting people.

Zynga creates social media games. Their mission is to connect the world through games. Zynga primarily makes its revenue through selling virtual goods in-game. Current worth of Zynga is estimated at around $500 million, putting its worth at less than that of its office building in San Francisco. Yelp on the other hand is worth $3.5 billion. Both companies operate in industries where there is a fair amount of competition. So what is the difference?



Maybe it’s not as simple as helping people connect. Both of these businesses do that, just in different ways. Maybe it’s how they connect people that is important. Zynga connected people already using social media platforms, just with a different service. Zynga now has its own platform, yet still can’t seem to realize the revenue stream that they once had. What gives? Why can’t Zynga recover? Maybe it is the customer service aspect? Yelp on the other hand connects people to a service, through their own app. Yelp also seems to have great customer service. Maybe the key is connecting people to strangers. Only time will tell…