Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 13, 2020 • 05:00 pm ET

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Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day and welcome to Yelp's Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. [Operator Instructions] Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Ronald Clark, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Executive
Ronald Clark

Good afternoon, everyone and thanks for joining us on Yelp's fourth quarter earnings conference call. Joining me today are Yelp's CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman; Interim CFO, James Miln; and COO, Jed Nachman.

Before we begin, I'll read our Safe Harbor statement. We'll make certain statements today that are forward-looking and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Please note that these forward-looking statements reflect our opinions only as of the date of this call and we undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

In addition, we are subject to a number of risks that may significantly impact our business and financial results. Please refer to our SEC filings, as well as our shareholder letter for a more detailed description of the risk factors that may affect our results. During our call today, we'll discuss adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, which are non-GAAP financial measures. These measures should not be considered in isolation from or as a substitute for financial information prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

In our shareholder letter released this afternoon and our filings with the SEC, each of which is posted on our website, you will find additional disclosures regarding these non-GAAP financial measures as well as historical reconciliations of GAAP net income to both adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin.

And with that, I'll turn the call over to Jeremy.

Executive
Jeremy Stoppelman

Thanks, Ron and welcome everyone. At the start of 2019 we launched a long-term strategic plan designed to deliver faster growth to improve Yelp's structural economics. In the first year executing our plan, we accelerated revenue growth from 5% in the first half to 10% in the second half. We also expanded adjusted EBITDA margin to 21% in 2019 from 19% in 2018. These results reflect an ongoing transformation of our business model, which we believe is laying the foundation for sustainable, profitable growth in the years to come. The initiatives we pursued in 2019 delivered accelerating year-over-year revenue growth from the first to the second half of the year, while reducing our reliance on the local sales force, which was 10% smaller by the end of the year.

Three facets of our long-term strategy were particularly impactful in driving 2019's profitable growth. We improved retention of non-term advertisers' budgets by a mid-teens percentage by delivering them more leads. We grew ad revenue from multi-location customers 22% by driving store visits to national advertisers and delivering compelling new advertising formats. We also accelerated revenue growth in the self-serve channel to 30% in 2019 by introducing new product offerings across a range of prices