May 26, 2014
Yelp has announced that users will be able to make the most of their review by adding user-generated video via the mobile app.
Beginning in June, Elite users will be the first to be able to upload 3-12 second video. Eventually everyone will be able to add video to their review. In the meantime, it’ll be appearing on mobile reviews early next month.
The goal is to provide a better glimpse into what to expect when heading out. Photos and text can provide a quick look at local businesses, but Yelp is looking to provide a view that only video can offer.
Yelp has experienced huge growth in mobile use, with most of their users wanting to check in on reviews and leave their own while they’re on-the-go. Adding user-generated video to the mobile app has a lot of appeal because of the ease of uploading and checking video, checking out ambiance, and other concerns over lighting and noise level.
Yelp has already said that the video isn’t mean to stand alone as a review, which accounts for the shorter length. Instead, it’ll compliment texts and photos that are already being used.
“It will be a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance, whether by having a certain lighting or the music at just the right level,” Madhu Prabaker, mobile product manager of Yelp, said.
Despite Prabaker’s thoughts on user-generated video capturing ambience, questions are already being raised about the length of video and whether it’ll be able to accurately capture the experience of customers, or it’ll be used to catch “gotcha” moments that sometimes happen, and won’t reflect the average visit. There are concerns over whether or not it’ll provide accurate representation for businesses, which is a conversation that will likely continue as video starts appearing.
Yelp started out in 2004 as an email service that allowed people to swap information about local restaurants. Since then it’s grown with social network components and mobile apps. There have been other concerns about fake reviews being posted on the site, which others are hoping video will help combat. User-generated video can add credibility, especially with consumers feeling more reassured that the review isn’t coming from a troll, or someone within the business.
We’ll see how users feel about the new feature as they start rolling video out!