Designed to increase the level of exposure of a business review on Yelp, the social review site has launched a new feature for iPhone users that offers the ability to upload a video between 3 and 12 seconds long. Heading to the Android platform at a later date, the new video uploading feature would allow Yelp users to visually depict the mood and ambiance in a restaurant or perhaps capture a positive or negative interaction with employees at a business. Detailed on the official Yelp blog today, Yelp users already upload approximately 23,000 photos per day to the site.
Due to all these photo uploads, the average Yelp user spends approximately 2.5 times longer on a business page with photos as opposed to a page with only text reviews. It’s likely that the new video feature will increase the length of time that Yelp users spend looking at a business page even more.
Yelp claims that the new feature is specifically designed to capture the experience of visiting the business rather than replacing the text version of the review. However, it’s likely that many Yelp users will attempt to to use the video feature for extremely quick video reviews, likely similar to the production value of short Vine videos. By capturing other patrons at the business on video, a Yelp user will be able to take a better guess at the dress code of other patrons as well as determine if the place is suitable for friends and family.
Speaking about the then upcoming video feature in a May 2014 interview, mobile product manager Madhu Prabaker said “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.” Of course, it’s likely that Yelp will have to deal with video takedown notices from businesses at some point, assuming the posted video is critical of the establishment.