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Yelp allows user-generated videos to showcase business offerings

Online urban guide and review site Yelp now enables its application users to upload short-form video content directly on-page to fully capture the atmosphere of a restaurant, store or other small business.

Through video cloud platform Brightcove, consumers may post clips up to 12 seconds long. This evidences that brands are distancing themselves from traditional advertising, whose metrics are hard to calculate, and into original video content ? material that is created not to sell but to engage.

?Video is the best storytelling medium, and Yelp users are passionate about stories of their favorite businesses,? said Anil Jain, senior vice president & general manager of media at Brightcove. ?Video is a powerful way to convey the true experience within a particular business and helps consumers make informed decisions about where they want to eat, shop, etc.?

?With so many other temptations and distractions available to consumers on mobile devices today, it's important to be able to keep visitors on your site or in your app.?

?Video is one of the best ways to get consumers to stick around for longer periods of time, to engage with more content, and keep coming back for more,? he said.

Mobile market
Digital video tells a story, creates affinity and is favored by consumers for its genuine personality. 

In April 2012, a report by comScore cited that the average viewer consumes 22 hours of video each month, with surmise that most of that time is broken into many short-form videos just a few minutes in length.

The market for path-to-purchase is increasingly moving towards catering to the light attention spans of millennials with rapid fire content that is aimed to inspire, provoke or excite. In correlation, the viewing experience on mobile devices makes short-form material even more enjoyable and marketers are aware of this rising opportunity. 

In Q1 2014, Yelp generated an average of 132 million monthly visitors, who upload more than 23,000 photos from their mobile apps alone per day. And since these consumers spend 2.5 times longer on business pages with images than on those without, Yelp answered to an evolutionary call and developed a better system of translating experiences to users through video.

The three to twelve second bits thrive on B-level filmmaking for an authentic extension of the visual experience that has the potential to undercut professional video reviews, and conveys the atmosphere of a venue to help others anticipate their experience before stopping by. For example, scrolling through pictures of dishes at a new bistro does not enable a user to know if the ambiance is more ?date night? or ?family friendly.?

Content marketing
The use of videos in content marketing is growing as more brands try to incorporate visual elements into their marketing mix instead of relying solely on text-based or stagnant initiatives.

A real challenge for marketers is often weighing the option of user-generated video over professional production. The same study by comScore suggested a marriage of both forms is most effective.

When analyzing a campaign that used the two angles on a traditional ?how to,? execs found that both media methods evidenced strong incremental benefit and exposure.

Professionally produced content generated a 24.7 point lift in Share of Choice for the featured product and a 16 point lift for the brand?s total line. User-generated videos drove an 18.7 point lift in Share of Choice for the featured product compared to a 10 point lift for the brand?s total line. When exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos, lift in Share of Choice for the featured product jumped to 35.3 points for the featured product and 28 points for the brand?s total line.

Consumers were more apt to understand the described benefits and features of the products in professionally produced content, however user-generated videos are easier to relate to, perceived as being unbiased, and considered more believable for verifying specific product claims, such as superiority and convenience. They generate an emotional intensity about a product, and in doing so help drive communication about a company?s key messages.

While marketers may already be familiar with the effectiveness of professional video content alone, these results suggest that even greater returns can be had by combining their use with authentic, user-generated content to instill confidence in purchase decisions and returned sales effectiveness.

?We believe that a short video clip can capture aspects of a business that are difficult to express in other ways, as photos don?t fully capture the noise-level or ambiance well and business attributes are often a bit sterile,? said Rachel Walker, senior public relations specialist at Yelp.

?These brief clips are both easy to capture and, more importantly, easy to quickly consume for someone who?s trying to decide whether a particular business is providing the experience that they are looking for.?

?This is a great time to add video contribution, as consumers are getting increasingly good at capturing and conveying an experience in just a few seconds with their mobile devices. At the same time, modern mobile phones are increasingly utilizing high-quality optics and image-stabilization, which further enables high-quality videos,? she said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York