Photographs add an exciting visual element to Yelp business reviews, and according to Yelp, customers spend 2.5 times more time on business pages that contain images than those that don’t. Now technology takes it one step further. Yelp has unveiled a new iPhone app which will allow customers to take short, 3- to 12-second videos of their favorite local businesses and post them along with their Yelp reviews. The previous Yelp iPhone app allowed users to snap photos, add comments and post them to a business’ Yelp review site quickly and easily, to share with other potential customers. With the new app, they’ll be able to select “photo or video,” and do the same with short videos. Currently available only for iPhones, the app is slated to be available soon for Android devices as well. Video Reviews Highlight Unique Aspects of a Local Business If a picture paints a thousand words, then surely a video paints a million. Videos can be used to convey many unique aspects of a business, such as ambience and atmosphere. Special effects such as a restaurant’s tableside preparation techniques can be captured and shared. Panoramic tours of hotel rooms can show potential customers how large and roomy (or small and cramped) the spaces are. Any kind of outdoor tour or experience can be shared much more effectively through video. Videos also capture something that photos can’t: sound. Customers can preview the ambient noise level of a restaurant or nightclub in advance, which will help inform their decision as to whether it’s more appropriate for date night or a night on the town. They can also determine the music genre featured there; whether it’s Country and Western, Blues, Rock, Rap or some other type of music. Is There a Down Side to Video Reviews? As with any type of customer reviews, the benefits or detriments depend entirely on the business. Any faults can become glaringly obvious under the scrutiny of video. Video of a mouse caught scurrying across the floor can drive a lot of restaurant customers away. Yelpers are just as inclined to shoot videos of dirty bathrooms and long lines as they are to capture spectacular views and live music. The sword cuts both ways, so business owners need to be aware of the potential for bad reviews if they neglect any aspects of their business. Good or bad, video reviews are here and bound to be wildly popular. Yelpers already upload over 23,000 photos from their mobile apps per day, and the Yelp mobile site hosts 67.9 million unique visitors per month. Create Your Own Videos Business owners already have the capacity to post their own videos on their Yelp pages, which is not a bad idea. By creating a video of your own local business, even if you don’t decide to post it, you will be able to see what your customers see, and get a better idea of what kind of potential videos could end up in your Yelp video reviews. You can then use this video as a guide to make improvements to your business, so that it will come across more positively in any videos your customers might take. For any kind of businesses that feature music, atmosphere, entertainment, panoramic views, exotic cuisine and/or customer service, this new video review app is bound to be a powerful tool that can make or break your local business.