Yelp is introducing a new home feed experience, including a vertical image feed from local restaurants, to its mobile app, the company announced on Tuesday. The Instagram-like feature is currently rolling out to iOS users in nearly 150 metropolitan areas across the US.
What content appears in the feed? Photo about Popular dishes identified by Yelp’s machine learning system on user-submitted photos and reviews, and Posts on Yelp Connect may appear in the new homepage feed.
When users tap on Popular Dishes in their home feed, they’ll be redirected to more photos and reviews mentioning that dish. The image can also be an image of the restaurant’s interior or exterior; when a user taps on one of those images, they’ll show more details about the photo on the business page.
Subscribers to Yelp’s Paid Connect feature will also have more visibility in the new homepage feed. Connected posts are distinguished by the “Sponsored” label shown above. When users tap a post on Connect, they’ll see an option to view the business’ Yelp page or share the post.
Bring social media features to Yelp. Yelp is also adding a heart icon to all homepage feed content, according to Phillip Zukin, consumer product group product manager at Yelp. “That said, businesses are only told that their content resonates with potential customers when a consumer taps the heart icon on a Connect post,” he added. Users are not currently shown how many “hearts” a post has received.
Personalization for users. Home feed content is personalized to users based on a variety of factors, including their physical proximity to the business, how popular a dish is in reviews and how recent the content is.
Why do we care. This social media-inspired UI tweak could make it easier for users to discover new businesses on Yelp’s iOS app. This visual format contrasts sharply with its main competitor, Google Maps, which could help Yelp appeal to users who are looking for recommendations to be served instead of searching the map interface to find good place to eat. And, like any interface change, the way users behave in the app is adaptive, which can mean increased engagement for businesses if the page feed New owners are welcome.
The new home feed also provides more visibility for businesses using Yelp Connect, which could enhance the service’s utility for some subscribers. “Our initial testing shows that this new experience can help increase consumer engagement with businesses’ Connect posts by as much as 30%,” Yelp said in the announcement.
Yelp also plans to roll out the new home feed experience to Android users, but did not provide a release schedule.