10 Facts You Need to Know About Online Reviews

November 2, 2021

Online reviews play a huge part in the perception of your business, as well as your organic search rankings.

In order to make informed decisions about online reviews, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s important to understand how consumers interact with reviews and the increasingly large role they play in the customer’s journey.

Here's what you need to know about online reviews to better understand how they fit in a successful digital marketing strategy:

1. Even bad reviews can help.

Ok, we’re not saying that having terrible reviews overall is a good thing, but having a handful isn't the worse thing either. A Neuroscience Marketing study showed that customers spend five times as long on a website if they interact with bad reviews. They also trust those reviews more and convert 85% more often.

Furthermore, diversity in reviews tends to be trusted more than 100% five-star reviews, especially if those reviews give more specific information about a product or service since every buyer has different tastes/needs.

2. Less than half of internet users leave reviews.

According to a 2019 GlobalWebIndex Insights Report, 47% of all internet users worldwide say they post reviews each month about a product, company, or service. That means almost half of internet users not only read online reviews, but they're also leaving them.

Encourage your customers to share their experience by applying best practices to collect online reviews rather than just hoping they'll take the initiative.

3. More consumers look at reviews than at discounts.

In a Bizrate Insights survey of 1,200 online shoppers, 32.1% of consumers said that a high review score or rating was the most important factor when deciding on a purchase. It was the top response, beating out a coupon/discount, loyalty or rewards program, and free shipping.

4. Responding shows you care.

On most online review platforms, businesses have the opportunity to reply to negative and positive reviews. Bazaarvoice reported that 41% of consumers say that when businesses reply to their online reviews, it makes them feel the company cares about their customers. Yet, Womply Research found that 75% of businesses don't respond to reviews at all!

5. Adding reviews can boost conversions.

According to a Spiegel study, displaying reviews can increase conversion by 270%. Reviews are particularly impactful on sales for higher-priced items, increasing the conversion rate by 380%!

6. Absence of reviews deters consumers. 

In a 2021 PowerReviews survey, 44% of consumers said they won’t purchase a product if there aren't any ratings or reviews available. Gen Z and Millennials are also more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to abandon a purchase if there are no reviews available.

7. Stars in search can increase clicks.

CXL Institute found that displaying star ratings on the search results page can increase click-through rates by as much as 35%! In order to get your star ratings to show up in the search results, you'll need to include the appropriate schema markup and actual customers must provide the reviews for them to show up reliably.

8. Reviews affect search rankings.

Reviews play an important role in search engine optimization (SEO). According to Moz's 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, the fifth most significant factor that determines search rankings for a business is online reviews. Additionally, the impact of Google reviews on SEO has increased by over 20% YoY.

9. People tend to care about quantity over quality.

Again, we’re not saying that having a low star rating is good, however, Association for Psychological Science reported in 2017 that people tend to choose products based more on the number of reviewers than on the average rating of the review. So don’t worry about only getting reviews from your best customers, and strive to get reviews from more customers overall.

10. Recency of reviews matters.

When reviews are posted can have an impact on shoppers. According to BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey 2020, 86% of consumers say they only look at reviews from the past three months, 73% only take into account reviews within the last month, and 50% only consider reviews from the past two weeks.

This proves again the importance of having fresh reviews regularly posted so consumers can trust that their experience will match the review.  

Conclusion: Boost Sales with Online Reviews

While you might have already known that online reviews were important, we hope you found some statistics here that helped further your understanding of how consumers perceive and use reviews when making purchase decisions.

For example, you likely know that consumers are more influenced by online reviews than they have been in the past, but would you have guessed that negative reviews can actually improve conversions, or that consumers are more interested in product reviews than discounts? That's why it's vital to have an online reviews strategy to drive more business.

Schedule a free strategy session with Sales & Marketing Technologies to learn about our internet marketing solutions!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.  

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