Do online reviews really work?

Reviews are a very common feature online, whether they are for a product, service or experience.  There are a host of companies who offer various review management solutions and products which enable you to display and manage online reviews on your website as well as in web search results.

But are online reviews useful?

Yes!  There is much evidence to support the power of online reviews with plenty of statistics available to show the numbers… Source Brightlocal

  • 92% of consumers say that they read online reviews
  • 40% of people form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews
  • and 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews
  • With a positive star rating being the No. 1 factor which people look for.
  • 94% of people say they would use a business with a 4 start rating

Millenials (the much talked about group which spans those approximately between 18-34 years of age – those born in the mid 1980s to late 1990s) are the group which is most receptive to online reviews with some stats suggesting that as many as 81% of those stating they rely on online reviews being in this category.

So what are the benefits of online reviews?

Well, the case for positive reviews is pretty straightforward.  If you have provided a good service and people are prepared to say so on your website this increases the confidence of prospective customers in your ability to deliver good service.  Similarly, a product which is well reviewed can help to get potential purchases to commit to buy if they are comparing two products.  A hotel or venue which has been given a positive rating by other guests helps us to understand if it is somewhere we are likely to want to stay. 

A positive star rating shown in search is known to increase the click through to your website, with positive star ratings shown in the Google 3-pack having an even greater impact on click through rates.  Research carried out by Brightlocal showed that a listing with 5 star rating in the 3 pack would attract 69% of the clicks!

The case for positive reviews is not likely to have surprised anyone, but even the best businesses can’t please all the people all the time, so, can negative reviews can also have a positive effect?

Negatives can be turned to positives in a couple of ways.  Firstly, there is a distrust of a business looking too perfect, consumers will start to doubt the veracity of reviews if they are all glowing and positive,  the more cynical amongst us may start to suspect that only the good reviews are getting through or that the business is in some way filtering opinion to only show that which is positive or that companies were only inviting reviews from those customers which they believed would positive (the CMA have issued guidelines about showing reviews which should, in time, address that problem).   Secondly, there is a power in the ability for a business to demonstrate how it deals with problems.  Reviews which highlight problems which are dealt with effectively by the business are often as persuasive as pure positives.  Similarly, what is considered a negative to one reviewer may be seen as a benefit by someone else.  For instance, a vegetarian restaurant goer may be pleased to read a review saying that a restaurant had too many vegetarian dishes on their menu, a downside to a committed carnivore!

It is worth looking at ways to integrate online reviews to your website, either by using the services of a review management service like Trustpilot or simply by encouraging your customers to leave you a review on google.  Reviews can be simply integrated into websites built with DNN with a number of review management providers having simple, drop in solutions available. For advice on how you can integrate reviews into your website or how to leverage their power in both organic and paid search, get in touch.