Nearly all of us carry in our pocket or purse a machine that helps us make decisions. Where are we going to eat? Which running shoes are we going to buy? Where should we bring our car for a tune-up? We don’t make these decisions alone. We take out our phones and see what other people have to say about restaurants, shoes, and mechanics.
Today, most Americans depend on online reviews to help them make decisions. Whether or not you are paying attention, your customers leave reviews of your business on sites like Google and Yelp and on social media. These reviews can have a huge impact on the success of your business.
Businesses today must pay serious attention to online reviews, but rather than looking at them as another task to deal with, they can learn to use them to their advantage. Research tells us that most people are using online reviews and that most people trust them. They tell us that your online rating and reputation can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. But they also tell us that by paying attention to and engaging with reviewers, business owners can get an edge on their competition.
You may have some questions about why online reviews are essential to your brand and how you can harness their power to your benefit. The stats below can help with some answers.
Why should I care about online reviews?
People look for and trust online reviews.
- Reviews influence the purchasing decisions of 93% of consumers. (Podium)
- 82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. (BrightLocal)
- 91% of 18 – 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. (BrightLocal)
- 94% of people say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business. (ReviewTrackers)
- 4 out of 5 consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews. (Cone Communications)
- 2% of people read online reviews before choosing a restaurant. (GatherUp)
Why should I pay attention to my star rating?
Your rating makes a difference to your bottom line.
- 93% of people who use mobile to research go on to make a purchase. (Google/Nielson)
- A 3.3-star rating is the lowest most consumers will engage with. (Podium)
- For “near me” searches, a star increase of just 0.1 can increase conversion rate of business location by 25%. (Uberall)
- 35% of consumers say that better reviews have driven them to go for a higher-priced option. (Salsify)
- 57% of consumers pay attention to star rating when judging a local business (the second-largest factor considered following recency of reviews). (BrightLocal)
- Reviews account for 15.44% (the third most important factor) of how Google ranks a local business. (Moz)
Once I get a few good reviews, am I done?
No, reviews need to be recent and plentiful.
- Buyers need an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate. (BrightLocal)
- Consumers need to see 10 reviews before being able to trust a local business. (BrightLocal)
- 85% of consumers think online reviews older than three months are irrelevant. (BrightLocal)
- Shoppers expect an average of 112 online reviews for products they search for online. (Statista)
- Businesses with more than 9 fresh reviews (within last 90 days) earn 52% more than average. Those with more than 25 earn 108% more. (Womply)
- Businesses with more than 82 reviews earn 54% more than average. (Womply)
- 48% of consumers only consider reviews written within the past two weeks. (BrightLocal)
- Recency of reviews is the largest factor consumers use to judge a business. (BrightLocal)
How can I get more reviews?
Customers will leave reviews if you ask.
- 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked. (BrightLocal)
- Consumers aged 25-34 prefer to leave their reviews on Google. Their next choices in order of popularity are on the business website, on Facebook, and on Yelp. (GatherUp)
- The number one reason people leave reviews is to help other consumers make good decisions. (Trustpilot)
- 87% of consumers that leave reviews say they are positive all or most of the time. (Demandforce)
Do I need to read them?
Yes, and you need to respond.
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ response to reviews. (BrightLocal)
- Businesses that respond to just one review earn 4% more than average. (Womply)
- Businesses that reply to their reviews at least 25% of the time average 35% more revenue. (Womply)
- A 30% reply rate to reviews is where companies will see conversion growth that will outpace their competition. (Uberall)
- People spend up to 49% more at businesses that reply to reviews. (Womply)
What sites are most important for my business?
Local marketers’ top three review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
- Google is the fastest-growing reviews platform. (BrightLocal)
- Google accounts for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide. (Hosting Tribunal)
- 9% of shoppers use Google to find local businesses. (Blumenthal’s)
- Locations that moved their Google My Business rating from 3.5 to 3.7 experienced conversion growth of 120%. (Uberall)
- 74% of local businesses have at least one Google review. (BrightLocal)
- Only 44% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business page. (BrandMuscle via Womply)
- A one-star increase in your Yelp rating leads to a 5% – 9% increase in revenue. (Harvard Business School)
- A half-star increase on yelp gets restaurants 19% more reservations. (UC Berkeley)
- More than 205 million reviews have been posted on Yelp. (Yelp)
- 26,380 reviews are posted every minute on Yelp. (via Vendasta)
- 97% of Yelp visitors purchased from a business after visiting the platform. (Yelp)
- 2% of consumers use Yelp when looking for restaurant reviews. (But restaurants only make up 18% of the reviews on Yelp). (GatherUp) (Yelp)
- 142 million consumers visit Yelp every month. (Review Trackers)
- Businesses with a free Yelp account (which only 33% of local retailers have claimed) see an average of $8,000 in annual revenue from the site. (Boston Consulting Group via Yelp)
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform, reaching 60.6% of internet users. (Facebook)
- Facebook affects more than 50% of consumers’ purchase decisions. (Digitas)
- Facebook influences buying decisions 7x more than next seven most popular social media sites combined. (The Manifest)
- 80 million small businesses use Facebook. (Oberlo)
- 73 billion people use Facebook each day. (Oberlo)
- 78% of American consumers have discovered products on Facebook. (Oberlo)
- Two thirds of Facebook users visit a page of a local business at least once a week. (Facebook)
- One third of Facebook users look for recommendations and reviews using the platform. (Facebook)
- 80% of customers are more likely to trust a local business if it has positive Facebook reviews. (via Social Media Today)
- 74% of consumers use Facebook to find out more information about a business. (via Podium)
That was a lot of numbers to digest, but they all point to the same conclusion. Online reviews are critical in today’s environment in order for businesses to succeed. By taking deliberate steps to engage with customers, it’s possible to use online review sites to improve your business strategy and your bottom line.
Managing your online reviews can be a lot to think about, but you don’t have to do it alone. Centinal helps businesses get the authentic reviews they need on the platforms where they need them. Let us help you use your best customers to generate new ones.
Other helpful resources for this article included:
- Top 10 Consumer & Business Review Websites from Vendasta
- 20 Online Review Stats to Know in 2019 (April 9, 2019) from Qualtrics
- 120+ Online Review Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 (May 4, 2020) from GatherUp
- 50 Important Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews from Vendasta
- The 40 Online Review Statistics You Need in 2020 (April 21, 2020) from BrightLocal