A business’s online reputation is more important than ever, with nine out of 10 people putting the same amount of trust in reviews on the internet as much as personal recommendations, according to a new report by BrightLocal.
Up from 79 percent in 2013, this number shows just how seriously potential customers take review sites like Yelp, and how business owners should make a priority out of keeping a positive reputation under control.
Most people turn to online reviews to determine the quality of a business, with about 40 percent doing so on a regular basis. About 15 percent are searching for reviews every day, which is more than double the amount of people from 2013.
But how many reviews are consumers reading before they determine whether a business is worth their money? For most (85 percent), up to 10 reviews suffice, and the study says they’re looking for quality as well as quantity; authenticity is a major factor that contributes to the customer’s perceived trust of the company.
Those who take a bit longer to decide come in at around 7 percent, reading up to 20 reviews. This number may seem small, but it has grown from 2 percent in 2013. Consumers have heard the news stories and research claiming some reviews are fake; could this awareness increase signify a growing mistrust in online reviews?
- ✮✮✮✮ 92 percent
- ✮✮✮ 72 percent
- ✮✮ 27 percent
- ✮ 13 percent
The number of stars a business has was found to matter as much as the reviews themselves. The list above shows the percentage of customers who are willing to consider businesses based on their star rating. It is clear that having a rating of three or more stars is the ideal place to be.
In its analysis of the responses received from more than 2,100 consumers in the U.S. and Canada, the source also found that the types of businesses being searched for have expanded as well. Restaurants/cafes take the number one spot, with doctors/dentists, general shops and clothing shops behind.
Trust is the new online currency, and it’s more important than ever for marketers to shift their priorities to getting fresh, positive reviews from their customers.
BrightLocal recommends having at least 10 recent reviews to satisfy the majority of potential customers, and emphasizes that they should be positive as well, as positivity helps build trust in a company.
“By the time they get to the point of reading reviews, consumers have already established their ‘need’ and which businesses can meet it; now they’re looking for positive signals to help them determine which business is the best,” the report said.