By the time they reach the point of purchase, 90% of consumers have been influenced by an online review. As key inflection points that bookend the start and end of today’s modern customer decision journey, online ratings and reviews are critical to unlocking the purchase potential of your future customers.
Today, where consumer choice is infinite and brands no longer control the message, social proof is the currency of success. The quality and quantity of your product reviews have equal power to increase sales by orders of magnitude – or leave your brand collecting dust on the digital shelf.
You could argue we’re reaching peak ratings & reviews – so much so that consumers can rate reviews by helpfulness. Gone are the days where product reviews existed only on product pages. Ratings and reviews are displayed in social feeds (earned and paid), mobile apps, brand.com, and e-comm destinations.
It’s important to note that consumers’ quest for the truth in proof is the same behavior that’s driving ad blocker adoption. Especially as the seeking and sharing of product reviews becomes more social, it’s not enough just to have more content. We need solutions that work smarter and harder.
Especially given the challenges marketers face when it comes to ratings & reviews generation:
Quantity: only 10% of consumers report almost or always posting online ratings & reviews of products.
At a time where you can’t go to a brand website, social feed, or app without seeing a review, very few consumers actually create or share them. Quantity is particularly difficult when it comes to low-involvement, every day purchase decisions, where review volume is positively correlated with increases in sales lift.
Quality: 4+ negative articles about your company or product appearing in Google search results is likely to cause you to lose 70% of potential customers.
While a couple of negative reviews can add credibility and allow consumers the autonomy to compare/contrast reviews to form their own opinion, consumers hesitate to purchase from a business with negative online reviews. When it comes to sales intent, review quality matters most for high-involvement, high risk purchase decisions such as luxury goods and autos.
Relevance & Consistency: 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant.
Ratings & reviews are not a “one-and-done” initiative, especially where one product could be purchased in as many as 5-10+ online destinations and outdated reviews are only slightly more effective than no reviews at all. You need to have an always-on strategy and process for generating and distributing online reviews for each product and retail partner.
Authenticity & Credibility: 15% of nearly all online ratings & reviews are fake.
Online reviews are easily manipulated and seldom verified (with the exception of brands like Amazon, Apple, and Sephora). Troubling, when you consider that 88% of consumers trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations – both of which are more trusted than advertising.
Fortunately, they’re challenges that micro-influencers are uniquely positioned to solve. In our new guide, How to Activate Micro-Influencers to Drive Ratings & Reviews (download below!), learn the strategies to navigate these evolving customer behaviors by leveraging your brand’s own micro-influencers to increase review volume and scale with authenticity and credibility. From trend-setting sneakers to toilet paper, our best practices have been tested and proven by leading consumer brands and the consumers who power them.
Also published on Medium.