In 2017, freelance writer and regular VICE contributor Oobah Butler created a fake restaurant in his backyard rightfully named The Shed. His mission: to see it rise through the TripAdvisor ranks and become London’s most highly rated eatery.
An appointment-only booking model, vague details, staged photos and plenty of fake, 5-star reviews submitted by friends was all it took to rise through the ranks. And roughly 8 months later, Butler’s goal had been realized.
It may be hard to believe a fake restaurant could rise to the top spot of an online review platform like TripAdvisor, especially with the number of checks and balances put into place for flagging fake reviews and spam. However, it certainly shows the power of influence held by online ratings. 85% of consumers report trusting online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, which is why it’s no wonder that they became such a major factor in shaping business reputation and brand image.
Online reviews, popularized by eCommerce masters like Amazon and Zappos, have become a way for customers to verify value. Unlike brick and mortar stores, making the leap online from interest to purchase of a less tangible product requires a different kind of convincing. This is where online reviews—usually in numerical or star-based format—prove quite useful, especially when accompanied by a few lines that provide user context and detail.
Don’t take our word for it though. Let the numbers do the talking with our roundup of 40+ online review stats that speak to the power of shared experience.
- Build consumer trust
- Improve local search rankings
- Impact bottom line revenue
- Mitigate negative reviews
- Star power
- Drive clicks and conversions
- Adapt for mobile
- Keep online reviews updated and responded to
Build Consumer Trust with Online Reviews
Assuming that your business is solely at play in controlling the consumer perception of your brand will prove you not just wrong, but disappointed. For as much time as you spend shaping brand assets, you should dedicate just as much (if not more) to building social proof through the power of the opinions that matter most: those of your customers.
- 90% of people read 10 reviews or less before they feel like they can trust a business. (BrightLocal)
- 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to 6 reviews, up from 64% in 2014. (RevLocal)
- 74% of people say positive reviews make them trust a business more. (BrightLocal)
- Even receiving negative reviews can be a boon as it allows for more authentic, subjective decision-making. 68% of customers trust online reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews, and 30% of customers assume the reviews are fake when there are no negative reviews. (Vendasta)
Improve Local Search Rankings
Online reviews don’t just establish validity with consumers on behalf of your brand, they build trust with the search engines most in control of fueling your online presence. And these online review stats speak to exactly that.
- 92% of adults use search engines to find information on the web. (Search Engine Watch)
- 64% see online search as the most trusted source of information. (Reputation X)
- 75% of searchers never go past the first page. (Search Engine People)
- 92% of customers spend time on site reading online reviews when researching a business. (Search Engine People)
- Online reviews are believed to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. (Moz)
Impact Bottom Line Revenue
While online reviews may seem like fluff in comparison to your other conversion-driving initiatives, the long-term impact will be equally felt in your bottom line. As these online review stats show, ratings play a key role in final purchasing decisions.
- Online reviews are said to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions. (Moz)
- 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (OMG)
- 89% of people make a purchase within a week of visiting review sites and 29% will do so within a day. (RevLocal)
- People are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. (BrightLocal)
Mitigate Negative Reviews
At surface level, negative reviews may appear to be just that: negative. However, with the right mindset, they can prove to be opportunities for turning a situation around and further shaping the values of your company. Let’s take a look at online review stats that can help you make sense of negative reviews:
- 86% of potential customers will not purchase products or services from a business with negative reviews. (BrightLocal)
- A single negative review could cost a business around 30 customers and if the bad review turns up in Google searches, businesses can lose up to 70% of their future customers. (Moz)
- A negative review can drive away 22% of customers, whereas about three negative reviews can drive away 59% of the customers. (Moz)
- For every star that a business gets, chances are that a business’ revenue will increase by anywhere between 5%-9%. (BrightLocal)
The star rating system has become a quick, visual indicator to consumers of the trust they should have in a brand’s product and/or services. These online review stats reflect the power of the system:
- 8% of people say they won’t use a business without a 5-star rating. (RevLocal)
- 42% of people won’t purchase from a business with less than 3-stars. (RevLocal)
- 9% will use a business with as low as a 2-star rating. (RevLocal)
- Only 5% of consumers will use a business with a 1-star rating. (RevLocal)
- 42% of consumers won’t use a business with less than a 3-star rating. (RevLocal)
- Just a 1-star increase in a Yelp review means a 5-9% increase in revenue. (Harvard Business School)
- A 1-star increase in review rating allows hotels to increase prices by up to 11% without having to lose customers. (Cornell)
Drive Clicks and Conversions
Think of your online reviews as high funnel jumping points for driving activity towards your business’ website and other marketing assets.
- Even if your business listing isn’t the top result on Google, the fact that it is available on Google can also increase its click-through rates. 56% of searchers will choose to click on a business’s listing just because it has a good star rating or positive reviews. (RevLocal)
- Search engines drive 300x more traffic to websites than social media. (Search Engine People)
- One review can boost conversions by 10%. (RevLocal)
- 100 reviews can boost conversion rates by 37%. (RevLocal)
- At 200 reviews, this rate could rise to 44%. (RevLocal)
Adapt for Mobile
Ignoring consideration for the prevalence of mobile in the online activity of your consumers is to ignore a whole subset of your consumers entirely. It’s an area of continued growth that your business should be mindful of in relation to not just reviews, but all of your marketing initiatives.
- 73% have read online reviews on a desktop. (OMG)
- 38% have read online reviews on mobile internet vs 24% on a mobile app. (OMG)
- 29% have read reviews on a tablet. (OMG)
- 61% are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-optimized site. (OMG)
- Consumers who read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to buy than those who read reviews on desktops. (Vendasta)
Keep Online Reviews Updated and Responded to
People’s perceptions of your business aren’t just shaped by online reviews alone, but how you, as a business, interact with those reviews. Engaging in conversations and responding to reviews left behind shows a level of care for your customers that come across as authentic and meaningful.
- 28% said that reviews had to be written the last month to be considered relevant. (RevLocal)
- People are willing to give them: 58% of consumers said that within the past five years, they had began leaving more and more online reviews based upon customer service. (RevLocal)
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked. (BrightLocal)
- 26% of consumers say it’s important that a local business responds to its reviews. (OMG)
- When businesses respond to unhappy customers and actually resolve the problem, the customer is 70% more likely to use the business again. (Help Scout)
40+ Online Review Stats That’ll Have You Seeing Stars
When it comes to adding benefits to your business through the incorporation of online reviews into marketing materials, SEO efforts and beyond, the possibilities for positive return are endless. Open the avenue for connecting with your customers to build trust and continue adapting to the wants and needs most important to them.
Are there online review stats that stand out to you from the list above? Tweet your thoughts to us at @RatingWidget and let’s keep the conversation going!