Online review statistics reveal some interesting insights into the power of social proof. In a world where consumers are growing increasingly less trusting of “traditional” advertising, reviews, testimonials, and genuine customer feedback has become extremely useful.
Around 95% of customers say they typically read a review before buying a product. The chances are you’ve even checked out a few star ratings and testimonials yourself before buying something particularly valuable.
Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the most helpful and interesting online review statistics you should keep in mind if you’re planning on using social proof in your marketing.
General Online Review Statistics
Online reviews and testimonials have become a common part of the buying journey for the majority of consumers.
When shopping online, in particular, today’s customers want to ensure they have as much information as possible about the items they’re buying, so they can make confident decisions about how to spend their cash. In fact, around 9 out of 10 consumers worldwide will seek out reviews when making their purchases.
Only 2% of customers say they never read reviews online
The majority of consumers consistently use online reviews to help them make the right purchasing decisions. Around 98% of customers say they read reviews at least “occasionally”. A further 77% say they read them quite often, and only 2% say they never read online reviews.
82% of customers research products online before making a purchase in-store
Customers don’t just use reviews and testimonials to help them make decisions about how to purchase online products. Around 82% of consumers also say they read online reviews and testimonials from other customers before going in-store for a transaction too.
Review signals make up around 17% of Google’s local page ranking factors
Online reviews can significantly improve a company’s chances of ranking in the search engine result pages. This is particularly true for local businesses. A local search ranking factors survey found review signals make up around 17% of Google’s local ranking factors.
28% of customers read reviews more than they did before the pandemic
The pandemic in 2020 left a lasting impression on shoppers, and altered the way many of them make purchasing decisions. According to one report, around 28% of customers check business reviews more frequently today than they did prior to the pandemic.
Around half of all internet users post reviews on a monthly basis
Customers in most landscapes are happy to create their own reviews to help guide other shoppers. While younger customers are the most likely to leave their own reviews, around half of all the consumers worldwide will post around one review per month. Customers between the ages of 25 and 34 appear to be the most likely to post reviews according to a GWI survey.
The Effects of Online Reviews on Trust and Sales
For businesses, online reviews are a critical way to generate trust and credibility. Around 1 in 5 customers between the ages of 18 and 24 say they trust brands less today than they did a year ago, meaning companies need to work harder to convince clients to shop with them.
Here’s how online reviews influence trust or conversions.
49% of customers say positive reviews are one of their top purchasing influencers
Almost half of all customers count online reviews among their top three purchase influences. Additionally, 55% of consumers say they would prefer to buy a product which has a large number of reviews and an average rating, compared to a product with a smaller number of reviews and an excellent rating.
Another 62% of consumers say they will actively stop buying from a company if they censor their reviews, demonstrating how important it is for companies to be transparent.
Consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated by a review than a discount
Reviews can have a bigger impact on purchasing decisions than virtually any other factor. One report found customers are 50% more likely to be motivated by online reviews than by discount offers or coupons. In fact, online reviews are considered the most important factor in making a purchasing decision by 32% of consumers.
53% of brands say online reviews positively impact sales
Over half of all companies and retailers showcasing reviews on their website say they have a positive impact on their sales numbers. In fact, a single positive review can be enough to increase conversion rates by around 10%, while 100 reviews can boost conversions by around 37%.
86% of customers say reading reviews on Tripadvisor improves their buying confidence
Customers consider reviews to be particularly important when they’re making expensive purchases, like booking a trip. Around 86% of customers say reading reviews on Tripadvisor makes them feel more confident when booking travel. Additionally, 52% of customers say they wouldn’t book to stay with a hotel if it had no reviews.
Notably, 78% of consumers also say they focus on the most recent reviews posted on a website or review site when they’re shopping online.
93% of customers make decisions based on an online review
For more than 9 out of 10 customers, online reviews have become essential to their decision making in the online world. Around 93% of customers say they’ve made purchasing decisions based on an online review. What’s more, most customers say they won’t engage with product or business if they see too many negative reviews, or a star rating of less than 3.3
62% of customers are more likely to make a purchase if a review is accompanied by videos or photos
As consumers become more wary of the potential of fake reviews to influence their purchasing journeys, many have started relying on videos and pictures to determine if a testimonial is authentic. Around 62% of consumers say in order to see the real quality of a product, and ensure the authenticity of a review, they like to see photos and videos taken by a customer.
58% of consumers would pay more to support a highly reviewed customer
Podium’s study on the state of online reviews also found more than half of respondents (58% said they would travel further to engage with companies who had positive reviews, or pay more for services and products from that company. Around 41% of the consumers in the study also said they consider reviews to be one of the most important tools in their product research process.
Where Customers Read Online Reviews
Where customers see reviews can determine just how credible they consider the feedback to be. Crucially, customers don’t just pay attention to the reviews they see on product pages and business websites. Around 59% of shoppers use Google to check reviews too.
80% of customers check reviews on their mobile device
As consumers spend more time shopping and researching products on their smartphones, they’re also using their mobile devices to seek out testimonials and reviews. According to one study, around 80% of shoppers use a mobile phone inside of a physical store to check product reviews. These customers may also use their devices to compare prices and find alternative retailers.
Half of online shoppers trust third-party review sites more than retail site reviews
Where reviews are posted makes a difference to their credibility, according to online shoppers. Around half of online consumers say they trust third-party review sites more than the reviews on typical retailer sites. Additionally, around 16.6% of shoppers say they fully trust third-party review sites, while a further 41.7% trust these sites somewhat.
88% of online reviews come from just 4 platforms
Collectively, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Yelp, and Google make up the four core platforms for online reviews. Together, these sites account for 88% of the reviews read online. Google is the clear winner for customers in search of reviews, housing about 73% of all testimonials.
63.6% of customers say they’re likely to check Google for reviews before they even consider visiting a business location.
81% of customers use Google to evaluate local businesses
Google isn’t just home to the widest selection of reviews, it’s also the environment which attracts the most readers overall. Around 81% of customers in 2021 said they read reviews on Google. At the same time, around half of customers also say they look for reviews and testimonials on Yelp before making a decision (53%).
Alternatively, fewer consumers trust Facebook reviews today. In 2020, around 54% of customers used Facebook to read reviews. However, in 2021, this number dropped to 48%.
Product pages with reviews achieve 3.5 times higher conversions
Although it’s crucial to generate reviews in multiple different locations across the web, companies should still be investing in placing reviews on their product pages. The latest statistics show product pages with reviews drive up to 3.5 times higher conversions. What’s more, these product pages can also achieve up to 4.5 times more revenue for each visitor.
Yelp generates over 26,000 new reviews per minute
Yelp has quickly become a go-to place for reviews, whether customers are reading testimonials, or leaving their own feedback. The channel earns about 26,830 new reviews per minute. By the end of 2020, the site said that it had more than 220 million reviews.
Asking for and Managing Reviews
How companies request and manage reviews is crucial if they want to preserve their reputation. It’s important for business leaders to actively seek out feedback from consumers so they can add these insights to their website. Fortunately, around 87% of consumers say they have already written a review for a company, or are willing to do so.
The most common way to ask for reviews is via email
According to surveys, the most common way for a local business to request a review is to send an email to their customer. Emails were the top way for any business to ask for a review, followed by requests printed on receipts, in-person requests, and SMS messages. Some companies also ask for reviews via social media.
55% of customers leave reviews to help other customers
Since many consumers now use reviews to make their own purchasing decisions, it makes sense they would also want to leave feedback to help other consumers. Around 55% of customers in one review said they leave reviews to be helpful to other customers. A further 42% said they leave reviews to get a company’s attention. Interestingly, 34% of consumers say they leave reviews to help a business.
53.3% of customers expect companies to respond to a negative review fast
When customers leave negative reviews, they expect companies to act quickly to solve the problem. According to one report, over half of all consumers expect to see a response to a negative review within a week or less. However, around 63.3% of consumers say they’ve never heard back from a business after leading a negative review.
48% of customers say a company responding to a review makes them more likely to purchase a product
Customers don’t just read reviews to help them make a purchase, they also look for evidence companies are paying attention to the feedback given by other customers. Around 48% of consumers say brands responding to a review can improve their chances of making a purchase.
80% of customers expect a response to a review within 2 weeks
Not only do customers expect companies to respond to the reviews they leave, but they also expect to see responses relatively quickly. Around 80% of customers say they believe customers should respond to a review within 2 weeks. Additionally, studies show that a personalized response to a review can also convince around 51% of customers who have had a negative experience with a brand to come back to the company.
64% of customers would choose a company who responds to reviews over one that has nothing but good reviews
Ultimately, customers are looking for responsivity more than anything else when it comes to reviews. Around 64% of consumers say they would prefer to purchase something from a company that is responsive to reviews than one that has nothing but excellent feedback.
Statistics on the Effects of Negative Reviews
Reviews are an incredible tool for companies looking to leverage the benefits of social proof for their business. However, as consumers become more comfortable with the idea of leaving feedback for companies, they’re also frequently leaving “negative” reviews online. These negative testimonials can have a significant impact on sales and conversions, particularly if they’re not handled correctly.
84% customers want to see a mixture of positive and negative reviews
While positive reviews are a great way to generate trust, customers believe they should see a mixture of both positive and negative reviews on each website to ensure it’s credible. Reviews are also more valuable than traditional advertisements, with around 84% of consumers saying they have stopped trusting old-fashioned ads entirely.
94% of online customers have avoided a business due to a negative review
It’s important for businesses today to ensure they’re not censoring negative reviews just to save their reputation. However, paying attention to negative reviews and solving issues is crucial too. Around 94% of consumers say an online review has convinced them to avoid purchasing from a business entirely.
Only 3% of customers would consider buying from a brand with a low rating
Less than 3% of customers say they would consider buying products or services from a business with an average review rating lower than 2 stars. What’s more, around 79% of customers say they trust reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations from the people they know. Around 28% of consumers say they trust reviews as much as professional articles by subject matter experts.
86% of customers would think twice about buying from a company with poor reviews
As consumers now have more options than ever before when it comes to choosing products and services online, they’re less likely to settle for anything less than a stellar reputation from their chosen company. Invesp found that 86% of customers will think twice about buying anything from a brand with poor reviews. Additionally, 92% of customers say they will only consider buying products from a company with a four star rating or above.
One bad review can cost companies up to 30 customers
It’s difficult to quantify the impact of a negative review on a company in today’s digital world. However, a report by Online Reputation Management suggested a single bad review can be enough to lose a company around 30 customers. At the same time, companies would need up to 12 positive reviews just to make up for the reputation damage of one bad review.
75% of businesses don’t respond to negative reviews
Many companies dealing with negative reviews prefer to try and sweep the bad press “under the rug”. However, failing to respond to a negative review can make the situation a lot worse. Around 75% of companies don’t respond to negative reviews. However, studies show that companies who do respond to at least 25% of their reviews make up to 35% more revenue.
Fake Customer Review Statistics
In the past, some companies have made the mistake of creating their own “fake reviews” in order to improve their reputation. However, consumers and search engines alike are beginning to catch onto this process. Most consumers say they can now spot a fake review, and sites like Google are even beginning to remove testimonials which don’t appear to be credible.
67% of consumers think fake reviews are a serious problem
Today’s consumers trust star rating insights and testimonials more than ever before. They read reviews before making virtually any purchase. As such, they’re becoming increasingly concerned about fake reviews. Around 67% of consumers say they believe fake reviews are a serious problem.
Unfortunately, virtually every review site has suffered with fake reviews. Google is at the top of the list, with around 10.7% of its reviews deemed to be fake.
83% of consumers say reviews need to be relevant and recent to be trustworthy
According to a study into online review statistics from Podium, most consumers are more likely to find reviews that are relevant and recent to be credible. Around 83% of customers say they think a review should be relatively fresh or recent. Additionally, 68% of customers in the study said they wouldn’t trust a high review rating unless numerous consumers have left a review.
The Federal Commission Cited Over 700 Businesses for fake Endorsements in 2021
To improve customer experience in the retail, services, and ecommerce space, groups like the Federal Trade Commission are starting to act. The FTC cited more than 700 businesses in 2021 for “fake” or deceptive endorsements, which may have included fake statements on review platforms, as well as Amazon or google reviews that business owners have paid people to write.
Google Removed over 55 million reviews in 2020
For business owners, trying to influence buying decisions with fake consumer reviews may not be a worthwhile strategy. Search engines like Google are beginning to evaluate online customer reviews with a focus on weeding out testimonials designed for SEO or reputation management. Google blocked and removed over 55 million reviews that violated its policies in 2020, across channels like Google My Business.
The Facts About Online Reviews
These days, the online shopping environment is heavily influenced by reviews. Potential customers use both negative online reviews and positive testimonials to guide their purchasing decisions. This is particularly true among younger generations like millennials and Gen Z.
Whether they’re shopping for products or healthcare, consumers look carefully at user-generated content in the form of standard testimonials, ratings, and videos, and pictures. If a new business doesn’t have a great reputation, then they could lose a significant amount of customers.
Even a one-star increase to a four-star rating could be enough to significantly improve a company’s appeal to a range of age groups. Ultimately, the statistics prove that reviews matter more than most companies realize. It’s worth ensuring your small business has a strategy for successfully generating and using reviews to its advantage.