More and more customers today are turning to online reviews, and not only that, customers are trusting these reviews even more than ever before.
Many businesses know that having positive online reviews is essential if they want to boost their rankings and gain new customers, but a good number of businesses still question exactly how important these reviews are and exactly what their impact is on potential customers.
According to another study by BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, their impact is more powerful than ever. The third wave of this comprehensive study, which was released earlier this year, surveyed over 2,000 entries over the course of 6 weeks in an attempt to better understand how today’s customers read and react to reviews online.
In 2013, 79% of consumers admit to trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, up from 72% reported in 2012.
Today, online reviews are more accessible and web users are more affected by those reviews. More customers are becoming familiar with online review sites, are more capable of finding and navigating through these sites, and as a result, are more comfortable putting faith in the information and opinions they find there. And with the audience of review-readers growing (85% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses, up from 76% last year), both the number of people paying attention to online reviews and the number whose opinions are influenced by them, are growing. With such trust being put into customer reviews, their impact on local businesses is huge, and, according to data like this, will only continue to be.