Over the last three years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 7,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product. With three years of data, a trend is clearly emerging and Review Sites are increasingly more critical to the purchase decision where online advertising is concerned.
The study asked consumers to provide only one answer to the following simple question:
When choosing a service or professional (such as a doctor, mechanic, plumber, attorney, etc.) what is most important?
Each respondent was provided with a multiple choice list from which they could only choose one answer. While multiple answers apply, ReviewInc wanted a more discerning answer so that it could pin-point what was most influential to the consumer.
In this year’s result, Reviews topped the list for the most influential component followed by a Company’s website (as in previous years). What was more interesting was the year over year trend. The importance of Reviews increased by a factor of over 11% from the previous year. The Company website‘s influence remained steady and within the margin of error which could account for the very slight decline. More importantly, the influence of the traditional yellow pages declined by more than 30%. It appears that much of that drop was picked up by the influence of Reviews. Online advertising also appears to have increased slightly in relevance but this too was within the margin of error.
There has been frequent debate over the use of review sites (along with general adoption of technology) by baby boomers and senior citizens. While there wasn’t enough data from the 2014 study to compare 65+ age group, we could compare the combined 55-64 and the 65+ together (we do have enough in the 65+ to compare for next year’s study). Both Generation-X and Baby Boomers showed increased influence of Review Sites when compared to the previous year. The slight decline in Generation Z and Millennials is attributed to small increases in online advertising along with TV/Radio.
So what does this all mean?
It’s All About the Reviews
- The importance and influence of Online Reviews is growing, and it’s critical to your business (much more than your website)
- If you’re investing in your business website but are ignoring your online business reputation, you are likely missing out on a huge opportunity
- The traditional paper-based Yellow Pages is still among the top resources for people aged 65+ but have little influence over the younger population
- Despite the importance of Yellow Pages in older populations, there is an increased influence of Reviews on the older populations.
Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Give us a call at 877-973-8439 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Read the results of the 2014 study here: