Over the last four years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 10,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product. Now, with four years of data, a trend is clearly emerging and once again Review Sites are increasingly more critical to the purchase decision at the expense of some many other traditional medium.
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 could have been allowed, ReviewInc wanted a more discerning answer so that it could pinpoint what was most influential to the consumer.
In this year’s result, Review Sites again 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 Review Sites continued to increase by a factor of over 19% from 2014. 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 continued declined. It appears that much of that drop was picked up by the influence of Reviews. Online advertising also appears to have remained stable compared to last year. Most notably, were the differences in gender and age groups.
In previous studies, females outpaced males in the Reviews choice. However, this year, the men have caught up. Females seemed to have made the leap forward last year (2015 study) while males seemed to have made the leap forward this year.
Nearly all age groups displayed a significant increase in preference for Review Sites. Of particular interest was the senior citizen generation showed a significant increase in the choice of Review Sites – proving adoption of the digital medium while abandoning the “tried and true” traditional yellow pages.
Speaking of the traditional yellow pages, we can readily observe the difference between this year’s survey results and those of 2014. Interest and preference in using the traditional yellow pages are down by around 40% from only three years ago. The decline is most apparent, again, in the older generations.
So what does this all mean?
It’s Still All About Reviews on Review Sites
- 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 a fast declining resource for people middle-aged generations (which tend to be the more affluent groups)
- Despite the importance of digital advertising, the influence of Reviews continues to dominate and this isn’t likely to change.
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 [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.