Over 80% of people look at review sites for recommendations on businesses to visit for products and services. But more interesting questions are: which review site is the most trusted and which is the most read by consumers? The answer is not what you are thinking.
Earlier this year, ReviewInc conducted two surveys of U.S. consumers with over 5,000 responses. The first asked which review site they trusted the most of the 7 options. Surprisingly, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) came in first with 29.4% as the most trusted website. In our surveys in 2015, 2016, and 2019, Google came out on top, but this time it came in as a close second at 27.1%. The other options were Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, YellowPages.com, None, or Other.
Because of these shocking results, we decided to run another survey asking which of the 7 sites were most read. At 35.33%, Google received the significant majority, while Facebook was second at 19.92%. And what happened to the “most trusted site” Better Business Bureau? It came in 4th, behind Yelp.
Since there was a substantial difference between these two surveys, we decided to dig deeper into the surveys to see if there was a bias that could explain the results. Below is a graph that displays the percentage of respondents by age group by review site.
It was fascinating to see that the older age groups showed a clear and growing preference for the BBB as the most trusted review site. The middle age groups trusted Google Maps far more than BBB but Yelp and TripAdvisor came in at 3rd and 4th places. However, the youngest group demonstrated far great trust in Facebook. Below is a chart showing the most read review site by age.
Across all age groups, Google Maps, Facebook, and Yelp are the most read review sites. Therefore, these are clearly the most influential review sites. It seems that the BBB is the most trusted based solely on brand name alone as most readers do not read their reviews (they came in fourth in most read).
Therefore, we can infer that Google Maps is the most influential review site, especially since it came in as a close 2nd as the most trusted. Therefore, businesses must have a presence on Google and try to get more Google Reviews.
Traffic Data Tells Another Story about Review Sites
Comparing the traffic from May 2021 of all the review sites along with the time on site, and bounce rate (from SEMRush) also shows Google’s influence. Google has the most traffic with the lowest bounce rate. On the other hand, BBB at a distant 5th place ranks only higher than YellowPages.com and has the highest bounce rate. Facebook is clearly more significant with the second-highest visits, the second-highest time on site, and the second-lowest bounce rate.
Conclusion and Recommendations
While the Better Business Bureau may enjoy more brand recognition, the data implies that it is far less significant than Google and Facebook. Businesses that have good reviews on BBB should include a badge on their site with a link to the BBB to promote those reviews. Even better, it would be a good idea to promote BBB reviews on Facebook feeds to help highlight them to customers.
It is recommended that businesses ask for reviews on a variety of review sites to gain more credibility and reach the most customers possible. One of the best ways to do this is through reputation management software like ReviewInc. Schedule a demo with one of our Account Managers today to see how software can help your business get more reviews!