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Almost 9 out of 10 Consumers Trust Online Reviews Just as Much as Personal Recommendations

Posted On: August 19, 2014

That’s about as long a headline as we’ve ever written for the Ring Ring Marketing newsletter, but anything shorter seemed like it would be confusing. Also, a statistic like that really deserves to be in big, bold type, because it’s really important.

We often note that online reviews are very important to your business, but as people become more accustomed to checking online reviews for companies, the degree to which they trust those reviews keeps growing.

(I guess a glass-half-full person could say this means people are trusting their fellow people less, but it seems more likely they just trust online reviews more than they used to.)

A BrightLocal survey indicates that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal endorsements. That’s up from 79% in 2013, an impressive rise in just a year.

That’s great news for companies that get great online reviews, of course, but it’s also bad news for… well, you can figure out the rest.

If online reviews mean that much to people, a company that’s averaging a two-star review on Yelp, such as the aforementioned Yext, is in big trouble reputation-wise. (For the record, other review sites have similarly negative overall impressions of Yext.)

The survey included some other interesting tidbits. For example, only 10% of those surveyed said they take no notice of online reviews. (It was 12% last year.)

Participants also were asked how many reviews they need to read before they could felt they could trust a particular business. These results were a bit surprising. A full 85% of respondents said they read up to 10 reviews to feel they could trust a business.

So they trust the reviews they read, but they only feel comfortable once they’ve read a number of reviews. That’s a good reminder that you shouldn’t feel too comfortable if you just have a handful of reviews, even if most are excellent.

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