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    Are Online Reviews Valuable?

    BrightLocal released its annual survey on the importance of reviews for customers. They sent out a questionnaire to their local customer panel and received 2,104 complete surveys. Ninety percent of the surveys were from the USA and ten percent were from Canada. The purpose of the study was to determine how reviews affect customers and how they will interact with a business due to the reviews. There were 13 questions to the survey.

    Let's look at the results:

    * 88% of customers would determine the quality of a business by the reviews on the company

    * 39% of customers read the reviews on a regular basis

    * 12% of customers did not read the reviews at all


    Almost 9 out of 10 customers will determine the quality of a business by the reviews they read online and 39% of customers read the reviews on a regular basis. Of the 88% that read reviews to determine the quality of a business, 49% occasionally read reviews. Over the past four years, they have had a decline in the number of people who do not read reviews from 29% in 2011 to 12% in 2014.


    According to the study, 85% of customers had to read up to 10 reviews before they felt like the business was trustworthy. The study also found that 67% percent only needed 6 review to feel like the business was trustworthy. Of note 7% stated they had to read 20 or more reviews to consider a business trustworthy. So, the number is definitely important, but do not forget the quality. It is important that the reviews are positive and recent.

    Influence of Positive Reviews

    According to the study, 72% of customers stated that if the reviews are positive they are more likely to trust the business. Only 10% of customers answered that they do not even read reviews. This question had slight variation to the original question of 12%; but regardless, it is a very small number.

    Online Review vs. Personal Recommendation

    According to the study, 87% of customers reported that they trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation. This is significantly impressive since the influence of friends and acquaintances can be very strong. Only 13% stated they do not trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

    Of note, of those 87% who stated they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, about 50% stated that there had to be multiple reviews for them to trust that the business was trustworthy, while the other 50% determined if the business was trustworthy by their value of the reviews as sincere and authentic. So, not only does it matter to people by how many reviews there are, but also if the reviews are authentic and high quality.

    This research is significant in helping us understand what our consumers think about online reviews. It is important not only to work on the number of reviews you have, but it is important to have quality reviews. The issue of fake reviews has become a huge issue as of late, so this is something to look out for in analysis.