Those online posts and reviews of a business really do get read and they play a role in the perception of and trust consumers have in a local business, this according to a study conducted by Bright Local, a firm specializing in SEO management for local businesses.
The data collected from their June 2014 survey revealed a number of interesting trends. Among them, almost 90 percent of all consumers who turn to the internet to research a local business read reviews and two-thirds of these read four or more, an increase over previous years.
Questions surrounding the legitimacy of posted reviews did not factor into the opinions formed about a business. The number of respondents who said that they place as much trust in online reviews as they do in the opinions of friends increased by nine percentage points between 2013 and 2014, rising from 79 percent to 88 percent. This corresponds to a decline in the numbers who say they do not trust online reviews – these fell from 21 percent in 2013 to just 13 percent this year.
Surprisingly, a related study developed by AYTM Market Research found that the percentages of those reading reviews were not reflected in the numbers of those posting them. Almost 75 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they had never posted a business review. Only about 15 percent had posted once or twice, and ten percent had posted three or more times. However, the underlying question this raises as to who is posting reviews had no impact on the trust placed in the reviewers comments.
eMarketer. “Consumers Read More Online Reviews – Thanks to Rumors of Fakes?” August 6, 2014.