How Online Reviews Impact Consumer Trust and Landing Page Conversions
Online reviews about local businesses, products and services can help with search engine rankings, increase click-through rates and impact a potential customer’s buying decisions. Reading online reviews has become an integral part of today’s consumer buying journey.
Consumers Read Online Reviews Before They Make a Purchase
Reading reviews online is an important part of a consumer’s buying process. Each year we survey consumers about how they read and use the information they glean from online reviews. In our 2016 Local Consumer Review Study we discovered:
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 54% of people will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews
Reviews Also Impact Google Local Pack Results and Organic Local Search Rankings
Can online reviews and ratings help a business rank higher on the search engines? Two recent studies by Moz and The Local SEO Guide show the ranking factors that influence local search rankings. They found that online reviews can help how a website ranks in the Google Local 3-Pack and in organic local search results.
How Do Online Reviews Impact Trust and Landing Page Conversions?
We know that customers pay attention to online reviews, but do these reviews help build trust? And how would leveraging and promoting a business’ great reputation help improve their online marketing efforts? We recently conducted a survey to see how online reviews impact a consumer’s trust and how promoting a 5-star reputation impacts landing page conversions.
In Q4 2016 we asked 6,283 North American consumers (72% from the USA and 28% from Canada) to participate in a research survey. We divided them into two groups:
- Control Group – A control group (30%) were showed landing pages with no ratings or reviews displayed
- Test Groups – The rest of the participants (70%) were split into test groups and shown different landing pages — some showed reviews and others didn’t
The panelists were asked to imagine they were searching online for a local plumber, florist or realtor. We showed the consumers two landing pages – one page that highlighted an actual customer’s review about the business and another page where the business said they were the “dependable” company.
For this research study, we tracked whether consumers picked the businesses with or without the customer review on the landing pages. Additionally, we asked consumers to give us feedback on a variety of other factors that impacted their decisions and opinions of these “sample” businesses.
We looked at the Impact Reviews Had On Consumer Trust and Landing Page Conversions
Here are the results!
The Impact Reviews Have on Trustworthiness and Landing Page Conversions
How do reviews and highlighting a company’s reputation impact a business’ trustworthiness? To test this we showed consumers two landing pages for each industry. One of the pages showed a picture of a real customer and their actual 5-star review about the business. The second landing page displayed a “Your Dependable…” page where the business promoted their “dependability” – but without any user-generated reviews.
Next we asked consumers how trustworthy they thought these two companies were based on the design and content of the two test landing pages:
How Trustworthy Do You Find This Business?
In the results of this question, 83% of the people thought the business with the user-generated review on the landing page was trustworthy. Additionally, 15% of the people said they did not find the business without reviews to be trustworthy.
This is important because it shows that the pages with real reviews from customers created a more trustworthy feel from the participants. But did it make them more likely to contact the business?
How Likely Are You to Contact This Business?
Next consumers were asked how likely it would be for them to reach out and contact the businesses. Of the businesses with reviews on their landing pages, a whopping 74% of people said they would contact the business (vs. only 62% who would contact the business without reviews.)
These results are especially important for businesses because it shows a direct relationship between online reviews and the perceived trustworthiness of your business. The consumers surveyed equate online reviews with the business being one they can trust.
In a world of mixed messages, a lot of options and overwhelming data, getting online reviews is a great way to differentiate your business from your competitors in the market. Reviews also promote trustworthiness in potential new customers.
If you’re convinced that having an online reputation marketing strategy is important, read our blog post that explains reputation marketing and why it’s so important in this customer-centric world.