InScope: The power of reviews in the purchase journey

Briony Lewis is a Data Analyst for OMD Create Melbourne, helping to unlock data leading to robust insights and more effective campaigns.

­­Last week I wanted to order Indian takeaway. Having recently moved to a new house I wasn’t familiar with the good local Indian restaurants, so I turned to UberEats for suggestions. After spending 30 minutes fretting over the countless options, I finally chose a restaurant with a very tempting rice and curry deal. The only problem was that the restaurant was rated 3.1 stars.

Alongside 46% of Australians [1] I rely heavily on digital reviews to influence my purchase decisions. If I see a low rating or bad review I often second guess my purchase. Consumers value digital reviews from strangers, yet according to The New York Times these reviewers only represent 1.5% of the population [2]. So, if the reviewers of the world are having a lot of the say, how can brands circumvent bias and create a positive dialogue through consumer reviews? Below are five review strategies to help improve your brands digital presence. As quoted in Forbes, ‘if you are not investing efforts into online reputation management, then you are missing out on having control of the first impression your business has [3].

Always make sure your brand information is up to date

This may seem simple, however when a brand doesn’t list the correct location, opening hours or contact information this creates an opportunity for customers to complain about misinformation, even to the wrong brand. Updating your business information through Google can also help increase your search ranking and Google Maps presence.

Geofence your social channels

This year the ABC reported that overseas hackers were being paid to post fake reviews online about competitors [4]. To avoid spammers writing fake reviews on your channels, set your social page visibility to the relevant country. Alternatively, if your brand speaks to international customers you can create localised pages for each country or exclude those countries that are not within your target market.

Respond to and engage with negative reviewers

According to Adweek a brands Net Promoter Score, meaning the willingness of customer to recommend your brand, drops by 43% [5] when they don’t receive a reply to social media comments. The simple act of replying increases customer advocacy by 20%. Even if you don’t have an immediate solution, addressing the complaint upfront is better than ignoring it. This also demonstrates that your brand is engaged with its customers.

Encourage existing customers to review your brand

Statistics show that people require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate[6]. Additionally, 40% of consumers only care about reviews submitted within the last two weeks. Always encourage your customers to review whether that’s through digital prompts or a value exchange. The higher quality and quantity of your reviews, the more likely you’ll also improve your brands visibility online.

Track and share user generated content, so that content is coming from your audience

79% of internet users prefer to see content that is user-generated content[7]. In order to increase positive sentiment share content that comes directly from your customers. Track mentions through social listening tools to allow you to have a consistent bank of positive comments or content. This can be re-shared as anonymous testimonials or through social channels (pending the customer agrees).

Reviews will always exist, polarising or not. It’s important that people have their say, but always be prepared for bias. Once your brand is encouraging and engaging in honest conversation they will stay relevant and authentic to potential new customers. Finally, if you’re wondering, yes I bought the 3.1 star rated rice and curry. It was delicious and I will seek to question the avid reviewers of the world in the future.

[1] Important Influences on Purchase Decisions According to Internet Users in Australia, June 2018

[2] Why You Can’t Really Trust Negative Online Reviews, The New York Times 2018

[3] Online Reviews And Their Impact On The Bottom Line, Forbes, Jan 2019

[4] Fake online reviews a ‘big issue’ as businesses feel brunt of false feedback, ABC 2019

[5] 4 Reasons to Answer Every Complaint on Social Media, Adweek, April 2017

[6] Local Consumer Review Survey, Bright Local, December 2019

[7] What Type of Content Influences the Purchasing Decisions of Internet Users in Australia, the UK and the US?, Feb 2019

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