Study Shows Material Impact of Reviews on CTRs and Purchase Intent
May 26, 2017 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
With Google using ratings and reviews in the mix of local ranking signals, they’re more important and impactful than ever. This is generally understood.
However, local SEO firm BrightLocal sought to more precisely document that impact with two related studies, on the impact of reviews on consumer Local Pack CTRs and on consumer trust and landing page conversions. The data are from late 2016.
The chart below reflects how positive reviews affect Local Pack CTRs. It shows that the higher the star rating for the business, the more clicks received. Interestingly “no star” listings got more clicks than two-star businesses. I suppose in some circumstances it’s better to have no reviews than only mediocre ones.
As you also might expect, landing pages with positive reviews out-performed those without and created a greater sense of trust and purchase-intent among consumers. BrightLocal tested two different pages (below): one with reviews (and an image) and the other without.
As an aside, I wish there had either been a third page with only stars and no image or that the image had been removed because I think it complicates conclusions about the impact of reviews as an independent variable — although there would probably have been a lift regardless.
Putting that aside, the landing pages with reviews saw a 10 to 12 point gain in consumer perceptions of trustworthiness and intent to contact.
One might be inclined to say to all of this: “of course.” The findings make logical sense and there’s plenty of pre-existing data arguing the vast majority of consumers consult reviews in making purchase decisions or selecting a local service providers. Yet it’s valuable to quantify the phenomenon.
There’s a more nuanced question to be answered: do more positive reviews drive clicks for businesses that aren’t as highly ranked? In other words: is a position 3 business with more/better reviews going to see more clicks than a position 1 business with fewer or weaker reviews?
Which is more a more powerful driver of consumer attitudes and behavior: position or reviews? Of course we may never know because reviews now impact position.