3 Charts: How Online Reviews Influence Consumer Behaviors

Last year, BrightLocal released their Local Consumer Review Survey, which detailed that an overwhelming amount of consumers (97%) read online reviews when making local purchasing decisions. Additionally, Small Business Trends reported that positive comments from customers or clients produce an average increase in sales of 18% and that consumers are likely to spend 31% more because of positive reviews.

The impact of online ratings and reviews is self-evident. The following charts seek to show how reviews influence consumer behavior before, during and after looking at them.

How Online Customer Reviews Influence a Consumer’s Decision to Use a Local Business

Chart number 1

As seen above, 68% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to trust a business. In turn, 40% say that negative customer reviews make them not want to use a local business. The influence of these reviews was greater than the proximity of a local business and even price.

What Consumers Pay Attention to When Judging a Local Business on Reviews

Chart number 2

Consumers aren’t only paying attention to the quantity of reviews, they’re looking at the average star ratings, timeliness of the reviews, the details provided and whether or not the business has responded to any reviews. All of these factors contribute to a consumer’s overall opinion of a business.

If a business is serving customers well and providing high-quality products and services, then obtaining positive reviews shouldn’t be all that difficult. When asked to leave a review, 68% of consumers will do so. Additionally, actively responding to these reviews is having an impact both on the individual customer but also the others reading through the reviews.

Primary Action Taken After Reading a Positive Online Review for a Local Business

Chart number 3

The journey doesn’t necessarily start and end with the reviews. In fact, only 27% of consumers visit or contact a business after reading reviews. More common is a visit to the business website, with 37% saying that was the case. Listing sites like Yelp, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, etc., also serve to assist online reviews in moving consumers further along the purchase process.

Any local marketing strategy that doesn’t consider online reviews and reputation management will fall short. Local marketers must identify these tactics in order to drive meaningful results for clients.

2 Responses to “3 Charts: How Online Reviews Influence Consumer Behaviors”

  1. Thanks for the article. I notice that so few businesses respond to reviews. It makes a big different (to me) when a business cares enough to acknowledge both positive and negative reviews.

    An interesting thing to look into would be exactly what those 30% of people (who care about businesses responding to reviews) are looking for. For example, if I see a business responded back in a negative or defensive way, I’m much less likely to buy. If I see a business owner responds back with misspelled words and sounds unprofessional, I’m also less likely to buy.

    Ultimately, I think as the years go on, that the 30% will increase and more people will care if a business gives enough of a hoot about their customers to respond to their comments. What do you think?

  2. Greg Sterling says:

    Research we’ve done says that consumers typically want a response from the business within 24 hours.

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