What’s the Most Effective Source of Advertising? (Hint: It’s not your website)

In a ReviewInc survey conducted in late November of 2014, with 2,042 respondents comprised of 63% males and 37% females, it was shown that 36.4% most preferred to consult reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc. before making a business service purchase decision.  In the same survey conducted in 2013, 34.9% indicated that reviews were most important.

To conduct the survey, respondents were asked:

When choosing a service or professional (such as a doctor, mechanic, plumber, attorney, etc.) what is most important?

Survey respondents could only make ONE selection to indicate what was most important. With the choices placed in random order, these were the results:

Key Age Demographic Differences

55% of the 25-34 age group reported that Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc. were the most valued resource to refer to when making purchase decisions. This compared to 41.90% of the 18-24 year-old set that chose Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.

This shows just how important online reviews are with the younger crowd. With technology ever-prevalent, young people have mostly been using devices such as smartphones and tablets to get most of their information. This is why it is crucial to pay attention to your online reputation.

Age groups that chose Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.In this survey, senior citizens (ages 65+) still preferred the Traditional Yellow Pages. 25.80% of those ages 65+ chose Traditional Yellow Pages.

This goes to show that even though the use of online reviews is gradually rising, the tried-and-true Yellow Pages Book still remain to be a constant among the older generations. So varying your marketing mix with your marketing efforts is also very important.

Age groups that chose Traditional Yellow Pages Groups

Population Density Differences

While we expected higher density populations to prefer Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc. more than less dense populations, we were surprised at the preference levels of lower density populations.  Of the urban population, 41.10% preferred Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.  Not too far behind was that 30.20% of the rural population, which showed a preference to Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp. etc.

Cities are where many may not only work, but dwell. Often, people commute from suburban and even rural areas to work in the nearest city. So it makes sense that these individuals are consulting online reviews, likely from their work computers and mobile phones, when making purchasing decisions. But even though there are more people in the inner-cities, it is equally important to pay attention to your client-base in rural and suburban areas.

Population Density groups that chose Reviews on Google+, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.

Key Income Bracket Differences

The study revealed that higher earners had a tendency to consult online reviews when making a purchase decision. Of those earning $100K or more annually, 66.70% indicated that online reviews were most influential. This further underscores that reaching the segment with the most discretionary money requires excellent online reviews.

Key Conclusions

  • If you’re investing in your business website but are ignoring your online reputation, you are likely missing out on a huge opportunity
  • Online reviews still overall the most valued resource in purchase decisions, even above a company’s website
  • Online reviews prevalent for high earners (and even more so in urban settings)
  • Yellow Pages still among the top resources for people aged 65+ but have little influence over the younger population

Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Give us a call at 1-877-9REVIEWS or email us at support@reviewinc.com today!