Best Advertising Channel 2018

In the last five years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 15,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product. Now, with five years of data, the answer is clear: Review Sites are the most critical to the purchase decision.

The study asked consumers to provide only one answer to the following simple question:
When choosing a service or professional (such as a doctor, mechanic, plumber, attorney, etc.) what is most important?

Each respondent was provided with a multiple choice list from which they could only choose one answer. While multiple answers could have been allowed, ReviewInc wanted a more discerning answer so that it could pinpoint what was most influential to the consumer.  This method has been applied to all the surveys form 2013 through 2018.

The Five Year Trend

In this year’s result, Review Sites again topped the list for the most influential component. This is followed by a company’s website (as in previous years). What was more interesting was the year over year trend. The importance of review sites continued to increase by a factor of over 19% from 2014. The company website‘s influence remained steady within the margin of error which could account for the very slight decline. The influence of the traditional yellow pages continued declined, albeit slower than anticipated. Online advertising also appears to have remained stable compared to last year.  The “Other” category gained the most presumably from the use of personal interactions on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Females Versus Males

In the last 3 years, females outpaced males in choosing review sites as their most influential source. This is beneficial for businesses engaged in reputation management as global spending by women is estimated to be a whopping $18 Trillion in 20181.  Considering that females tend to spend more than males, businesses should pay closer attention to their reviews. More specifically, Baby Boomer women are undermarketed2 but spend the most time choosing to look at review sites, an undeveloped “gold mine” for businesses maintaining their reputation online.

The Generation Gap

Some age groups displayed a significant increase in preference for Review Sites while other age groups decreased. Of particular interest was the more affluent generations (ages 45 and up) showed a significant increase in the choice of Review Sites.  

The younger age groups exhibit a decline due to a variety of factors that created a different economic environment for a generation fairly recent to adulthood. While the younger portion of the millennial generation is still paying for education, the older part of the generation is still in debt; while spending increases with things like homes and starting family, the baby boom of 1987 placed the crux of Millennials in or just leaving university during the Great Recession (between 2008-2009).

What’s more is the amount and use of income has changed. According to Morgan Stanley3, from 2005 to 2012, the average amount of student debt has near doubled from over $13,000 to over $24,000, leaving the majority of a generation in debt. Previous generations had more disposable income, spending far more on dining and entertainment. Millennials and some of Generation X is still fighting their way through debt; according to Mother Jones6, Millennials spent only 81% of their income, a 10% decrease from the Reagan era.

As the younger generations are in fact more cautious about their spending, and may  turn to social media and friends more than the review sites themselves. Long gone is the need for linear marketing techniques. What newer generations want is a conversation, and review sites built by Generation X and Millennials alike have to find a way to meet this new need for engagement. This is especially the case as the Millennial generation reaches their peak consumption years.  This underscores the importance of Responding to Reviews on popular sites such as Google Maps and Facebook.

The Older Generations

While Millennials and Gen-Xers are in their peak consumption years, According to AARP’s Venture Capital Review4, Baby Boomers (ages 53 and over) by far spend the most across all product categories, and their spending will only increase over the next 20 years due to retirement, health care, and their high discretionary income.

This is reflected in the age groups that choose reviews on review sites like Google Facebook, and Yelp. In great contrast to 2017, 2018 is illustrating that those over the age of 45 are more likely to use review sites than those under the age of 44. As 70 % of the disposable income5 is controlled by Baby Boomers and the older generations are choosing to spend their time on review sites, reputation management becomes an even more integral part of maintaining businesses both on and offline.

Decline of Yellow Pages

Speaking of the traditional yellow pages, we can readily observe the difference between this year’s survey results and those of 2014. Interest and preference in using the traditional yellow pages are down by around 40% from only three years ago. The decline is most apparent, again, in the older generations.   Our only surprise here is that it is taking longer for the traditional paper-based Yellow Pages to decline in usage.

What’s the Takeaway?

  • The importance and influence of Online Reviews is critical to your business (much more than your website)
  • If you’re neglecting the investment in your online reputation, you could be missing out on big revenue growth opportunities.
  • Make sure your reputation management solution integrates and leverages social media.
  • Make sure to respond to reviews and create a “conversation” especially if you serve those under the age of 35.

Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Give us a call at 877-973-8439 or email us at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

References

  1. Source: Forbes “Want A Piece Of The 18 Trillion Dollar Female Economy? Start With Gender Bias”
  2. Source: American Marketing Association “Baby Boomer Women Remain Invisible to Marketers”
  3. Source: Morgan Stanley “Generations Change How Spending is Trending”
  4. Source: AARP Venture Capital Review Issue 29
  5. Source: Nielson: Introducing Boomers, Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation
  6. Source: Mother Jones “What Do Millennials Spend All Their Money On?”

 

SURVEY: Why DON’T People Write Reviews?

In a survey comprised of 1,160 respondents, 59.6% male and 40.4% female, it was found that what inhibited people from posting an online review was:

When sorted by age groups, the findings got more interesting. Below, you can see that people aged 55-64 reported ‘Unwanted Attention’ as a main deterrent for writing an online review, while people aged 18-24 reported ‘Hard to Write the Review Itself’ as a main deterrent.

This tumbles down logically since older people have a tendency to be more reserved.

It also makes sense because young people are seemingly always on the go, and cannot seem to be bothered by something as time-consuming as putting together a review. (After all, many of the people in this age group are likely in college and probably have ENOUGH things to write such as essays, reports, etc.)

What’s even more interesting, is that of the respondents who claimed it was ‘Hard to Write the Review Itself’, half of them had a reported income of $150,000 or more.

Could it be that this group of high-earners are busy with the very jobs that are earning them that amount of income, that they cannot be bothered to do something as tedious as composing a review?

The main takeaway for this survey is that many people cite unwanted attention and the difficulty of writing the review as two main reasons why they would not write a review online.

That being said, gently reminding your customers that they can in many cases use their initials instead of their full name on online review sites could help to alleviate these concerns.

ReviewInc automates and addresses all these concerns.  To learn more, give us a call at 1-877-9REVIEW or email us at support@reviewinc.com.  Take charge of your online reputation today!

What’s Better Than a Super Bowl Ad for Your Business?

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These days, running an ad during the Super Bowl can cost upwards of four million dollars for a 30-second spot. While this gives you a large amount of exposure, it also can do a lot of damage to your wallet. … Continue reading

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!

Low-Tech Customer Feedback

 

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A sign displayed at a local Albertsons soliciting feedback.

We recently got a grin from a sign displayed at a local Albertsons asking patrons to give their feedback.  It looked very low-tech; almost like an elementary school science fair poster.  Perhaps that was intentional, but hey, it did get our attention.  However, they did get one thing right; feedback from customers is invaluable.

Both small and large business owners alike recognize the value of collecting feedback from their customers.

Without this feedback, businesses would not be able to evolve into the best versions of themselves, a version that is not only fulfilling but exceeding their clients’ expectations.

That being said, there are a multitude of ways of collecting this feedback. Be it by simply asking them in person, asking them to fill out a piece of paper with a few questions, or now having the ability to ask them to go online to leave their feedback with you.

But it’s not enough to just gather their feedback for internal use. You must now also take into consideration the prevalence of online reviews sites such as Yelp and Google+.

Review sites like this now pose another obstacle: maintaining your online reputation.

Studies show that online reviews can have a significant impact on the amount of business comes through the door.

While some of the more tried and true fashions of collecting feedback (in person, paper, etc) have proven to be successful to an extent, these methods are limited in the scope of what they can do.

Take, for example, the paper approach. You have all these slips of paper with some solid feedback from customers, but how do you track the data? Do you then have to have a person manually input these into an Excel spreadsheet and manually generate charts to make sense of the data?

How about the current survey options? If you are already online and have the capability to collect feedback online, that’s great. However, that is only covering the feedback collection process; you still have to consider monitoring your online reputation on  review sites like Yelp and Google+.

So what is the solution?

ReviewInc provides both of these capabilities. You can privately collect feedback that you can use internally. And the private feedback you collect that happens to be positive, you can then encourage those same people to share their glowing reviews of your business to review sites such as Yelp and Google+. Additionally, you can monitor your reputation across several different review sites simultaneously without having to go through the hassle of visiting each review site individually.

Interested? Give us a call at 1-877-9REVIEWS for a demo today!