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 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.



  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?”


Knowing Facebook’s Rules Can Improve Your Business

27688046 - word cloud with terms and conditions related tags

These days, there are standards for everything. Facebook, for instance, has their own set of community standards and terms of use. These standards are there to protect the consumer and the business. In many ways, it’s intended to police the consumer, putting the kibosh on hate speech and trolling. Luckily, it is to the benefit of business owners and social media managers alike.

Where to Find Facebook’s Regulations

Facebook’s Community Standards page is a catch-all for everyone who uses the site. They keep things pretty simple. Don’t sell or trade drugs. Encourage respectful behavior. And respect the intellectual, individual, and property rights. While it’s laid out plainly, the Community Standards page does not go deep into detail.

As a business owner or social media guru, what you want is the Terms of Service page. Keep this link in your back pocket. After all, you do not want to be searching for it through roundabouts on the Facebook pages when you need it most.

The Golden Rule Applies

Now that you know your own rights, you’re probably wondering how this can help you as a business owner. Your best bet is looking at the Terms of Service page. The first thing you should take a look at is section 3, labeled “Safety.” Here, it shows you cannot do anything illicit, but neither can anyone else. A person cannot intimidate, harass, or bullying a business. Inversely, a business engaging in this behavior spells disaster for a business’s Facebook page.

That said it isn’t always a simple case of bullying. Creating a false account can be grounds for expulsion from the website. Located in section 4, Registration and Account Security, it says that anyone falsifying their personal information in Facebook is against Facebook’s terms of use. And in section 5, Protecting Other People’s Rights, it says repeatedly infringing or violating someone’s rights or the law could spell expulsion from the website.

The Warning Label to be Aware of

After you read through the Terms of Service page, you may be a bit nervous about one thing in particular. Here it is in legalese:

“[…] you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless you’re content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

You may own what you post on your pages, but Facebook has the right to do anything they please with your posts. As far as adhesion contracts go, this may be scary when it comes to intellectual property. Even so, Facebook protects its users when others use your logo or brand name without your permission.

The part that makes this interesting is how you can use other people’s information. If this applies to you as a business owner, what about original posts by your customers such as reviews?

Sensitive Information

It’s also important for businesses not to post their customer’s information or take any kind of property. Facebook dictates you need consent if you collect information from your customers. This is especially the case for things like comments or user reviews. Say you want testimonials on your website. According to Facebook, you have to do three things. First, you need consent from the customer. Next, you need to make it clear that you and not Facebook is the recipient of the information. And last, you also need to give customers your business’s privacy policy so they know that you will not post their personal information or document.

What This Means for Your Reviews

Sometimes understanding Facebook’s rules is difficult as a business owner. This is especially the case with their terms of service and their online reviews. But, once you have that knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to navigate Facebook even better. What’s more is your business is more likely to succeed in the world of social media.

This article is just our interpretation of Facebook’s terms and should not be relied upon as official legal interpretation. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney for clarification and how these terms apply specifically to your business and its needs.

If you have any more questions about Facebook, improving your online reviews, or reputation management, we offer free consultations. Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

The New King of Review Sites?


A new review site is quickly emerging and giving business owners another avenue for online exposure. Google and Yelp have lead the field of online business review sites, but a new study by ReviewInc reveals consumers’ usage of top review sites and neither Google and Yelp made the top spot.

In June of 2016, nearly 2,300 U.S. consumers were asked “Where have you read or browsed business reviews?”  The same study was conducted by ReviewInc in 2015 whose results were compared with the 2016 study.

Facebook has emerged as the top review site!  Say what?  Yes, quietly Facebook has risen in the ranks to be recognized by consumers as a place to obtain business reviews. In the study, consumers were allowed to select multiple review sites. Facebook was selected most often at rate of 34.6%. Yelp was a very close (perhaps even statistically tied) at 32.9% followed closely by Google. Yahoo and Yellow Pages ( maintained their positions but Yellow Pages declined a little in usage. (This year’s survey added the Better Business Bureau (BBB) while CitySearch dropped off the survey).

Review Site Usage 2015-2016

The rate of change between 2015 and 2016 was most noticeable. Facebook gained 25.8% in usage and Yelp gained a whopping 38.2%!  Google’s usage dropped off by 16.3%.

Review Site Usage Change 2015-2016

So what’s at the root of Facebook’s rise?  Well, it’s not only an increase in Facebook’s average daily usage. At each quarter, Facebook reports both Average Monthly Users  (MAUs) and Average Daily Users (DAUs). Facebook also reports the ratio of DAUs and MAUs as an indicator of usage. After all, there is a big difference between someone who browses Facebook once per month vs. once per day. The ratio has risen steadily from 63% two years ago, to 66% last quarter. But, Facebook knows far more about usage than it lets on.



Watch for our next post that analyzes Facebook’s daily usage.

And now for our gratuitous but necessary plug:

Most businesses find it difficult to engage every customer in a consistent process. Utilizing a feedback and review management system, such as ReviewInc, is the best way to automate and measure feedback.

Interested in a free consultation on how to improve your online reviews and overall reputation management? Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Asking for Bad Reviews?


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Should business owners be required to ask unhappy or angry customers to put a review on review sites like Yelp/Google+? Old fashioned bulletin boards with notes from customers have become more of a novelty. They have been replaced with testimonials … Continue reading

Update to Facebook Reviews


Many of you may already know that Facebook now allows people to leave you reviews on your Facebook business page. Some of you may already even have some reviews there!

However, Facebook recently made a little tweak to how these reviews appear on your business page. Previously, reviews appeared in a widget on the top right-hand corner of the business page, with a preview of the first few reviews, which you could scroll through.

Now, there is a dedicated tab at the top of the business page:


There is also a widget on the left hand side of the page toward the bottom. It defaults to this location on your business page, but you are able to move it around as you see fit.


Have a business page but don’t see the ‘Reviews’ tab?

Follow the steps below:

– Go to your business page and click ‘About’.

– Go to ‘Basic Info’ and click the ‘Edit’ button with the pencil in the top right-hand corner.

– Go to ‘Address’ and input your full address.

Your page should now display the ‘Reviews’ tab.

For more info, please visit the Facebook Help Center.