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?”

 

QR Codes Are Back! How to Use Them To Improve Your Online Reputation

QRCode ScannerSometimes, the best inventions come in the form of tiny little squares. After a long hiatus, and with some hiding in our favorite mobile apps, QR codes are back and in a big way. Here’s why:

QR Codes are about to go through a major rebirth thanks to Apple. Recently, Apple released iOS 11 that has a native QR code reader built into the Camera app. Apple’s iOS release joins Android’s 6.0 (“Marshmallow”) release to automatically recognize a QR code when the default camera app is pointed at any QR code.

The Sordid Past of QR Codes

While the codes remained extremely popular in Asian markets, things didn’t go so well in the West. In order to scan QR codes, consumers in places like the US had to download an app onto their mobile devices. Unfortunately, it was a hassle downloading the apps, and often times the available apps would break. This frustrated the American consumer, leading to the death of the QR code in the West.

What’s a QR Code?

Also known as a Quick Response Code, a QR code is a square containing tiny codes of black and white. These squares hold a ton of storage and are scanned by mobile devices such as your phone or tablet.

What Can it Do?

Due to its ability to hold a ton of storage, these little squares accomplish several feats. QR codes can: track a product, identify an item, track time, be used for document management and marketing purposes. If you’ve ever wanted free stuff at your local convention, you’ve probably scanned a few QR codes. Social media sites like Snapchat are already using the codes, giving QR the opportunity to re-brand in a more positive light.

Use QR Codes to Get More Reviews

Not everyone creates QR codes or even knows about them. But, at ReviewInc, we have the ability to create and even print out QR codes for your business. We even have a business card creator that will create Vista Print ready images that includes your very own QR code.

Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Incentivizing Your Server for Good Service?

Last week, one of our very own staff members here at ReviewInc noticed a couple very interesting things during a restaurant visit.

One, the restaurant was utilizing old iPhones as part of their server payment books.

PhonePaybook

Two, she noticed that at the bottom of her receipt, there was a little note asking customers to leave a review in an effort to help their server for that evening win a trip to Disneyland.

Receipt

Many restaurants have often struggled to find creative ways to ask their customers to leave them reviews, so we find it fascinating when we see creative ways that some come up with.

Using our service, you can better re-purpose old iPhones and other smartphones. Our service can also help you get exposure to reviews on more sites than just Yelp. We also offer much more such as social media, testimonials, QR Codes, Table cards, posters, “rate us” buttons and forms on your website.

Aside from asking via a note on the receipt or a mobile tablet onsite, what are some creative ways that you think restaurants can use to capture reviews from their customers?

Email us with your ideas at support@reviewinc.com and we’ll feature our favorite one right here on our blog. Winner will also receive a $75 Amazon Gift Card!

The fine print: Must be an existing ReviewInc client to participate. Last submission will be accepted on Friday, December 19 at 5 P.M. Pacific Time.

You’ve Just Been Yelped

Dimmi

You all are probably very familiar with the popular review site Yelp by now. The concept is fairly simple: you visit a business and you write a review about your experience. You can also add “tips” and photos if you’d like.

Yelp

But this experience is typically experienced only by the consumer, not the business owner. Well, what if it could go both ways?

Popular ride-sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber allow a two-way rating system: passengers leave ratings for their drivers, and drivers leave ratings for their passengers.

LyftUber

Wouldn’t that be great if all business owners could incorporate this into their business models? Well one restaurant reservation system based out of Sydney is certainly intent on trying.

Dimmi ResDiary, Australia’s version of OpenTable, gives participating restaurants the ability to track and rate customers’ dining ‘performance’. Everything from what they ordered, how much they tipped right down to any over-the-top requests they may have made while dining are all included in a diner’s profile. This gives any servers working that day the opportunity to appropriately prepare themselves for what kind of day they might have ahead of them.

The hope is that, “Diners will behave better, tip better, treat staff better. It will help improve the industry and may help the diner get that all important upgrade next time,” says Dimmi CEO, Stevan Premutico.

With access to this platform, each of the 2,500 member restaurants have the ability to inform the community at large about you. Little details such as if you prefer a window seat, whether you typically order appetizers or just go straight for the entrée, or even what you do for a living and whether you are attractive or not.

Google

Of course, this is nothing short of what any restaurant owner could potentially find out about you by performing a simple Google search.

At Eleven Madison Park, this is something that maître d’ Justin Roller does on a day-to-day basis, according to Grubstreet. Not only that, but, “I’m looking for chef’s whites and wine glasses,” he says, indicating that he’s especially on the lookout for undercover chefs and sommeliers.

ElevenMadisonPark

But having a diner profile on the site will likely at least eliminate the margin of error when searching for a particular diner, even if just by a little bit.

This is not unlike the story we posted a few weeks ago about a taxi driver leaving mean, if not downright cruel, reviews of his passengers to his Twiiter page.

So what do you think? Do you think you would be more inclined to behave better if you felt you were being ‘graded’ by your server? Or do you think you would be less inclined to a dine at a restaurant if you knew it was a participant in this program?