Choosing a Real Estate Agent? The Rules Have Changed

Real Estate Agents Meme

Looking for a Real Estate Agent?  My how things have changed in the last 2 years. ReviewInc has followed up on its study from 2015 with a new survey about choosing Real Estate agents, and the results are in.

The exact same survey was presented to 1,500 U.S. consumers asking them what they research before they engage the services of a real estate broker. It is clear that online research continues to dominate the landscape. While people continue to ask their friends or neighbors, online mediums including the agent’s website, searching Google/Bing and reading reviews on sites like Zillow, Yelp and Google are still critical for real estate agents.

Real Estate Agents 2015 vs 2017

The two categories that saw the largest change were checking reviews on Zillow and the agent’s website. Of course, even reviews on Yelp and Google saw a higher percentage change, but Zillow saw twice the rate of the change compared to Yelp and Google.Change in Research Methods for Real Estate Agents

When ReviewInc conducted its original survey, Zillow (NASDAQ:Z) had just announced its acquisition of rival Trulia for $2.5B.  It was a gamble, but it appears to have paid off.  Zillow shares have grown by over 20% in the past two years outpacing Yelp (NASDAQ:YELP) whose shares declined by 16% since in that same period.  Of course, Google, aka Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG), the 800 pound gorilla, continues to steam forward.
StockPrices

If you are a real estate agent, make sure that your website is updated and optimized for local search.  Also, make sure that you get lots of reviews on Zillow, Yelp and Google – because they clearly matter.

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 info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Most Effective Advertising in 2017

Bias In ReviewsOver the last four years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 10,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product. Now, with four years of data, a trend is clearly emerging and once again Review Sites are increasingly more critical to the purchase decision at the expense of some many other traditional medium.

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.

2017-BusinessInfluencePieChart

In this year’s result,  Review Sites again topped the list for the most influential component 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 and within the margin of error which could account for the very slight decline. More importantly, the influence of the traditional yellow pages continued declined. It appears that much of that drop was picked up by the influence of Reviews. Online advertising also appears to have remained stable compared to last year. Most notably, were the differences in gender and age groups.2017-BusinessInfluenceYearOverYearIn previous studies, females outpaced males in the Reviews choice. However, this year, the men have caught up. Females seemed to have made the leap forward last year (2015 study) while males seemed to have made the leap forward this year.2017-BusinessInfluenceByGenderNearly all age groups displayed a significant increase in preference for Review Sites. Of particular interest was the senior citizen generation showed a significant increase in the choice of Review Sites – proving adoption of the digital medium while abandoning the “tried and true” traditional yellow pages.

2017-GenerationDifferences-ReviewSites

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.2017-GenerationDifferences-YellowPages

So what does this all mean?

It’s Still All About the Reviews

  • The importance and influence of Online Reviews is growing, and it’s critical to your business (much more than your website)
  • If you’re investing in your business website but are ignoring your online business reputation, you are likely missing out on a huge opportunity
  • The traditional paper-based Yellow Pages is a fast declining resource for people middle-aged generations (which tend to be the more affluent groups)
  • Despite the importance of digital advertising, the influence of Reviews continues to dominate and this isn’t likely to change.

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.

Top Review Sites Brand Awareness: Unaided vs Aided

memereviewsiteawarenessunaidedA new study, conducted by ReviewInc in November 2016, tested unaided brand awareness of websites associated with business reviews.  In the past studies, ReviewInc has conducted research on top review site brands using the latter method. There was a significant difference between the aided and unaided studies.

The value of a brand is predicated mostly on awareness. That is, how many people think of your brand name or look for it. For example, when you think of an automobile maker, you’d probably come up with something like Toyota, Ford or Honda.  However, measuring awareness of brands can be tricky. Some brands have a reputation or a strong association with a particular thought. And to measure that association, you can start with the “thought” and see what brand is recognized, or you can start with prompting the brand and see what “thought” is recognized.

The study of 2,001 U.S. Consumers asked the following open-ended question:  On which website do you check reviews and ratings about a business (such as restaurant, plumber, doctor, lawyer, mechanic etc.)?

The responses were analyzed and identified both Google and Yelp as top review sites when unaided.

unaidedbrandname-overallresults

In contrast, a study conducted earlier in 2016 tested the association of trust with various review sites. Several sites scored much lower results in the unaided awareness. Most notably, the Better Business Bureau, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, Facebook and YellowPages received much lower unaided brand recognition associated with review sites.  One surprise was Angie’s List whose unaided awareness outperformed all sites except Google and Yelp.

unaidedbrandname-vsaided

Google and Yelp showed a significant difference in unaided awareness between genders.  Females identified Yelp 26% more than males whereas males identified Google 20% more than females.  (There was no significant difference in gender preference for other review sites).

unaidedbrandname-bygender

The age group differences where mostly insignificant, however Angie’s List appears to be resonating more with ages 55 and over.  This likely explains the higher overall brand awareness of Angie’s List.

unaidedbrandname-byage

Google and Yelp provide reviews for multiple categories of businesses, but sites like Angie’s List are very specific to home services and contractors.  Sites specific to automotive services would likely score higher if the question posed was more specific to automotive dealerships are car buying.  Further studies are merited and ReviewInc will continue its commitment to educate business owners on the power and importance of reviews.

It is recommended that businesses build their online reputations on multiple review sites.  A broad review site coverage strategy will help enhance search results.  It will also help provide a more balanced reputation especially if you have many reviews of multiple review sites.

For more information on how ReviewInc can help you measure and increase your online reviews, please call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave us your contact information or email ReviewInc at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

The New King of Review Sites?

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 (YP.com) 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.

Facebook-DAU---Facebook-Slides

 

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 info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

The Most Trusted Review Site 2016

TrustedReviewSitesMEMEIn May of 2016, ReviewInc ran a survey of U.S. Consumers asking which review site they trusted the most. Each consumer was presented with 7 random review sites and they were asked to choose which of them they trusted most. The results were compared to a similar survey that ReviewInc ran in April of 2015 (a little over a year ago).  The results told an interesting story.

MostTrustedReviewSites2016

Google and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) remain in the top two slots, with the more interesting story being who moved from 2015 to 2016.

The top 2 movers in a negative direction, based on Net Change, are Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon) and Yelp. Zomato suffered greatly due to the name changing from Urban Spoon. The prior name had a level of consumer trust and goodwill that will take time to rebuild as Zomato. As for Yelp, since it now provides reviews for Yahoo, it is possible that Yahoo benefited more from this relationship.  Yelp and Yahoo switched ranking positions. However, Yelp suffered a larger noticeable negative change compared to Yahoo small positive change.

The top mover in a positive direction, based on Net Change, is the BBB. The BBB continues to have strong feedback mechanisms to encourage business owners to make things right, which creates a conversation of trust around the review process.  They also likely benefit from their legacy brand name.

In this year’s survey, we added Cars.com, DealerRater, InsiderPages, Vitals.com and HomeStars.  As such there is no comparable data for 2015.

Here are the full details:

Review Site 2016 2015 Net Change % Change 2016 Overall Rank 2015 Overall Rank
Google (Maps) 14.79% 15.79% -1.00% -6.33% 1 1
Better Business Bureau 11.86% 10.90% 0.96% 8.81% 2 2
Yahoo 9.28% 9.27% 0.01% 0.11% 3 4
Yelp 8.40% 9.84% -1.44% -14.63% 4 3
TripAdvisor 7.64% 7.90% -0.26% -3.29% 5 5
Angie’s List 6.76% 7.08% -0.32% -4.52% 6 6
Facebook 6.37% 7.08% -0.71% -10.03% 7 7
YellowPages (YP.com) 5.27% 5.07% 0.20% 3.94% 8 8
Bing 4.41% 4.35% 0.06% 1.38% 9 9
Local.com 3.40% 2.83% 0.57% 20.14% 10 11
Cars.com 3.06% N/A 11
Glassdoor 2.86% 2.79% 0.07% 2.51% 12 12
Foursquare 1.79% 1.65% 0.14% 8.48% 13 15
HealthGrades 1.58% 2.21% -0.63% -28.51% 14 13
CitySearch 1.52% 1.88% -0.36% -19.15% 15 14
Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) 1.24% 3.62% -2.38% -65.75% 16 10
DealerRater 1.19% N/A 17
SuperPages.com 1.16% 1.59% -0.43% -27.04% 18 16
InsiderPages 1.13% N/A 19
MerchantCircle 1.09% 0.83% 0.26% 31.33% 20 21
TrustLink 0.92% 1.11% -0.19% -17.12% 21 19
Vitals.com 0.87% N/A 22
MojoPages 0.77% 0.82% -0.05% -6.10% 23 22
YellowBot 0.70% 0.85% -0.15% -17.65% 24 20
RateMDs 0.68% 1.14% -0.46% -40.35% 25 18
ShowMeLocal 0.65% 1.43% -0.78% -54.55% 26 17
HomeStars 0.57% N/A 27

Most businesses find it difficult to engage every customer in a consistent process. Utilizing the services a feedback and review 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 info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.