Most Effective Advertising in 2016

7618211_s influenceOver the last three years, ReviewInc conducted several studies of over 7,000 U.S. Consumers asking what they seek out most before selecting a business, service or product.  With three years of data, a trend is clearly emerging and Review Sites are increasingly more 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 apply, ReviewInc wanted a more discerning answer so that it could pin-point what was most influential to the consumer.

BusinessInfluenceYear2015PieChartAIn this year’s result,  Reviews 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 Reviews increased by a factor of over 11% from the previous year.  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 declined by more than 30%.   It appears that much of that drop was picked up by the influence of Reviews.  Online advertising also appears to have increased slightly in relevance but this too was within the margin of error.

BusinessInfluenceYear2015OverYear

There has been frequent debate over the use of review sites (along with general adoption of technology) by baby boomers and senior citizens.  While there wasn’t enough data from the 2014 study to compare 65+ age group, we could compare the combined 55-64 and the 65+ together (we do have enough in the 65+ to compare for next year’s study).  Both Generation-X and Baby Boomers showed increased influence of Review Sites when compared to the previous year.  The slight decline in Generation Z and Millennials is attributed to small increases in online advertising along with TV/Radio.

GenerationDifferences2015BSo what does this all mean?

It’s 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 still among the top resources for people aged 65+ but have little influence over the younger population
  • Despite the importance of Yellow Pages in older populations, there is an increased influence of Reviews on the older populations.

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.

Read the results of the 2014 study here:

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

Denial of Reputation Attack

Denial-of-Reputation-AttackCan a group of people deny a legitimate business of their online reputation? In the parlance of cyber-security, a Denial of Service Attack is when a hacker overwhelms a website with so much illegitimate web traffic, that legitimate traffic can’t get access to the site. The same idea can be used in social media to attack or even drown out public opinion. But now, review sites are being used to target individuals and their business essentially denying them a legitimate online reputation.

On July 28, news media reported a story about a dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer, of River Bluff Dental, who was also an avid big-game hunter. On one Dr. Palmer’s hunting jaunt in Zimbabwe, he shot and killed a beloved lion. Cecil, the affectionate name given to the lion, was living in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park where it had protected status and was collared as part of a long-term study. Cecil was a favorite among tourists and a point of pride for Zimbabwe. Palmer had paid more than $50,000 for this hunting trip and hired two guides who apparently misled him to believe that Cecil was fair game (and could be legally shot). While the guides have since been arrested, Dr. Palmer’s legal fate was yet to be determined. Legal or not, that didn’t stop the general public from avenging Cecil’s killing.

Thousands of reviewers have thoroughly destroyed Dr. Walter Palmer’s and his dental practice. A day after the story broke, his Yelp and Google+ pages logged well over 5,000 reviews in a 24 hour period. All the reviews were one-star reviews. A handful gave 5-star with very negative comments. Any legitimate review of River Bluff Dental was basically drowned out by what we call a Denial of Reputation Attack. Is this a legitimate use of review sites?

ReviewInc surveyed 1,000 U.S. Consumers on the legitimacy of writing reviews. Respondents were given multiple answer choices on the question of “You can legitimately write an online review about a business (on sites such as Yelp and Google+).” The possible answers included type of customer, employed by the business, just heard allegations or want to destroy their name. Not surprisingly, most of respondents recognized that current and former customers should be recognized as legitimate reviews. However, over 8% of respondents believed that current and former employees should legitimately write reviews even if they are not customers of that business. Slightly more than 5% felt that they could write reviews based on hearsay, while 4.5% felt they could write reviews just to destroy someone’s business.

 

Survey: When Can You Legitimately Write a ReviewReviewInc applauds Yelp’s stance on this matter. Yelp said in a statement that “Media-fueled reviews typically violate our content guidelines. One of these deals with relevance. For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.”

The company added that Yelp reviews are required to describe a firsthand consumer experience, not what someone read in the news. “Our user support team ultimately removes reviews that violate these guidelines.” Indeed, a quick glance of some of the 6449 reviews on the one-star rated River Bluff Dental’s page, are from out of state.WalterJPalmerDDS---Yelp-Page-on-2015-07-29

As of this writing, Google+ reviews for River Bluff Dental have yet to be removed. As you can see in the picture, they are all mostly personal attacks on Dr. Palmer.

July 30, 2015, 7:25PM PDT:  It appears that Google+ has also filtered most of the reviews, however there are still around 200 reviews – most of which driven by the media regarding Cecil the lion.

WalterJPalmerDDS---Google+-Page-on-2015-07-29

ReviewInc can help businesses get more legitimate reviews everywhere and enhance their reputation. A large number of legitimate reviews can also help shield a business from personal attacks. For a no obligation consultation call ReviewInc at 877-9REVIEW or leave a note here and have an expert contact you.

The Most Trusted Website for Business Reviews and Ratings

Meme - Trusted Review SitesLast month, ReviewInc surveyed 1939 U.S. consumers on which review site they trusted the most.  Each user was presented with 7 random review sites and asked which of those 7 they trusted the most.    Google+ Local topped the results at 47.3% (unweighted) as the most trusted website for reviews.  A surprise 2nd place finish was the Better Business Bureau.  This was mostly driven by the 45+ age groups which placed Google+ and BBB as their top choices.   The 18-44 age groups placed Yelp and Yahoo as their 2nd and 3rd most trusted website for reviews.

Most Trusted Review SiteWith thousands of review sites globally, this survey is only the tip of the iceberg.  There are many specialty review sites that focus on particular verticals or locales.  None the less, it is a very good indicator.  More importantly, search engine results must be weighed against the trust scores.  For instance, the BBB receives 28% of its traffic from search engines compared to Yahoo which receives only 5.5% of its traffic from search engines.  A closer examination of search results compared to rankings shows a wide discrepancy between trust scores, search traffic, and even bounce rate.  No doubt, all these factors would be considered by advertisers.

Review Site Survey Trust Score (unweighted) Alexa Global Rank Rank in United States Bounce Rate Daily Pageviews per Visitors Daily Time on Site Search Visits
Google+ 47.3% 1 1 20.20% 19.53 18:12 0.80%
Better Business Bureau 33.0% 1,538 540 52.50% 3.58 4:41 28.40%
Yahoo 31.2% 5 5 29.30% 7.43 7:50 5.50%
Yelp 28.9% 132 32 39.30% 4.13 4:07 26.90%
Facebook 22.3% 2 2 34.90% 11.63 17:37 3.70%
TripAdvisor 21.9% 194 70 42.80% 3.83 4:42 30.00%
Angie’s List 21.8% 2,276 519 46.20% 4.11 4:39 23.20%
Bing 17.0% 23 18 31.50% 5.38 4:43 2.10%
YellowPages (YP.com) 13.4% 930 250 53.80% 2.39 2:10 31.10%
UrbanSpoon 9.9% 1,752 645 48.40% 3.47 2:13 32.50%
Glassdoor 8.7% 460 147 35.30% 4.51 4:14 22.40%
Local.com 8.3% 3,183 1,524 54.10% 2.47 2:30 32.50%
CitySearch 7.3% 11,956 5,114 63.10% 2.56 1:50 20.90%
HealthGrades 7.2% 2,378 615 46.20% 2.68 2:47 36.40%
Foursquare 6.0% 947 997 53.00% 2.34 2:17 25.10%
SuperPages.com 5.1% 5,269 1,715 69.10% 2.17 1:49 28.10%
RateMDs 4.7% 21,720 9,016 55.80% 2.87 2:55 34.70%
ShowMeLocal 4.4% 12,499 21,098 43.20% 6 4:10 11.30%
TrustLink 3.8% 129,951 54,937 54.70% 2.7 2:20 25.70%
YellowBot 3.1% 15,939 14,458 54.00% 3.28 2:28 21.10%
MerchantCircle 2.9% 6,438 3,510 68.10% 2.68 1:56 33.30%
MojoPages 2.8% 39,461 14,827 19.10% 3.58 3:36 4.20%

To maximize their value, business owners are urged to make sure they are listed on as many review sites as possible.  Moreover, getting reviews from clients onto these sites will make those listings even more valuable.  The Google search engine prioritizes listings with a larger number of recent reviews over those with less reviews.

To find out more about how ReviewInc can help your business, call us at 877-9REVIEW or leave us a note here and we’ll contact you.

Real Estate Agents and Brokers: Reviews Matter!

real estate agent

 

Despite historical low interest rates, home ownership is down and real estate agents must work harder to get clients in a cut-throat market.  While personal referrals are still the leading channel for new business, internet access is changing all that. Online reviews can’t be ignored. In fact, if you are an agent or broker, you better pay attention.

In April, 2015, ReviewInc conducted a study of 1,092 U.S. Consumers about the process they use to engage the services of a real estate agent or broker. Consumers use a combination of several pieces of information aside from asking their friends or neighbors for a reference. The study showed, that 61.5% used internet based research to gather information about a broker or agent. These included reading their online reviews, using search engines (e.g. Google or Bing) and checking with agent’s website.Survey Results - Real Estate Broker Services

In contrast, only 14% even read their advertising material. So if you are an agent spending hundreds or thousands of your marketing dollars on printed marketing material, now would be a good time to rethink that. While 37.3% would ask a friend/neighbor about an agent, a whopping 29.4% checked their online reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, Zillow or Trulia. Checking reviews was even more important than internet searches or the agent’s website.

Home-Ownership-ChartConsumers know that a good real estate agent or broker can save them time and money. According to U.S. Census Bureau there were 115.6 Million households in 2013 of which 64.9% were home owners. As long as long term interest rates remain low and with an economic recovery around the corner, a rebound in ownership is anticipated. Agents and brokers with great online reviews should expect to get a larger share of the home buying and selling market.

ReviewInc can help your real estate brokers and agents get more reviews everywhere and enhance your reputation. For a no obligation consultation call us at 877-9REVIEW or leave us a note here and we’ll contact you.

LunchAndLearn

Listen to ESPN 1700, San Diego, on Monday April 24 at noon on at Lunch N Learn radio show hosted by Eran Sinai.  Mr. Sinai will discuss this article and related reputation management topics with ReviewInc’s Henri Isenberg.

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