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.

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.

Anonymous Reviews – Good or Bad Idea?

Anonymous Reviewer

Are Anonymous Reviews a Good or Bad idea?  ReviewInc put this question to a test. In July 2015, we asked 3,001 U.S. Consumers about writing a business review anonymously. We gave each of them the choice of multiple answers. In general, 63.1% of the consumers provided reasons in support of anonymous reviews where as 44.6% provided reasons that they would be against anonymous reviews. Reasons in support of anonymous reviews included:

  • Protected Free SpeechScales of Justice - Anonymous Reviews
  • Protects the reviews from retaliation
  • Makes it more likely that a review would be written.

Reasons against anonymous reviews included:

  • Undermining the Integrity of the Review
  • That it is wrong to hide one’s identity (when writing a review)
  • That is should be against the law.

Protection of Free Speech was cited as the most popular response (at 35.6% of all responses), still, the second most popular response indicated that consumers recognized that anonymous reviews undermine the trust (or integrity) of the review.
Anonymous Reviews

There were some significant and interesting differences in responses when comparing demographics such as age group, gender and income level. It was interesting to note that 43% of  Millennials or Gen-Y (18-34 year olds) had a much stronger opinion about anonymous reviews being protected free speech when compared to older groups at 32%. The Millennials didn’t seem to feel that the integrity of the reviews would be as affected, but were nearly twice the opinion that anonymous reviews would protect them from retaliation which would also make them much more likely to write a review (if it was anonymous). Conversely, the older the age group, the more they felt that it was wrong to hide one’s identity (when writing a business review) and maybe should even be against the law.Anonymous Reviews by Age Group

In some cases, responses by gender were quite significant.  While both genders had a near equal opinion that anonymous reviews were protected free speech, men felt more strongly that anonymous reviews undermined the trust (or integrity) of the review. However women, felt more strongly that the ability to write an anonymous review would make them more likely to write a review.

Anonymous Reviews by Gender

When examining income levels associated with opinions about anonymous reviews there was a strange anomaly. On several answers, those with high earnings and those with little to no earnings seemed to respond similarly to those with mid-range incomes. Why?  Presumably, they had more vulnerabilities but for different reasons. Those with higher income were vulnerable financially because they are a larger financial target to something like a lawsuit and have more to lose. Those with little or no income were, well, are just very vulnerable to attack with no meaningful type of protection.

Anonymous Reviews by Income

While internet users can disguise or hide their identity, we agree that reviews associated with an identifiable customer, client or patient carry far more weight and value than do anonymous reviews. Reviews on sites like Google+, Yelp or Facebook have policies against anonymous reviews (as do many other review sites). However, even with a large number of anonymous unique reviews about a business that include detailed text descriptions (not just a rating value), consumers do get a clear picture of a business, establishment, product or service.

ReviewInc can help businesses get more reviews everywhere and enhance their reputation. For a no obligation consultation call ReviewInc at 877-9REVIEW or leave a note here and have an expert contact you.