The internet is awash with facts and statistics to support the growing trend in importance of reviews in consumer's buying behaviour. A new survey commissioned by TurnTo shows that reviews and other user-generated content is more important in influencing consumers than ads or search engines.
The survey was carried out by Ipsos and studied 1070 US shoppers who had made an online purchase in the last 12 months. In context of the survey, UGC is defined as including "ratings, reviews, product photos, product videos or other commentary written by the consumer or other shoppers about products they are considering buying or have bought". It limits the UGC to that shown on a company's website.
80% of those surveyed own a laptop, while 75% own a smartphone. The largest segment of smartphone owners were in the 40-49 age bracket at 85%. Over a quarter of shoppers surveyed made an online purchase every 2-3 weeks on average.
Influence of UGC
An overwhelming 90% of US consumers stated that user-generated content is "influential" on their purchasing decisions, and 24% stated that UGC is "extremely influential", outshining Search Engines (16%) and Display Advertising (10%) by a factor of 1.5 and 2.4 respectively.
Across the board, 73% of consumers stated that the presence of UGC increases their confidence in making a purchase, while 71% stated that UGC improves customer feedback.
The figure rises to 97% for shoppers under 30, showing that the Millennial generation are far more likely to seek out and be influenced by user generated content.
65% of shoppers agree that UGC is more interesting than content created directly by the brand. This is quite interesting because it shows that UGC is more important than brand content. It should feature heavily in your marketing efforts.
The secondary part of the study asked whether consumers perceive products with more or less value when coupled with UGC, or the absence of UGC, by giving two options:-
1: Costs more, has UGC 2: Costs less, has no UGC
The overwhelming majority of shoppers would pay more for a product that has user generated content (81%).
This is a really fun statistic, not least because it completely reinforces the message that UGC is critical to business.
The study also gave similar results for questions about product shipping time. 81% of consumers would prefer slower shipping times for products with UGC, while just 19% preferred faster shipping for products missing UGC.
Type of UGC
72% of US shoppers have submitted user generated content in the last 12 months, and 71% and 69% of those submitted Product Reviews and Product Ratings respectively.
There is an appetite for the creation of UGC amongst shoppers, and our own Review Conversion Rates prove that customers will write a review if they are only asked to do so. The creation of UGC is super critical to businesses, because the vast majority of online shoppers are influenced by its presence (or absence). Shoppers are likely to pay more for a product which is accompanied by UGC, and wait longer for delivery. UGC creates the perception of increased value in the minds of online shoppers.
Managing and collecting UGC can seem quite daunting, because there are many different sources of reviews online. It's important for businesses to manage their online reputation across a wide range of sites, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, third party review platforms and of course, their own website.
Reviews.io offers the tools to collect, manage and publish verified reviews to Google (to get Google Seller Ratings and Stars in organic and paid search), as well as Facebook, Amazon and a range of third party sites. Watch our video to find out more.
Here's an illustration of the impact of product reviews on sales.
If you're looking for an official Google licensed review provider to help you with your review management across the web, take a look at our plan page for more details.