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So it’s between the New York Times and Yelp. Or Engadget versus Amazon. The expert critic versus the fellow consumer. Whose opinion – about a given business, brand, product, or service – will consumers trust more? 

The answer may surprise you.

According to a Weber Shandwick study, people trust customer reviews more they do the reviews of pro critics.

The recently released study, “Buy It, Try It, Rate It,” revealed that online consumer reviews have more power than professional critics’ reviews when it comes to driving purchases. This was the conclusion reached by market research firm Weber Shandwick after it surveyed over 2,000 American adults about how they were using online reviews to help their buying decisions. 

Just how big is the gap separating peer from pro? Well, the report says that 77 percent of consumers pay more attention to consumer reviews than to professional critic reviews (only 23 percent). 

However, Weber Shandwick did add that when it comes to highly technological products and advanced consumer electronics – like tablets and computers – people read more professional editorial reviews.

“The increasing impact of consumer reviews on sales means that marketers must learn how to effectively manage the flood of online opinion engulfing shoppers,” said Bradford Williams, president of Weber Shandwick’s North American Technology Practice.

“Online user reviews are transforming buying decisions. Our study sheds new light on why, how and when shoppers use both user reviews as well as traditional editorial reviews in the purchase process.” 

“Buy It, Try It, Rate It” also showed that the average buyer consults 11 consumer reviews on the path to purchase. 74 percent look for reviews online. The information they’re gathering likely comes from online review aggregators like Yelp, Google+ Local, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor (for reviews of local businesses and services), as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and Consumer Reports (for reviews of consumer products). 

Again, this shows that, more than ever, consumers are navigating a maze of online reviews in order to discover and decide on what they want. As a business owner, you need to stay on top of the reviews that people are posting, sharing, and reading. It doesn’t even matter what you’re selling: if people are talking about it, you can’t ignore the conversation. By monitoring online reviews, you can respond to feedback more quickly – and address issues more effectively.

Infographic credit:

Weber Shandwick

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

Discussion

  1. floresparati

    I am one of those who trust the customers more then the critics. It is one or two reviews of critics, who are professionals and let’s say they don’t miss out anything, but still 1-2 reviews or over 100 can’t be measured. If 100 people liked what they got, i really don’t care what a professional thinks about that. I will more likely to trust a dozen people over a single one, no matter if he is a specialist or not.

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  2. Melanie Johnson

    It probably has to do with people thinking that professional critics rate the business based on different criteria to those of ‘ordinary’ people. There is also the thing that critics, after being in the business for so long can develop certain expectations that will prevent them from being 100% objective, but that is just my opinion.

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