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Consumers are reading more reviews than ever, according to a new report by research firm eMarketer.

In yet another demonstration of how user-generated online reviews of local businesses shape consumer behavior, it’s been found that 88 percent of Internet users now read reviews in order to determine the quality of a local business. This marks an increase from last year’s 85 percent.

(Check out: “91 Percent of Women Research Online – and Are Influenced By Reviews – Before Making a Purchase”)

eMarketer also reports that 7 percent of consumers read at least 20 online reviews before they put enough trust in a business. Most still read between 4 and 6 reviews, but the number of people reading only zero to three reviews has dropped. The increase in usage levels shows that, despite issues with the authenticity and legitimacy of content found in some online review sites, consumers still consider reviews as an important source of information about local businesses.

In fact, as much as 88 percent say that they trust reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family. And only 13 percent admit that they don’t have as much faith in reviews as in personal recommendations.

Report Reveals that Consumers are Reading More Online Reviews of Your Business

If you’re a business owner, it’s critical that you take on a more active role in monitoring and managing online reviews – from sites like Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and more. Sign up today for a free trial of our reputation management software platform, ReviewTrackers, and discover why our business clients love us!

(Infographic credit: eMarketer)

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.