Customers Rely on Reviews for Purchases, But Only 32% of Businesses Use Them According to New Survey

Staff Report

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Consumers and businesses rely on online reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. Less than one third of businesses, however, invest in collecting and promoting client reviews (32%) and case studies (23%), according to a new survey of 501 businesses using inbound marketing from Visual Objects, a portfolio website.

Research from LinkedIn and BrightLocal shows that most consumers still trust and value online reviews. Businesses should use reviews on their websites to:

Offset fraudulent reviews on third-party platforms

Nurture leads into customers

Improve search engine optimization (SEO)

Fake Reviews Deter Some Businesses from Publishing Client Feedback

Fraudulent reviews on third-party platforms such as Amazon drive some businesses to avoid publishing reviews altogether.

Third-party websites and vendors will often offer services such as free returns in exchange for a five-star review, no matter the quality of a product.

These fake testimonials led Calloway Cook, founder of Illuminate Labs, to omit reviews from his business's marketing strategy.

"Reviews are useful in theory, but when everything has a five-star review, there's no way for consumers to know which products are genuinely good and which just have gamed reviews," Cook said.

Research shows, however, that fake reviews have not made reviews less valuable in the eyes of consumers. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 65% of U.S. adults who read reviews believe reviews are generally accurate.

Businesses Avoid Reviews Because They are Time-Consuming to Collect

Reviews can also be time-consuming for businesses to collect, format, and promote. Business owners and account managers may be reluctant to ask a client for an additional favor after they purchased a product or service.

"It's a personal exercise," said Fabian Geyrhalter, founder and principal of branding agency FINIEN. "You have to reach out. You have to ask for favors. That's why a lot of people never get around to doing it."

Case studies are also time-consuming to curate and format if businesses lack in-house web design expertise.

Well-formatted case studies and client testimonials can, however, drive traffic back to a company's website by optimizing the pages for search engines. They also show customers examples of past work and highlight positive feedback.

Reviews Drive Traffic and Help Convert Leads Into Customers

Businesses featured in the report that use reviews say that reviews have improved website traffic and caused more leads to become customers.

Igor Kholkin, president and chief strategist of Avidon Marketing Group, saw improvements shortly after publishing reviews and case studies on his website.

"We initially made the updates for SEO reasons, but the direct effect on conversions was almost immediate," Kholkin said. "Our conversion rate tripled just a week after the updates."

Reviews show potential clients that a business is willing to form a relationship with people who purchase their products or services.

Read the full survey report: