A new study from BrightLocal reveals the importance that consumers place on local reviews from other customers.
Especially reviews that have been submitted recently.
As the title states, a vast majority of consumers don’t even care about reviews that were left longer than three months ago.
A significant number of consumers (40%) only take into account reviews written within the past two weeks. That number is growing, up 18% from last year.
The study also breaks down the demographics that place the most importance on reviews, how many reviews consumers read on average, and how many have written reviews themselves.
Here is a summary of key findings from the study.
Searching for Local Businesses and Reading Reviews
More consumers are regularly searching for local businesses this year compared to last year:
- 27% searched online daily for a local business (more than double the proportion in 2017)
- 69% searched online for local businesses monthly (up from 54%)
- 56% searched for local businesses weekly (up from 41% last year)
The study found that 18-34-year-olds are doing the most searching for local businesses. More than half search every day, and 81% search every week.
That demographic is also reading the most reviews – 50% of 18-34-year-olds always read online reviews.
In comparison, just 6% of people aged 55+ always read consumer reviews.
Overall, 86% of all consumers read reviews for local businesses at least occasionally.
Across all demographics, the study found that consumers are most likely to read reviews for restaurants and cafes.
Reviews for clothing stores, grocery stores, and hotels are also frequently read by all demographics.
The majority of consumers read 4 or more reviews. On average, consumers will read 10 reviews of a local business.
Consumers also highly value local businesses’ responses to reviews. The study found 89% of consumers read review responses.
The Influence of Local Reviews on Consumers
After reading positive reviews, 50% of consumers will visit the website of a local business, which is up from 37% in 2017.
Overall, 78% of consumers will engage with a local business in some way after reading a positive review. This includes visiting their website, contacting them directly, or visiting them in person.
Younger consumers are more likely to visit a business in person compared to older demographics.
Here are some other key findings on the influence of consumer reviews:
- Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use local businesses
- Negative reviews stop 40% of consumers wanting to use a business
- 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- A growing number of consumers need to read multiple reviews to build up trust
- 56% of consumers value the average star rating of a business, while 49% value the quantity of reviews
- 57% of consumers won’t use a business that has fewer than 4 stars
- Consumers want businesses to have 40 reviews before they trust the overall star rating
When asked if they have ever written a review for a local business, 89% of consumers said they would consider it.
Consumers ages 18-34 are most likely to leave reviews, with 80% saying it’s something they’ve done before.
Over 55s are least likely to have left reviews, with 22% saying they “never” will.
Fewer consumers are being asked to leave reviews, 66% have been asked this year compared to 74% in 2017.
More consumers within the younger demographics are being asked to leave reviews compared to older demographics.
Perhaps that’s why 18-34-year-olds are the most likely to leave reviews?
BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey is based on the views of a representative sample of 1,000 US-based consumers.