We can only imagine that the concept of word of mouth has been important since the dawn of time. Back when bartering was normal, long before businesses were established, you could get a general sense of who to transact with and who to stay far away from. Perhaps the farmer was giving people rotten food or the cobbler did a poor repair job – whatever the situation, talking with locals usually clued you into who to trust.
These days it’s no different, and while many still give feedback to their friends and family in verbal form, more and more individuals turn to the option of local reviews. While both positive and negative feedback can certainly influence the way you feel about a particular business, how heavily does this information play into your patronage? Results from a recent survey shine a bit of light on how good reviews may not be as important as we once thought.
By The Numbers
A study conducted by BrightLocal explored the attitudes of those who use online reviews, not only to determine where they do business but also to see how the feedback they contribute can make a difference. Some of the data wasn’t too surprising, while other numbers were pretty shocking.
Roughly 81% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 are searching online on a weekly basis to determine where they do business, and 50% of those in that group heavily rely on local reviews. On the flip side, only 6% of those 55 and up read online reviews. So far, none of that is too remarkable, right?
All In The Timing
Businesses who have a wealth of positive reviews on any number of online platforms may think they’re sitting pretty, but BrightLocal’s survey may provide a contrary opinion. During the same study last year, 18% of participants noted that they only look at reviews that were written within the last two weeks.
Now, 40% of those who utilize information from online feedback sites only take into consideration the last two weeks of data, and a whopping 85% of individuals think that reviews older than three months simply aren’t relevant. In some ways, you could say that your positive feedback from six months ago doesn’t really matter anymore.
Using Data To Your Advantage
What these numbers really communicate to business owners is one clear and simple message: you can’t ever really take a break from trying to gather more positive feedback online. A well-known company that has hundreds of 5-star reviews across a span of many years may not feel so pressed to continuously add to their online profiles, but newer and smaller organizations should make obtaining constant feedback a top priority.
Of course, some industries may not see such a need for this urgency, especially if they target older demographics who don’t much rely on internet data anyway. Yet for most companies, attracting new customers and even drawing clients away from their competition can be aided with a steady stream of positive feedback. Just like keeping your payroll up to date and offering products that your patrons want, acquiring recent positive reviews will help you to succeed.
Having been bitten by the writing bug at the young age of 6, Courtney gets to live her dream every day by creating content for a wide range of clients. When she’s not typing away at the computer, she loves spending time with her two sons in the Pacific NW.