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72% of Consumers Trust Web Reviews As Much as Personal Recommendations

Written by Simply Zesty on

What influences your decision to try a new restaurant or buy something new? Do you value your friends' opinions, or do you turn to the web? A new survey makes clear that as great as word-of-mouth can be, local businesses simply cannot afford to neglect their online presence. As the web is the go-to source for information on local business, only 15 per cent of respondents saying that they had not used the internet to find a local business, a new survey reveals.

The 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey as posted on Search Engine Land yields some interesting results in this area. The study was conducted between 15th January - 1st March this year, with 4,500 local consumers from the US, Canada and the UK contacted, but only 2,862 respondents.

The survey found that the internet has become a trustworthy source of reviews, with 72 per cent of those consumers surveyed saying that they "trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations”. This figure stuck me as a little surprising, I would have expected it to be much lower, as you would assume that people would be wary of trusting the advice of someone they have never met. On the web, if you're not on a reputable site then you may not know who may have an agenda behind whatever they are reviewing, if they are an employee or competitor.However, people are reading less reviews than they did in 2010, as the survey showed that 65 per cent of consumers read between 2-10 reviews, up from 58 per cent in 2010, while only 7 per cent read more than 20 reviews. That indicates that people read a couple of reviews before deciding whether to make a purchase.

What's more, a positive review online could lead to more business for a company, as 52 per cent of respondents said that "positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business” and 58 per cent said that they trust a business that has positive online reviews. So there's increased pressure on companies to be at their best 24/7, as the web has given consumers the power to voice their opinions online, and thus influence other potential customers.

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