A New Study Shows that 67% of Consumers are Influenced By Online Reviews

In 2014, Google processed more than 1 trillion search queries. Search results become more important as Google Search continues to integrate into people’s everyday activities, especially when people search for information about a product or company.

To get a better understanding of how important Google has become to a person’s purchasing decisions, a research study with 1,000 consumers was set up on Google Consumer Surveys. This study investigates how people interact with Google and other sites during their buying process.


Do Google Searchers Go Past Page 1?

Our first goal was to discover how deeply people go into their Google search results. We wanted to know if people stopped at page 1 of their search results or dug deeper going to page 2 or beyond. By understanding the number of pages a searcher will view, we gain insight into the number of results pages we should monitor related to a product or brand.

When asked, 36 percent of the respondents claimed to look through two or more pages of search results. However, when you look at the actual search data, it’s clear that people view less than 2 percent of the searches below the first page’s top 5 results. From this data, it’s clear that consumer’s actual search behavior differs from the self-reported activity.


Do Online Reviews Affect Purchasing Decisions?

Reviews have been integrated into the Google+ Local initiative. Google often displays reviews near the top of a business’ search result. Other review sites, like TripAdvisor and Yelp, also rank near the top of a product or company search query results.

Since review sites appear near the top of the product or brand search results, it’s important to better understand how reviews impact a consumer’s’ decision-making process. We asked the participants how important an online review was in their decision-making process before making a major purchase for a smartphone, car, or appliance.

According to the respondents, online reviews impact 67.7 percent of the respondent’ purchasing decisions. More than half of the respondents or 54.7 percent admitted that online reviews were either absolutely, very, or fairly important to their decision-making process.


Can Negative Reviews Cost Your Business Customers?

Our research uncovered that a business risks losing almost 22 percent of their customer when users find one negative article while they’re looking for information about a product. If there are three negative articles in a search query, the potential for losing customers increases to 52.9 percent. If there are four or more negative articles about your product or company in the Google search results, then you’re likely to lose 70 percent of your potential customers.

Which Sites Do Potential Customers Visit Before Buying Your Service or Product?

Google search is only one of the sites consumers visit when researching a product or brand. We thought it might be interesting to identify other consumer research sites.Interestingly, many people didn’t remember visiting popular review sites when searching for information about a product or service. Instead, Google+ Local reviews were the brand site that got the most attention.

Amazon came in second, with half of the selections Google received, which was a noteworthy finding. Finally, stats showed that more people looked for information about a company on Wikipedia than on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.


Online Reviews Can Help Your Bottom Line

The study results showed that online reviews can have a significant influence on a consumer’s decision-making process. The data supports the fact that Internet users are usually willing to look at the first two pages of the Google search results when looking for details about a company or product. We can conclude that online review sites, like Google+ Local, are visited by many potential customers who are looking for information. The more negative the results, the less likely people will be to visit your business or purchase your product.

This information paints a clear picture that what’s included in the Google search results for a product or company name, will inevitably have an impact on a company’s profitability. Public relation (PR) firms and internal marketing teams need to consider the results displayed on Google when a person searches for their merchandise or company name. Negative press, negative reviews, and other types of damaging feedback can have a long lasting impact on a company’s ability to sell services or products.


How to Protect Your Company in Google Search Results

A marketing team or PR firm must be proactive when it comes to protecting a company’s online reputation. Here are some tactics that can help prevent your company from suffering from negative online reviews.

– First, identify whether, or not, negative articles already exist on your first two search results pages for a Google query of a product or company name (such as “Walmart”). This is a simple task that needs to be done regularly.

Google often shifts search results around. Unfortunately, negative articles will often attract a higher click-through rate. This will likely cause these negative items to climb in the rankings, as people engage with the articles.

– Next, you must monitor and analyze the current sentiment of online reviews on sites like Amazon and Google+. Other sites, like Trip Advisor or Yelp, should be checked often, as they climb in the search results.

Do not attempt to alter the results artificially. Instead, look for best practices on how to improve your reviews on sites like Yelp. Then you need to implement these strategies. The goal is to improve the buzz around your company.

– If there are negative articles, find solutions for improvement. A company’s public relations and marketing team can benefit by generating and highlighting positive reviews and press about services or products through ORM and SEO efforts.

If you can gain control of the search results for a product or company, you’ll be in control of the main message that people see when they search for information about your product or company. That can be done by working to ensure customer and prospects enjoy a satisfying experience when they interact with your brand, online and offline.

When a company is proactive with your brand’s reputation, as it is viewed in the Google search results and on a review site, is has an impact on the company’s bottom line. As seen in the data, most people are less likely to purchase a product or service, when there are a large number of negative reviews in the Google search results.

As the number of negative articles increases, the probability of a sale goes down. By actively ensuring your search results are filled with positive, honest reviews, you can win over your potential customers.

Contact Millennium Marketing Solutions Denver today and work with expert reputation marketers.