New Research Shows the Power of Customer Ratings and Reviews
Sixty-four percent of US consumers say they’re ‘often’ or ‘very often’ influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase, and 63% say the same of customer star ratings. This is one of the key findings from a new study published by Digital Doughnut’s sister company London Research, in partnership with Trustpilot.
The Value of Ratings and Reviews in Advertising looks at the value of showcasing customer ratings and reviews, with a focus on the impact of Trustpilot content in digital campaigns. The report is based on a survey of 1,000 US consumers. There are links to the equivalent reports for the UK and EU at the end of this article.
The research shows that authentic customer reviews and star ratings are now firmly established as a go-to source of information for the majority of shoppers.
Kyle Rao, President and CEO at Secure Medical, the company behind eDrugStore.com, said: “There are a lot of consumers out there who have been burned, and so a ratings service is essential. It’s helpful for a business to show they are trustworthy by putting the green stars on their advertising. We also put them at the bottom of all our emails too to remind people they can trust us. So, it helps with both winning new customers and retaining them.”
Impact of Trustpilot
Specifically in terms of the impact of Trustpilot ratings, almost two-thirds (63%) of US consumers agree that a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to trust a brand (including consumers who hadn’t previously heard of Trustpilot). A similar percentage (61%) agree a good Trustpilot score makes them more likely to buy from a brand.
In order to gain a deeper understanding of actual customer behavior, a survey-based research technique called MaxDiff was used to quantify consumer preferences when respondents were shown different combinations from a series of 10 advertisements for a fictional company called Connect.
Another key research finding was that consumers are two-and-a-half times more likely to click a Trustpilot co-branded ad showing a five-star customer rating, a high number of reviews, and a customer testimonial, than an equivalent ad with no Trustpilot branding.
An online advertisement with just the Trustpilot logo and stars is 37% more persuasive than the same ad without them.
According to Rao: “People know the green stars, it helps to reassure new customers. In our advertising, adding the stars boosts clickthroughs but, crucially, they boost conversion rates and it further reduces cart abandonment when we add the stars at checkout. They make a huge difference.”
Impact of Authentic Customer Reviews
The research also found that US consumers are significantly more likely to click through on a Trustpilot co-branded ad when it contains an authentic customer review.
Micael Saillen, CEO and Co-Founder at energy supplier Tate, has quantified adding a customer review as typically improving digital advertising clickthrough rates by 10% to 20%.
“People know brands say they are great in their adverts but when a company shows what people actually say about them, consumers know the advertiser is showing they have nothing to hide,” he says.
Transparency around the number of reviews can deepen engagement further, according to the study. Showing '3,000+ reviews' makes the ad 31% more compelling than the same ad just showing the TrustScore (i.e. the exact score out of 5).
According to Dan Cristo, Director of SEO Innovation at performance marketing agency Catalyst: “One of our clients in the hospitality space has an average of 2,000 reviews on each property. These are real experiences customers volunteered to share with others simply because they wanted to tell their story. This desire to share experiences with others as a way to ‘pay it forward’ and help others in the community is a core part of how humans socialize.”
To learn more about this research in different markets, you can read the separate Trustpilot reports for the US, UK and EU.