BrightLocal’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey has thrown up some interesting data about end-user behaviour.
The findings of the report, based on US and Canadian responses, found that 92% of consumers read online reviews before choosing to give their custom to a local business.
Regular readers of online reviews made up 33% of the total, with 59% occasionally checking out local businesses online.
Although this marked a slight fall in the number who regularly behaved in this way (it was 39% in 2014), the overall increase saw the total number who used online reviews go up two points.
PC v mobile
PCs were the most popular way to read reviews, with 73% reporting it was their device of choice for the activity. However, almost four in ten (38%) read online reviews for a local business on a mobile internet browser, with 29% using a tablet.
This could be an important piece of information for anyone involved in website copywriting or those using other SEO techniques.
Another relevant statistic thrown up by the report was that consumers use multiple sources for their review information. Reading one to six reviews was popular with 73% of consumers, and one to three reviews with 40%.
This means that the overall star rating a business achieves is likely to affect potential clients more than the quantity.
A business with only one-star or two-star ratings will only be considered by 13% of customers, whereas three stars will be enough for 57%, and four stars means 94% of consumers will consider using it.
Star rating was revealed as by far the most important review factor for a local business. However, a certain amount of realism on the part of consumers was revealed in the study, with only 6% expecting a business to have a five-star rating.
Recent reviews were also important as 69% of those surveyed said that reviews older than three months were not relevant. In fact, 15% thought a review needed to be less than two weeks old, and 44% less than a month old in order to be useful to them.