Do online reviews count?


Exterior: Early morning. The boundary fence between two farms.
Two farmers talking. A shiny new utility vehicle towing a tractor in the distance.
Fred: “Old Jack’s just brought a new Ute.”
Bruce: “Yeah?”
Fred: “Yep. Old Jack reckons it can tow his tractor and take a ton in the tray.”
Bruce: “Yeah?”
Fred “Yep. Might have to have a look into that, the Mrs says it’s high time we got a new wagon.”
Bruce “Yeah? Nah, yeah.”

That is what your typical Kiwi review would have looked like 10 years ago. It was something we could trust. Although the setting and medium has changed to online, Kiwis still place high value in what ‘other people’ have to say about a product of service.

Don’t get me wrong, it’d still happen today, but today, chances are it will look like this.
1 out of 5 stars: DaveP
“The chips were soggy, they forgot the drink and had to go back. Never ordering from here again.” Or
4.5 out of 5 stars
“Package arrived within a week, the sizing was perfect and they included a discount on my next purchase. Fantastic!!!”

The bottom line is, word of mouth – or more generally, a review – is trusted. It is an independent source of confirmation or rejection, of the claims made by the proprietor.

Here are some quick statistics:

  • 70% of consumers actively search for reviews;
  • 84% of consumers read reviews;
  • 88% of consumers who purchase or book used reviews in their decision making;
  • There is a 200% increase in sales from products with no reviews to products with positive reviews.

These statistics show that a lot of decision weighting is placed on reviews, although there is a flip-side to this. The old adage ‘it’s too good to be true’, amounting to fake reviews.

  • Between 20% and 30% of company reviews are fake;
  • If there are no negative reviews, around 30% of people believe the site has faked its review;
  • Products rated 4.5 out of five stars sell more often than products rated 5 out of 5.

Review advice from the experts

Kristina Trood, General Manager, says, even in search engine optimisation, reviews make a difference.

“While the Google Maps algorithms can be inconsistent, we do often see businesses with positive reviews ranking highly in the Maps results.” Kristina said this was an important point because of the high value placed on local search results.

“We know that Kiwis love to deal with