Consumers ‘place trust in online reviews’

The vast majority of consumers (85 per cent) trust online reviews for local businesses as much as personal recommendations, new research has found.

The BrightLocal survey revealed that 97 per cent of consumers used the internet to search for a local business in the last year, with 12 per cent performing a search every day.

But reviews must be timely - as just four per cent of consumers pay attention to reviews older than a year and three quarters (77 per cent) admit they don’t let reviews older than three months impact their decisions.

However, 79 per cent of consumers say they have seen a fake review in the last year, despite 84 per cent saying that they can’t always spot a false review.

Myles Anderson, founder and CEO at BrightLocal, said: “This year’s survey highlights the importance of trust for consumers today. With fake news being such a hot topic, the authenticity of local reviews are under more scrutiny than ever. Nearly four out of five consumers have seen fake reviews, and this creates skepticism which impacts confidence and ultimately purchasing decisions.

“Business owners can combat this through proactively generating genuine reviews and responding to all reviews they get. They need to show consumers that they are an attentive, customer-focused business they can trust.”

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