When trying to evaluate a local business, there are plenty of resources to turn to, with more than three-quarters (78%) of consumers saying they use the internet to find out information about local businesses more than once a week. And, while several sites have seen an uptick in the portion of US consumers who used them to evaluate local businesses in the last 12 months, fewer appear to be turning to Facebook, per a survey from BrightLocal.
The November 2021 survey of US-based consumers reveals that, in the previous 12 months, some 8 in 10 (81%) headed to Google to evaluate local businesses. This is up from 63% who used Google for this purpose in 2020. Likewise, the percentage of consumers who used Yelp to evaluate a local business also increased considerably, from 32% in 2020 to 53% last year.
On the other hand, while Facebook has been one of the top places for consumers to find out information on a local business, fewer consumers are using the social media site to evaluate local businesses. In 2020, 54% of respondents claimed to use Facebook to evaluate a local business, but in 2021, that percentage dipped to 48%.
It’s clear that reviews of local businesses matter. Nearly all (98%) respondents said they read online reviews of local businesses, with more than 4 in 10 (43%) doing so regularly. Added to that, about half (49%) say they trust customer reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.
Consumers aren’t just reading reviews; they are leaving them as well. About three-quarters (74%) of respondents have written an online review for a local business in the last 12 months, with about one-third (34%) leaving a review if they had a positive experience and only 7% leaving a review exclusively for a bad experience. This works in favor of local businesses, as the majority of consumers say they feel positively about a local business if a review describes a positive experience.
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About the Data: Findings are based on a November 2021 survey of 1,124 US consumers.