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Close to two-thirds of shoppers (64%) consider ratings and reviews important, along with consumer-submitted Q&A and photos. That’s one finding from a report [download page] by Bazaarvoice, which also found that 86% of its client brands and retailers agreed that reviews drive online sales.

The good news is that shoppers seem to be doing a good job at posting reviews, and they are also submitting more photos. In fact, the report, which analyzed data from more than 66 million pieces of user-generated content submitted in 2018 across the Bazaarvoice Network of retailers, brands and other sites, found a 25% increase in photos submitted with reviews compared to a year earlier.

In the year following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the category with the biggest increase in visual content submitted with reviews was Grocery, with a 184% rise year-over-year. And on the back of the influencer marketing trend, Health & Beauty review photos rose by 160% year-over-year. The other category with more than a doubling in image use was Consumer Packaged Goods (115%).

Previous research has found that consumers feel like a brand understands them when they see reviews from people like themselves, and that clear product images and reviews provide them with a great online shopping experience.

Adding further weight to the fact that brands should be encouraging this trend for rich reviews, data from Bazaarvoice’s clients shows that it pays significantly to put user-generated content on an e-commerce site. Among the vendor’s top 25% of clients, the conversion lift among shoppers engaged with user-generated content is a huge 137%, while the revenue per visitor lift is 157%.

Other benefits given by Bazaarvoice’s client base for visual user-generated content included that it creates a more engaging shopping experience (91%), increases discoverability of products (82%) and deepens brand trust (81%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Visual content figures are based on an analysis of data from 1.1 billion monthly shoppers in the Bazaarvoice Network. In addition, 200 Bazaarvoice clients and 2,000 consumers across the US and Europe were surveyed for the report.

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